How to prepare for a winter storm
OKLAHOMA CITY–While you may be getting ready to spend some quality time with your family this Christmas, others are gearing up for a winter storm.
If you are doing last minute holiday shopping, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has a few suggestions on what you should stock up on in case Tuesday turns into a “White Christmas.”
- In case of a power failure, have either a battery-powered radio or an NOAA weather radio and make sure you have extra batteries.
Also, make sure you know the different winter storm warning terms.
- 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.
Experts suggest having a week’s worth of food and safety supplies on hand.
- Drinking water
- Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
- Non-electric can opener
- Baby food and formula if you have a 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
- Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors as the fumes are deadly.
Keep a water supply at the ready in case pipes freeze.
- 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, 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.
Don’t forget to have at least one heat source in case the power goes out.
- 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 nonglowing elements.
- Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
- Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
Also have detectors in place in case of emergency.
- Chemical fire extinguisher
- Smoke alarm in working order with new batteries.
- 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.
If you plan on traveling at all, make sure your car is suitable for being out in the elements for extended periods of time.
- Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Water and snack food
- Extra hats, coats, mittens
- Chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Road salt and sand
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares
- Bright colored flag; help signs
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water.