How To Prepare for a Winter Storm

Prism Specialties

How To Prepare for Winter Storms Never underestimate a winter storm. Even from the safety of your home, a winter storm can cause a lot of damage, such as frozen pipes, property damage, and more. Not only should you be stocking up on essentials (just in case), but you should also be inspecting for leaks, […]

How To Prepare for Winter Storms

Never underestimate a winter storm. Even from the safety of your home, a winter storm can cause a lot of damage, such as frozen pipes, property damage, and more. Not only should you be stocking up on essentials (just in case), but you should also be inspecting for leaks, prepping for a power outage, and reviewing essential insurance documents. Follow these helpful winter storm tips for a full winter emergency preparedness breakdown.

Know Your Winter Storms

What Is a Winter Storm?

A winter storm is a cold-weather event that usually consists of heavy snowfall, sleet, freezing rain, or severe wind. Much damage can ensue from winter storms, such as fallen trees and utility poles, power outages, frozen pipes, water damage from snow pileups, and hazardous travel conditions.

Types of Winter Storms

Learning the specific type of storm you’re dealing with is important when it comes to being properly prepared. Here’s a helpful list of the common types of winter storms:

  • Snowstorms. As you might expect, snowstorms primarily consist of heavy snowfall over the course of a few hours to a few days, even. A snowstorm can range in severity from a light dusting called a snow flurry to moderate snowfall considered a snow shower to a more severe storm or blizzard.
  • Blizzards. These storms are considered severe snowstorms and are often a combination of heavy, blowing snow and high wind speeds that result in very low visibility, or what’s often considered a “white out.” These often last three or more hours and make travel very dangerous.
  • Ice Storms. Ice storms are when a thick layer of ice (< 0.25 inches) accumulates on the ground and even on structures, buildings, and homes. Often these storms are accompanied by sleet or even hail that can be destructive to power lines, homes, and vehicles.  
  • Lake Effect Storms. Caused by the excess moisture from the Great Lakes specifically, lake effect storms occur only in this region south and east of the lakes. They consist of a heavier snowfall, often with high accumulation.

Create a Winter Storm Preparation Checklist

Home Prep Checklist

Readying your home for a winter storm involves a lot of damage prevention control. Inspect your interior and exterior for any vulnerable spots. That way, if damage does occur, it’s less likely to be severe.

Follow this home checklist for ice and snowstorm prep:

  • Insulate walls and attics. Beef up inadequate insulation so that the house will retain heat for longer in case of a power outage.
  • Weatherproof windows and doors. Look for cracks, holes, or drafts in your home and seal them with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Insulate pipes. Frozen pipes can be extremely hazardous since they are at risk of bursting. Inspect any vulnerable piping around your home and install insulation to prevent them from freezing.
  • Service your vehicle. If you need to use your vehicle during a winter storm, you’ll need everything working properly. Check that your fuel tank is full, the tires are aired up, and the battery is good to go. Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies (such as bottled water and blankets) and snow removal essentials.
  • Check smoke and CO detectors. Being stuck inside your home for an extended period can create a greater risk of accidental fire or gas leaks. Test your detectors and insert fresh batteries if necessary.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Double-check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers in case of a fire.
  • Stock ice melt. Unlike snowstorm preparation, ice storm preparation will require more water-damage control and prevention. When using ice melt, ensure standing water can drain away from the house.  
  • Prepare backup heating. Gas generators or fuel-based heating systems should be carefully monitored and ventilated.
  • Review your property insurance. In the unfortunate case that a winter storm damages your home, business, or vehicle, it’s essential to make sure you have recently reviewed and have safe access to these documents. Familiarize yourself with a list of what’s covered so that you can take quick action to repair, replace, or restore damaged items.

Winter Storm Essentials Checklist

In some cases, a winter storm can leave you cooped up inside your home for several days and sometimes without power. Knowing what to stock up on for winter storms is vital for keeping everyone safe. So make sure that everyone in your home (including pets!) has 3-5 days’ worth of these essential supplies:

  • Clean storage bins. Place any important items inside that could be affected by water damage.
  • Water. You should have at least 3-5 gallons for each person.
  • Food. In case of a power outage, keep non-perishable food.
  • Bedding. In case of water damage, wet bedding can be extremely dangerous if it freezes in the cold.
  • Blankets. Keep extra blankets on hand in case a power outage prevents you from heating the house.  
  • Prescription medication. Make sure all important medication is always refilled on time.
  • First aid kit. Include additional aid items such as non-prescription medications and personal sanitary items.
  • Battery-powered supplies. Include a radio, flashlights, and extra batteries. Keep battery packs charged so you can keep your phone working.
  • SOS signal. Stock an SOS contact in case of emergency, such as a whistle, flare stick, or light.
  • Pet supplies. Stock all basic supplies such as food, water, clean bowls, medication, leashes, etc.

Know What To Do During and After a Winter Storm

What To Do During a Winter Storm

Stay warm and stay inside! A winter storm is dangerous to travel in, so avoid it if possible, but be prepped for hunkering down inside if needed.

  • Keep essentials safe and dry.
  • Avoid gas or fire hazards.
  • Listen for weather updates.

What To Do After a Winter Storm

Clearing out snow and ice is a given, but what are some essential steps to take after a winter storm occurs? Here’s what you should check:

  • Inspect your home’s exterior for damage from ice, snow, fallen trees, power lines, or flooding.
  • Inspect the interior for water damage or mold.
  • List and photograph any damaged items.
  • Restock supply kits.

Restore Winter Storm-Damaged Items with Prism Specialties

Accidents can still happen regardless of the extent of your winter storm preparedness. If you discover damaged items after a winter storm, count on Prism Specialties to restore all your precious and important belongings. Whether that’s essential documents, a beloved teddy bear, living room drapes, or even your kitchen stove, we can restore it! Call (888) 826-9429, or submit your claim online.

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