The ice storm of 2007 is still enthusiastically talked about among people in Springfield. Like Fisherman comparing their catch, we’ll ask, “how many days were you without power?” And the number seems to get bigger every time we answer!
Winter storms are a common occurrence in southwest Missouri, perhaps not ones of the magnitude of the ice storm of ‘07, but we’re likely to have some sort of winter weather every year. We’ve put a quick checklist together to help you prepare for any inclement weather we may experience this year:
This is the #1 emergency supply you need to have. A frozen or burst pipe can quickly cut off your access to water. FEMA recommends you have a gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation. So a family of four needs approximately 28 gallons to last seven days.
This can include things like crackers, dried fruit, trail mix, peanut butter; anything that has a reasonably long shelf-life (considered “non-perishable”) and worst case, can be eaten without cooking. This keeps you fed even if you lose power and roads are impassible. You should have enough for a minimum of 72 hours (3 days).
Blankets are the most reliable source of heat in emergencies, so make sure you have enough for each person in your house.
Kerosene heaters are a great source of emergency heat. In the worst of conditions, you’d need about 10 gallons to heat a 2500 square foot house for seven days. This makes it a very cost efficient way to heat your home in an emergency.
Note: While Kerosene is a very efficient emergency heat source, it comes with its own risks. The Battlefield Fire Protection District says this: “The Fire Department does not recommend the use of kerosene heaters in homes. If you must use a kerosene heater, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Use only the manufacturer’s approved fuel. Store the fuel outside the house and always let the heater cool before filling it outside the home. Kerosene heaters must have adequate ventilation because they use up oxygen inside a room as they operate.” So make sure you’re following proper safety precautions when using kerosene as an emergency heat source.
If your home has a wood burning fireplace, it will be a huge asset during winter, and especially during severe winter weather. As with any source of heat, there are some steps you should take to get it ready. It is recommended that you have your fireplace cleaned and inspected at the beginning of every cold season before you start using it. Once you know it’s safe to use, it will provide great warmth for you. If you have a stove-type fireplace with a flat surface, it can even be used for cooking if you lose power.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
It is very important to make sure your smoke detectors also have the ability to detect carbon monoxide, especially when using kerosene or wood fires for heat in an emergency. Make sure these are working properly at the beginning of winter.
All it takes is one misstep on icy concrete to cause serious injury. Salting before and after snow or ice will melt it faster and provide some much needed traction.
Bring Pets Inside
And if you can’t have pets in your house, your garage can provide some shelter from the elements.
Ensure any exterior water lines are properly insulated, as this helps prevent burst pipes.
Trees and Branches
The added weight of ice and snow can cause branches, sometimes even entire trees to fall on your house or property. It isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye which branches or trees are at risk. If you are concerned about the risk this winter, give us a call. We can help you make the best decisions for your house and trees when it comes to trimming. As we mentioned recently, winter trimming is good for your trees anyway.