Old Man Winter really had quite an opening act for his first day throughout the United States!
From the West to East coast, and all points in the Mid-west, he packed a pretty powerful punch.  Winter storms have blasted many parts of the country, with high winds, driving wind chills to as low as -25° below zero!  Hundreds of passengers have been stranded in airports, with flights cancelled.  There have been numerous traffic accidents across icy and snow-filled roads.

Hopefully we are all prepared for the winter season.  If you live where there is a threat of storms that continue for more than one day, and might cause power failure, here are some ideas to help you stay warm and safe:

  • Close off rooms to parts of the house that you don’t need to use.
  • Do not be short of staples such as food and water.  Stock high-energy food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration.
  • Have a flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Keep extra medicine and baby supplies.
  • A battery-powered NOAA weather radio can keep you informed of the situation.
  • Have a first aid kit.
  • Be sure you have extra heating fuel, as deliverers may not be able to come to your home for days.
  • Winterize your home by caulking and weather stripping doors and windows, insulating walls and attics and installing storm windows.  If necessary, cover windows with plastic.
  • Fireplaces, wood stoves, or space heaters are excellent alternative energy sources, but be sure your house has proper ventilation.

According to information from Electric Generator Direct, portable generators are ideal to help furnish power in times of emergencies, but they must be placed outside the house, not in the garage or near doors or windows, as they emit dangerous carbon monoxide gas.  Between October 1 and December 31, 2006, approximately 32 people died after severe weather knocked out power….not from the storms, but from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Persons using generators should have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

US Dept of Commerce


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