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Useful Tips for Winter Storm Nemo

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  • A strong nor’easter may bring heavy snow, hazardous driving conditions and moderate coastal flooding to tri-state Friday and Saturday, according to forecasters.
  • A winter storm watch is in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning for much of our area according to the National Weather Service.
  • Five to 10 inches of snow is possible in the watch area, with the highest amounts mainly toward northwestern New Jersey, according to the weather service. But a snowfall forecast map showed higher amounts in some northern areas.
  • We would like to share our Winter Weather Checklist with you to help make sure you are prepared.

Winter Weather Checklists

  • Extreme Cold – A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
  • Stock up on emergency supplies for communication, food, safety, heating, and car in case a storm hits.

Communication Checklist

  • Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:
    • Battery-powered radio (for listening to local emergency instructions). Have extra batteries.
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver (for listening to National Weather Service broadcasts).
      • Learn more about NOAA Weather Radio
  • Find out how your community warns the public about severe weather:
    • Siren
    • Radio
    • Television
  • Listen to emergency broadcasts.
  • Know what winter storm warning terms mean:
    • Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards.
    • Frost/Freeze Warning: Expect below-freezing temperatures.
    • Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.
    • Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is in or entering the area.
    • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Food and Safety Checklist

  • Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand.
  • Drinking water
  • Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)
  • Prescription drugs and other medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
  • (To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.)

Water Checklist

  • Keep a water supply. Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes break.
  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
  • Keep the indoor temperature warm.
  • Allow more heated air near pipes. Open kitchen cabinet doors under the kitchen sink.
  • If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Thaw the pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer.
  • If you cannot thaw your pipes, or if the pipes have broken open, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home.
  • Have bottled water on hand.
  • In an emergency-if no other water is available-snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Heating Checklist

  • Fireplace with plenty of dry firewood or gas log fireplace
  • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters
  • Check with your local fire department to make sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements.
  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Make sure you have a chemical fire extinguisher
  • Smoke alarm in working order (Check once a month and change batteries once a year.)
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
  • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
  • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.

Cooking and Lighting Checklist

  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors-the fumes are deadly.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.
  • Avoid using candles.
  • Never leave lit candles alone.

Fallen Trees & Power Lines

  • Stay clear of all fallen tree limbs and electrical wires as well as anything they are touching – such as puddles and metal fences. Assume all downed wires are “live” and stay away. Call your power company and local emergency personnel.
  • Persons dependent on electrically powered life support systems should have a prearranged plan concerning power outage situations.
  • Disconnect appliances that will go on automatically when the power is restored. These include refrigerators, stoves, furnaces and water heaters.
  • Turn off appliances such as washers, dryers, computers and TV’s. Once power is restored, turn appliances back on one at a time to avoid a power surge.
  • If using candles or matches, be extremely careful and never leave open flames unattended.
  • Food in your refrigerator will keep for 6 to 9 hours, and food in your freezer will keep between 36 and 48 hours. It will help to minimize the number of times the door is opened.   

Staying Warm When The Power Goes Out

  • Move to One Room – instead of trying to heat the whole house, focus your attention on heating just one room of the house. Everyone’s body heat in one room is a great help to keeping everyone warm. Try to pick a room that gets a lot of natural sunlight and has a heating source. Ideally, you would pick a windowed room on the southwest side of your home.
  • “We’re Not Heating the Neighborhood! – like your parents yelled at you as a kid, “We’re not trying to heat the neighborhood!” Try to plug up all those leaks where the heat is seeping out of the room. Stuff towels and small blankets into window sills, door frames and other areas where the heat is leaking out.
  • Shower Curtains Over Windows – you’ll want to keep heat in your room but still allow natural light to enter the room from a window. A great way to help you do that is with a shower curtain. Remove the shower curtain from the bathroom – without power no one is going to want to take a cold shower anyways. Carefully tape or attach the clear shower curtain to the wall so that natural light can come through the curtain but it prevents hot air from leaving through the window.
  • Rugs or Carpet – make sure that heat isn’t escaping through the floor either. Take rugs and mats from around the home and lay them down in your room. Add a few layers between you and the cold floor.
  • Tents in the Living Room – a great idea that we have seen is to set up tents inside your living room. One family had a tent for the boys and a tent for the girls. This trapped in the heat to an even more confined area inside their living room.
  • Put on a Hat (not a baseball cap) – If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.
  • Leave During the Day – you don’t want your home to become a cold dungeon. Make the family go outside and soak up the rays during the day. Obviously, if there is a winter storm, you’ll have to stay indoors. But make the house a warm location to return to at the end of the day instead of a cold jail.
  • Eat Before You Go To Bed – by eating before you go to bed, your body will be digesting during the night time – keeping you a little warmer than normal as you sleep.
  • Exercise – if you’re not one to exercise, or just never seem to have time for it, this power outage has given you the perfect opportunity to get some fitness in.  Ten to twenty minutes of vigorous exercise can warm you up immensely, not to mention keep you warm for some time after.  
  • Car and Emergency Checklist
  • Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Extra hats, coats, mittens
  • Blankets
  • Chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)
  • Road salt and sand
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Bright colored flag; help signs
  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Road maps
  • Compass
  • Waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)
  • Paper towels 

 Written by Ron Binday

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2 comments on “Useful Tips for Winter Storm Nemo

  1. [...] A late-season snowstorm headed the tri-state area last week. Forecasters expected this storm to result in a number of disruptions varying from travel disruptions to power outages. For this reason, we want to share with you more tips on how to prevent from natural disasters. [...]

  2. Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this
    write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me.

    Thank you, quite nice article.

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