Winter storms can range from a light snow over a few hours to #blizzard2016, with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several hours, even days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain.
A primary concern is that winter storms can knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
The New England Winter is here, and there are many things you can do to ensure your home is safe for you and your family during winter storms:
Before the Storm
- Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Extend your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Have furnaces, boilers and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Repair steps and handrails — this will prevent falls and slips caused by front porches covered in snow and ice.
During the Storm
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads; and avoid back road shortcuts.
- Service back-up generators and have adequate fuel supplies on hand. Never store fuel inside. Even if the generator is portable, it should never run indoors.
- Have emergency supplies on hand, such as flashlights, batteries and inverters to use in the car to charge devices.
- If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap the pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
In addition to insuring your home, Eastern Insurance Group LLC is committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. If you would like more information on developing a family emergency plan or building a disaster supply kit, please contact us at 800-333-7234 or visit http://bit.ly/EmergencyBasics on our website today.