Are you ready for a blizzard if one happens right now? Are you sure? Or, do you just hope you are?
Most people don't give a lot of thought to snowstorms until they see that emergency warning across the bottom of the news the night before.
Then, there's a rush to the store and the shelves are cleared as people try to stock up just in case they can't leave home for a few days.
So, what do you need to do to prepare for a blizzard?
Keep your cupboards stocked
You don't want to have to run to the grocery store at the last minute if you're expecting two feet of snow. Everyone else has exactly the same idea in mind and shelves may be empty.
Instead, make sure that you have the basics you need on hand at all times. So, that means you should have shelf-stable options like canned soup, tuna, dried beans, and pasta.
But, it also means you shouldn't wait until you are down to the very last can of cat food in the cupboard before you buy more. Try to have a few more than the minimum you'll need just in case.
Don't let prescriptions run out
Always refill your medications on the first day your insurance company lets you. What would happen if you were homebound for 3 days and ran out of your high blood pressure medication?
This holds true for prescriptions as well as over the counter medication. You don't want to be out of ibuprofen if you start to run a fever.
And, if your child breaks out in hives, you don't want to find out that you just used your last antihistamine pill.
Invest in a good emergency first aid kit and keep it stocked at all times. Only you know what types of things you might need for your family.
Plan for every possible illness and injury in case they happen. When you prepare for a blizzard, you need to think of everything.
Keep your gas tank full
If the roads are hazardous and you do need to get somewhere in the middle of a snowstorm, you don't want to make any more stops than you have to.
With a full tank of gas, you can easily get where you're going without stopping. And, in case the power goes out, you won't have to worry about finding a gas station that still has power.
Prepare for a power outage
If you're home in the middle of a blizzard and you lose power, what will you do? Make plans now while you can.
Be sure that you stock up on batteries for your flashlight, matches to light candles, and a few extra jugs of water if you are on a well system.
Hand crank lights and radios work wonderfully whether you have electricity or not. And, you don't need to worry about stocking up on batteries.
Keep food on hand that doesn't require cooking. A few good options include peanut butter and wheat crackers, granola bars, trail mix, and canned goods like tuna, vegetables, and fruit.
Don't forget things like electrolyte beverages, fruit juice, and powdered milk. You'll also want to have ready-to-drink formula if you have an infant in your home.
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, be sure that you have fire starters and extra wood. Remember that you may need kindling to get that fire started to stay warm.
Listen for emergency alerts
If the power is out, you won't be able to turn on the television to check for emergency alerts. Be sure to have a battery-operated radio that will let you tune to a local news station.
And, make sure that you have a car charger for your phone so you can keep it fully charged. You can sign up for emergency alerts on your phone that will help you stay alert.
Be prepared for damage
If you do have damage to your home from a fall branch or tree, what will you do? A broken window or storm door can let in the snow and the cold temperatures.
Stock up on the basics like an all-weather tarp, a roll of weather seal tape, and a pair of sturdy work gloves.
This way you can need to make a few emergency repairs until the storm clears.
Prepare for snow removal
Make sure that you have a snowblower or several shovels in a spot that's easily accessible. You don't want the shovel to be in the garage if you can't get into it due to the snow.
Keep a snow brush and ice scraper inside the house. If your car is covered by two feet of snow, you won't want your only snow brush inside the car.
Keep your driveway relatively safe once the snow is cleared with a walk-behind salt spreader. This will help with any ice accumulation.
Remember that you may have a problem starting your car. A lock de-icer and jumper cables can be invaluable in cold weather.
Prepare your car
While the best thing to do during a blizzard is to stay inside, be prepared just in case you have to leave.
Your car should be in good working condition. And, you need to make sure that you have snow tires so you can get where you're going safely.
Make sure that you check the windshield wiper blades and replace them when they are worn. Grab a few de-icer products and keep them in the trunk just in case.
Stock up on extra windshield wiper fluid, anti-freeze, and oil. And, keep these supplies within easy reach in your trunk.
If you do get stranded, it's always a good idea to have an emergency road kit on hand. You'll want flares and an emergency triangle to warn cars of your location.
And, keep a plastic tub in the car with a few bottles of water, energy bars, dry gloves, an emergency flashlight, and a warm blanket.
Finally, the best thing you can do in a blizzard is to stay home and wait until it's safe to go out. If you do get stuck at home for a long period of time, following these tips should help you prepare for a blizzard.