Take some time to winterize your car, too, and ensure it is in optimum condition. Keep the gas tank filled and put a winter survival kit in the vehicle that includes high-energy foods, a flashlight, blankets, sand or salt and a small shovel.
With winter weather bearing down, Brown said at a minimum you should check your supplies to ensure you have enough food and a place to shelter for at least five days. Since dehydration is just as possible in cold weather as in hot, you might need to fill some water bottles.
Make sure all battery operated items are fully charged and have spare batteries readily available.
Also, if the power goes out and there is no heat, be ready to layer on hats, gloves and scarves as the temperature drops. But, avoid using generators, grills or other devices that require gas, propane or charcoal inside your home because they produce carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly.
If used outdoors, this machinery should be located far away from the house and away from air intakes. Consider keeping a battery powered CO alarm in your emergency kit.
“One common mistake people make is not fully reading, understanding and following the directions when using alternative heating sources in case of power outages,” Brown said. “So make sure you’re comfortable with whatever source you chose to use.”
It also is a good idea to keep papers and other items away from stovetops and furnaces since it is possible for them to catch fire when power is restored.
Finally, Brown advised families to have a plan in case severe weather hits.
“Know the plans at public schools and where you work,” she said. “Know what you would do if the storm hits when you or another family member is not at home.”
For more information on preparing for winter weather, contact your local Extension office and visit ready.gov.
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