Winter Storm Prep: 19 Things to Do Right Now

C&S Insurance

Winter storm prep tips? You’re probably rolling your eyes. For Massachusetts residents, a forecast of heavy snow is not exactly shocking.

But lots of veteran New Englanders forget to take important steps before major storms. Or else they forget to remind their elderly relatives and neighbors about getting prepared. So. In advance of the next big snowfall, consider crossing the following winter storm prep items off your list:

In the Kitchen

  • Study up on food safety (i.e. what’s safe to eat when it hasn’t been kept cold). Do you know, for example, which fruits, veggies, and even cheeses will keep outside the fridge? And for how long?
  • If your freezer isn’t already jam-packed, fill some plastic bottles or Tupperware containers with water; these can freeze into ice blocks now, which will help maintain your freezer temperatures longer if the power goes out.
  • Make a game plan for “cooking” without power. Here’s a good article on what to feed your family when the power goes out.
  • If you have lots of meat or leftovers in your fridge right now, consider moving them to the freezer. It’s more likely they’ll keep if the power goes out.

Around the House

  • Learn the basics on frozen pipe prevention. Depending on how well they’re insulated, it’s not unheard of for pipes to freeze in temps of 20 degrees or below.
  • Create a plan for walkway shoveling and driveway plowing. Research shows an alarming link between shoveling snow and heart attack rates—especially in men. Even pushing a snow blower can be overly taxing for certain individuals. If you’re not in the habit of regular cardio exercise, think about paying someone or asking for help from a neighbor.
  • Have more than one flashlight ready with new batteries. Unless you live alone, different people in your house will need to access different rooms, and there’s nothing worse than bumping in walls while you wait for the one working flashlight to return to you.
  • If your home is heated with electric heat, consider investing in a battery-powered space heater or a generator. Read and follow all related safety instructions.
  • If you’re planning to rely on your woodstove or fireplace for heat, make sure it’s been inspected and cleaned recently. Here’s more info on chimney service and fireplace safety.
  • If the power goes out, unplug nonessential appliances (computers, televisions, toasters, coffee makers, etc.) to avoid a surge when the power is finally restored.
  • Test your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector—especially if you’re burning wood throughout the storm. Here’s more on testing your smoke alarm.

Outside Winter Storm Prep

  • Learn how to manually open your garage door. In the event of an extended power outage, you’ll probably want to move your car at some point.
  • Scan your yard for stray toys. Otherwise, it may be a few weeks before Fido sees his favorite tennis ball again. If this doesn’t sound like emergency winter storm prep, then you haven’t met Fido.
  • Post storm, DON’T try to knock down those sharp icicles that are hanging off your house. Here’s why.

For Your Car

  • Fill up your gas tank now. Dangerous driving conditions may delay fuel deliveries to your area.
  • Check your car battery, so you don’t get stranded somewhere in treacherous weather. Some vendors—like AutoZone and AAA—will do the job for free.
  • If you’re attempting to drive when the roads are icy (and you don’t have snow tires), weigh down your trunk with some extra weight. This may lend some added traction.
  • Keep your insurance information in a handy (offline) location, in case you need to file an auto or home insurance claim without power. If you don’t have your agent’s name or your carrier’s number on hand, call us: 508.339.2951. We’re happy to send you a card with all the key info.

At the Grocery Store

  • Stock up on the less obvious essentials. Yes, milk and bread—everyone thinks of these during their last-minute grocery trip. But don’t forget items like medicine, batteries, diapers, paper plates, pet food, and whatever snacks you plan to be eating during the Pats game on Sunday night.

Stay safe this weekend, Massachusetts. Go Pats!