The East Coast is bracing itself for the first significant winter storm of the season. If you’re one of the 75 million people who may be affected by this weather event, and you’re not sure what you should have done to prepare—don’t lose hope. There are plenty of ways to get by with the things you already, and techniques to help you survive. Here are some tricks that will help.
Hunker Down and Wait
As the storm dumps its snow and ice upon the region, the best thing you can do is stay home. Even a multi-day storm must come to an end sometime. But while you wait, there are chores and activities that you can accomplish.
Organize Your Supplies
The best time to get organized is well before the storm. But if that didn’t happen, then get organized while the storm is in progress (but before you lose power). Get your alternative lighting sources ready. See what no-cook foods you have in your cabinets and pantry.
Run Some Water
Fill up some clean containers with water for drinking, cooking and washing. Fill your bathtubs with water too, for toilet flushing – just in case you lose your water supply. In a blizzard with high wind and deep cold, run a few of your faucets at a trickle to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting. Keep a pitcher under each one and use the water in your household. There’s no need to waste it.
Persevere Without Power
You’re snowbound and the power just went out. It’s time to get into action. Here are the first things to do when the power goes down.
—Turn on some safe alternative lighting. Be wary of candles if you have clumsy or rambunctious kids or pets (or adults). Use battery powered lighting for safer illumination.
—Start conserving mobile power. With your wireless out, you’re likely to be using your phone/tablet to access the world outside of snowmageddon. Use that power wisely. Rather than wasting battery power Instagramming pictures of your family in awful sweaters, it’s smart to update Facebook so people know you’re snowed in without power – but safe for now.
—Don’t open the fridge or freezer without a good reason. The longer the doors stay shut, the longer the temperature will be stable. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if unopened. A packed freezer will hold temperature for about 2 days (24 hours if half-full).
—Begin using heat conservation and alternative heating methods. It’s easier to keep the house warm, than to try heating it up again from freezing.
—Think about dinner. An army moves on its stomach, so does a family. Set up your alternative cooking methods and start working on your next meal.
—Drain your water lines, if any of them are at risk of freezing and bursting as the walls of the house drop below freezing. Be sure to drain your toilets and water heater in the event of an extended power outage. Be sure you remove all garden hoses from your sill-cocks, too.