Winter is nature’s way of saying: “Up yours!” Robert Byrne
Many people dislike winter and for good reason. Its fierce storms, icy winds, and damaging hail often make life difficult for man and beast. Some of the luckier animals hibernate, and people tend to spend more time at home than they do during the pleasanter seasons.
However, even the warmth and safety of the home can be threatened during severe winter weather. Prudent homeowners take precautions to assure that the family will be able to survive the worst of winter’s blasts in relative comfort and safety.
By the first of November a winter home safety kit should be prepared. It can be very elaborate or as simple as a large cardboard box. It should be in a handy, easily- accessible spot and every family member should know where it is kept. Larger items can be stored nearby.
Among the emergency items there should be:
* Flashlights or battery lanterns with extra batteries. Don’t use candles if you can avoid it. They are a fire hazard.
* A battery-powered radio
* A battery-powered clock
* A cell phone
* A supply of bottled water ( one gallon per person per day is recommended )
* Non-perishable food that doesn’t need to be cooked
* A hand-operated can opener
* A first aid kit and necessary prescription medications
* Extra blankets and sleeping bags
* Useful items as you think of them such as: a screwdriver, scissors, duct tape, paper plates, plastic utensils, water-proof matches and household bleach.
* A fire extinguisher
* Special needs for family members: baby diapers and formula, soothers. hearing aid batteries, etc.
* Pet needs: several days’ supply of food, water and bowls, fresh litter, newspaper, and medications the pet may be taking
* A snow shovel and rock salt to melt ice on sidewalks and driveways
* Sand to prevent slips and falls on icy surfaces
* Extra cash; in the event of a power failure the ATM will not work
* You should have an alternate heat source if possible: an electric space heater, a wood-burning stove or fireplace, a gas fireplace, or a propane heater with enough fuel to last several days.
* If you live in an area frequently hit by harsh winter storms, you might want to install a standby generator.
* Items to keep the family entertained: books, board games, decks of cards, and puzzles.
In the Autumn, prepare your home for winter by taking the following steps:
Have your heating system cleaned and checked.
Make sure your walls and attic are properly insulated.
Seal any windows which allow cold air to enter.
Wrap pipes with insulation and know how to turn off the water in case of emergency.
It’s also a good idea to plan with family members and friends how you could extend hospitality to one another in case of a weather emergency during which someone loses heat or power for an extended period of time. You may never need to put the plan into effect, but if you do, there will be a ready-made strategy prepared.
During a winter weather emergency, friends, neighbors and family members have to pitch in and help each other. Often, through confronting a challenge together, closer bonds are forged, new friendships result, and ordinary folks perform deeds that suggest nobility.
That’s just one of very few good things many people have to say about winter.