One can stay safe in a blizzard by preparing ahead of time, staying indoors during the storm, keeping warm, avoiding overexertion, monitoring the news and weather, clearing snow and ice after the storm, checking for damage, and contacting local authorities if necessary.
What is a Blizzard?
Let’s begin this article by defining exactly what a blizzard is. A blizzard is a severe winter storm that is characterized by strong winds, low temperatures, and heavy snowfall. To be classified as a blizzard, a storm must have sustained winds of at least 35 mph (56 km/h) and visibility of less than a quarter of a mile (400 meters) due to blowing or falling snow.
We are going to talk about how to PREPARE for a blizzard, what to do DURING a blizzard, and what to do AFTER a blizzard.
Blizzards can be dangerous and even life-threatening, especially if you are not prepared for them. Understanding what a blizzard is and how it differs from other winter weather events is the first step in staying safe during one. By knowing what to expect, you can better prepare for the storm and minimize your risk of injury or harm.
How to Prepare for a Blizzard
Preparing for a blizzard is essential if you live in an area prone to winter storms. A blizzard can bring high winds, freezing temperatures, and heavy snowfall, making it difficult to travel or even leave your home. To ensure that you and your family stay safe during a blizzard, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. In this section, we’ll discuss some expert tips for getting ready for a blizzard, so you can be confident that you’re well-equipped to handle whatever comes your way.
1) Build an Emergency Kit
Building an emergency kit is an essential step in preparing for a blizzard. Having the right supplies on hand can help you and your family stay safe and comfortable during a storm. By taking the time to build an emergency kit, you’ll be better equipped to handle unexpected situations and minimize the risks associated with severe winter weather.
I have created a list of essential items that you should purchase right, (complete with links to Amazon.com), now so that you are prepared for an the next blizzard that comes, be it this week, or next year, or even the year after. If you prepare now, you won’t be taken by surprise later.
It’s important to have plenty of clean drinking water on hand in case of a power outage or water contamination. Aim for at least one gallon of water per person per day. Amazon.com link for emergency water packets
- Non-Perishable Food
Stock up on canned goods, energy bars, and other non-perishable items that can be eaten without cooking. Be sure to include a manual can opener. Amazon.com link for emergency food supply kit
- First Aid Kit
In case of injury or illness, it’s important to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. Be sure to include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Amazon.com link for first aid kit
- Flashlights and Extra Batteries
A power outage is a common occurrence during a blizzard, so it’s important to have a reliable source of light. Be sure to have several flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Amazon.com link for flashlight and battery set
- Warm Clothing and Blankets
Dressing in layers is the key to staying warm during a blizzard. Make sure to have warm clothing, blankets, and sleeping bags on hand. Amazon.com link for emergency blanket
- Portable Phone Charger
A portable phone charger is essential in case of a power outage or if you need to evacuate. Amazon.com link for portable phone charger
A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio is a great way to stay informed about the latest weather updates and emergency alerts. Amazon.com link for portable radio
Make sure to have a supply of any necessary prescription medications on hand, as well as over-the-counter medications for pain, fever, and other common ailments. Amazon.com link for medication storage case
By having these essential items in your emergency kit, you’ll be better prepared to weather a blizzard and stay safe until the storm passes.
2) Check Your Heating System
To ensure your heating system is working properly and efficiently during a blizzard, here are some steps you should take:
- Check the Filters
Dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of your heating system, so be sure to check and replace them as needed. Amazon.com link for air filters
- Inspect the Ducts
Check the ducts for any leaks or damage that could prevent warm air from circulating properly. Seal any leaks or damage with duct tape or a professional repair. Amazon.com link for duct tape
- Clean the Vents and Registers
Dust and debris can accumulate in your heating vents and registers, so be sure to clean them out to ensure proper airflow. Amazon.com link for vent cleaning brush
- Schedule a Maintenance Check
Hire a professional to inspect and maintain your heating system before the winter season begins. This can help prevent breakdowns and ensure your system is running at peak efficiency.
By taking these steps to ensure your heating system is working properly, you can minimize the risk of a breakdown during a blizzard and ensure that your home stays warm and comfortable.
3) Insulate Your Home
To keep the heat in and the cold out during a blizzard, it’s important to insulate your home properly. There are 4 areas of your home that you should check to ensure are properly insulated:
The attic is one of the biggest sources of heat loss in a home, so it’s important to insulate it properly. Amazon.com link for attic insulation
Insulating your walls can help prevent heat loss and keep your home warm and comfortable during a blizzard. Amazon.com link for wall insulation
If you have a crawl space or an unheated basement, it’s important to insulate the floors above to prevent heat loss. Amazon.com link for floor insulation
- Windows and Doors
Check for any drafts around windows and doors, and use weatherstripping or caulking to seal them. You can also use plastic window insulation kits to add an extra layer of protection against the cold. Amazon.com link for window insulation kit
By insulating these key areas of your home, you can prevent heat loss and keep your home warm and comfortable during a blizzard. Not only will this help you stay safe and healthy, but it can also save you money on heating bills.
4) Stock up on Supplies
When it comes to stocking up on supplies for a blizzard, it’s important to have enough food and water to last for several days. Though I have recommended both water and perishable foods for your emergency kit, these are items that you want to stock up on in the short term, so as not to need to tap into your emergency kit. Here are some recommendations for food and water supplies:
- Water: Aim for at least one gallon of water per person per day. You can buy bottled water or fill containers with tap water in advance. Amazon.com link for emergency water packets
- Non-perishable food: Stock up on canned goods, energy bars, and other non-perishable items that can be eaten without cooking. Be sure to include a manual can opener. Amazon.com link for emergency food supply kit
- Comfort foods: Having a few comfort foods on hand, like hot cocoa or tea, can help lift your spirits during a blizzard. Amazon.com link for hot cocoa mix
- Pet food: If you have pets, make sure to stock up on enough food and water for them as well. Amazon.com link for pet food storage container
- Baby supplies: If you have a baby, make sure to stock up on enough formula, diapers, and wipes to last for several days. Amazon.com link for baby formula
By stocking up on these essential supplies ahead of time, you’ll be better prepared to weather a blizzard and stay comfortable until the storm passes.
What to Do During a Blizzard
During a blizzard, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety and stay informed about the latest developments in the weather. While it may be tempting to venture outside or try to complete tasks around the house, doing so can put you at risk for injury or harm. In this section, we’ll explore some expert tips for what to do during a blizzard, so you can stay warm, safe, and informed until the storm passes.
1) Stay Indoors
Staying indoors during a blizzard is crucial for your safety and well-being. Blizzards can bring high winds, freezing temperatures, and heavy snowfall, making it difficult and even dangerous to travel. Venturing outside during a blizzard can put you at risk for frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-related injuries. Additionally, blizzards can cause power outages, which can leave you without heat, light, or communication. By staying indoors during a blizzard, you can protect yourself and your family from harm and ensure that you’re able to ride out the storm safely.
Again, remember to stock up on supplies ahead of time, including food, water, and medications, so you can stay comfortable until the storm passes.
Once the storm hits, you have to wait it out. Don’t try to make a “quick run” to the store. If you do that, your risk of a car accident goes up exponentially.
2) Keep Warm
When the power goes out during a blizzard, staying warm can be a challenge. To stay warm, you can dress in layers, which will help trap warm air close to your body. This includes wearing long underwear, a fleece or wool sweater, and a wind-resistant jacket or coat. You can also add a scarf, hat, and gloves to help protect your extremities from the cold.
To keep heat inside your home, you can cover windows and doors with blankets or towels to prevent drafts. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, close the flue when not in use to prevent heat from escaping. Candles can also provide a source of heat and light, but use them with caution and never leave them unattended. Place them in sturdy holders on a flat surface away from flammable materials like curtains or paper.
Staying active is also important to generate body heat. You can engage in light exercise, such as walking around your home or doing simple exercises like jumping jacks or lunges. If possible, stay in one room of your home and close the door to trap heat inside. Use blankets, sleeping bags, or hot water bottles to stay warm. You can also use a door draft stopper to keep cold air from coming in under the door.
Remember to never use gas-powered generators or other heating devices indoors, as they can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
3) Avoid Overexertion
During a blizzard, it’s important to avoid overexertion, as physical activity in extreme cold can be dangerous. Cold temperatures can cause your body to lose heat faster than it can produce it, leading to hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold-related injuries. Overexertion can also cause you to sweat, which can increase heat loss and make you more vulnerable to cold-related injuries.
The temptation is to shovel, shovel, shovel, so that you don’t have to shovel it all out at the end of the storm. Better pay the neighbor kid $50 to shovel out your driveway, than experience a heart attack, right? Be wise. Pay the kid $50.
4) Monitor the News and Weather
Staying informed about the status of the blizzard is crucial for your safety and well-being. Here are some ways you can stay up-to-date on the latest news and weather updates:
First, tune in to local news and weather channels on TV or radio. These channels will provide up-to-date information on the status of the blizzard, as well as any warnings or advisories from the National Weather Service.
You can also check online for the latest weather updates. Visit the National Weather Service website, which provides detailed forecasts and advisories for all regions of the United States. You can also download weather apps on your smartphone or tablet to receive alerts and updates on the go.
Social media can also be a useful tool for staying informed during a blizzard. Follow local news stations and emergency management agencies on Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates on road conditions, power outages, and other important information.
Finally, consider investing in a weather radio, which can provide real-time updates and alerts in the event of a power outage or loss of internet connectivity. Amazon.com link for weather radio
By staying informed about the status of the blizzard, you can make informed decisions about when to stay indoors and when it’s safe to venture outside.
What to Do After a Blizzard
After a blizzard has passed, it’s important to take stock of your surroundings and assess any damage that may have occurred. While the worst of the storm may be over, there are still risks to consider, including icy walkways and falling snow from rooftops. In this section, we’ll discuss some expert tips for what to do after a blizzard, so you can stay safe and start the process of getting your life back to normal.
1) Clear Snow and Ice from Walkways and Driveways
Clearing snow and ice from walkways and driveways is important for your safety and the safety of others. Snow and ice can create slippery conditions that can cause slips, falls, and other accidents. By clearing snow and ice from your walkways and driveways, you can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
In addition, clearing snow and ice from walkways and driveways can also help emergency responders access your home in the event of an emergency. This is especially important during a blizzard, when roads and driveways may be blocked by heavy snowfall.
Finally, clearing snow and ice from walkways and driveways can also help prevent damage to your property. Heavy snow and ice buildup can put stress on your roof, gutters, and other structures, leading to damage and costly repairs. By clearing snow and ice regularly, you can help protect your property and avoid costly repairs down the line.
2) Check your Home for Damage
After a blizzard, it’s important to check your home for any damage that may have been caused by the storm. Below are some common types of damage to look for:
- Roof Damage
Heavy snow and ice buildup can put stress on your roof, causing leaks or even collapse in extreme cases. Look for signs of water damage or leaks in your ceilings or walls, and inspect your roof for any visible damage.
- Window Damage
High winds and flying debris can cause damage to windows, leading to cracks or broken glass. Check your windows for any visible damage, and replace any broken or damaged windows as soon as possible.
- Siding Damage
High winds and heavy snowfall can cause damage to your home’s siding, leading to cracks or loose panels. Inspect your siding for any visible damage, and make repairs as needed.
- Gutter Damage
Snow and ice buildup in your gutters can cause them to pull away from your home, leading to leaks or water damage. Check your gutters for any visible damage, and clear out any snow or ice buildup to prevent future damage.
- Foundation Damage
Heavy snow and ice can put pressure on your home’s foundation, leading to cracks or other damage. Inspect your foundation for any visible damage, and make repairs as needed.
By checking your home for damage after a blizzard, you can identify and address any issues before they become more serious. If you notice any significant damage to your home, make sure you contact a professional for repairs as soon as possible. Especially before the next storm hits.
3) Contact Local Authorities
After a blizzard, it’s important to contact local authorities if you need assistance or if you notice any hazardous conditions in your area. You should contact local authorities if you experience a power outage, a gas leak, or any other emergency situation.
If you notice any downed power lines or other hazards on the road, contact your local authorities immediately to report the issue.
Police can dispatch emergency personnel to address the problem and ensure that the area is safe. In addition, if you’re unable to clear snow and ice from your driveway or walkways, contact local authorities for assistance. Many cities and towns offer snow removal services for residents who are unable to clear snow and ice on their own.
Finally, if you or someone you know is in need of medical assistance or emergency transportation during a blizzard, contact local authorities for assistance. They can dispatch emergency personnel to provide medical care and transport if needed.
Staying safe during a blizzard requires careful planning, preparation, and vigilance. By following these expert tips, you can stay safe and comfortable during even the most severe winter storms.
Before a blizzard, it’s important to prepare your home and emergency kit, and monitor the weather and news for updates. During a blizzard, stay indoors, avoid overexertion, and keep warm using a variety of methods. After a blizzard, check your home for damage and contact local authorities if necessary.
Remember, the key to staying safe during a blizzard is to stay informed, stay prepared, and use common sense. By following these tips, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of winter storms. Stay safe and stay warm!