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Weathering Winter’s Worst

Cars and roads covered with snow

With a potentially record winter storm bringing snow, wind and freezing temperatures to the Northeast, it’s a good time to consider whether you and your aging loved ones are prepared to “weather” winter’s worst.

A little planning and prep can help keep you and your family safe during winter storms. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your pipes, so drip water while temperatures are below 32 degrees to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Having an emergency preparedness kit, much like you would during hurricane season, is a good idea. Flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishables, blankets, and a radio are just a few suggestions for your kit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a kit for your car too. While you should always check the forecast before traveling, it is not always possible to prevent a road trip in bad weather. The CDC suggests the following for car travel during inclement weather:

  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
  • If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
  • Follow these safety rules if you become stranded in your car.

o   Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.

o   Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.

o   Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.

o   Keep a downwind window open.

o   Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

If you know a storm is coming, fill all of your prescriptions, charge your cell phone and do your grocery shopping early. Check on your elderly loved ones and neighbors to make sure they are prepared and aware of the impending storm. Consider having your heating and air unit serviced regularly (once in the summer and once in the winter) to help avoid a breakdown when you need it most. For more tips on emergency preparedness, visit the CDC’s website.

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