Preparation for a snowstorm is key to avoiding a crisis

Prepare for a Snowstorm

by Linda Shapero

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Most winters include a snowstorm or two. This is particularly true for the Midwest and the eastern part of the country. That being said, if you live in either of these areas, you should know how to prepare for a snowstorm. Make sure you are ready when one hits.

Heating, Power & Water Sources

Regardless of the type of heat you have, be sure your system is in good working order. If you use oil or wood, make sure at the beginning of the season that you've gotten enough delivered that you can get through the winter and then some. You may also want to consider purchasing a generator and gas, but these must not be used indoors.

As far as water goes, if there is a chance that you will not be able to get water from the tap, make sure you have bought bottled water or, preferably, bottle your own up to at least a week's worth.


If you don't have a year-round pantry that you replenish and you hear that a snowstorm is on the way and your supplies are low, you must make it a priority to get out and shop for food. Be sure to have canned goods like soups, stews, spaghetti, fruits, and vegetables and a good manual can opener (or two handy), in case you lose power. Don't forget to get lots of healthy snacks, as well. If you are cooped up in the house over a lengthy storm, everyone will be eating more than they usually do due to the fact that they are there rather than out of the house following their usual routine.

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Alternative Methods for Cooking

You may have to use a propane grill, regular barbecue grill, or camp stove if you lose your electricity. Make sure you have all related supplies like briquettes or propane ready to go. Also, be sure to use these kinds of emergency cooking substitutes outside only.

Emergency Supplies

Matches, several flashlights, lanterns, extra batteries, candles, a weather radio (or regular radio or both), extra blankets and comforters, sleeping bags for everyone, snow shovels, rock salt for the sidewalks and driveway, kitty litter for the trunk of the car are some of the necessary items you'll want to have plenty of on hand.

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Medications and First Aid

Always have a first aid kit available. Check it often to be sure that items that have been used are replaced. Purchase enough medication to get you through a storm. Most medications are purchased in 30- or 90-day supplies, so you should be able to get through as long as you haven't run out when the storm comes. Any other special supplies should be purchased in advance, as well, such as baby supplies or items for an elderly member of the family, such as Depends, denture cleaners, etc.


Everyone should have warm clothing at his/her disposal. It may be necessary to wear extra layers if the heat goes off. You may have to camp around the fireplace, if you're lucky enough to have one. With everyone in one room, you will stay warmer. In fact, it's a good idea to shut doors to rooms that aren't being used to conserve any heat.

Things to Do

Try to keep a box of various types of fun things that your family likes to do if they are trapped inside for days, such as books, cards, craft supplies, and games, etc. If conditions are safe outside, you may want to all go out for a walk or to play in the snow or go sledding to break the monotony of being inside.

Knowing how to prepare in advance for a snowstorm will help you tremendously. If you do your homework and get everything you need, you will be well-fed and cozy while you wait out the snowstorm.

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