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Plan & Prepare

Winter Weather Preparedness: Safety at Home

Winterize Your Home

  • Have a professional inspect your heating system annually.
  • Clean your fireplace or stove and have your flue checked for any buildup of creosote. Be sure other fuel burning equipment is properly vented to the outside.
  • Insulate your home properly. If necessary, insulate walls and attics to conserve energy.
  • Caulk doors and windows to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows, or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation.
  • Protect pipes from freezing:
    • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
    • Turn both hot and cold faucets to continuously drip a little.
    • Keep a wrench near the valves and know how to shut off your water valves if a pipe bursts.
    • For more information: "Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes" from the American Red Cross
  • Inspect and flush your water heater.
  • Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
  • Cut away tree branches that can fall on the house during an ice storm or from heavy snow.  Notify the utility company of branches that overhang power lines; do not attempt to trim by yourself.
  • Replace batteries for smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors. If you did not do this when you set the clocks back, do it now.
  • Have a back-up power source in place if you are dependent upon electricity for medical or mobility needs.
  • Know where your snow shovel is located and have a supply of sand and sand or a substitute.
  • Prepare a warm, safe place for your animals in severe winter weather. Make sure any outbuilding that houses or shelters animals can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice.
    • Bring pets indoors. Horses and livestock should have a shelter protected from wind, snow, ice and rain. Grazing animals need access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
    • Make sure your animals have access to high ground in case you do not have time to relocate them during a flood.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt.
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program if you are at risk.

If Power Goes Out

Visit our web page for information about what to do During a Blackout.

Our Before a Blackout Happens web page also provides information about making a backup power plan if you depend on electricity for medical or mobility needs.

You can find additional information about making a backup plan at: http://www.adapacific.org/docs/power_planning_5_13.pdf.

Follow these additional tips:

  • Dress in warm, light layers and wear a cap for warmth.
  • Close off unused rooms.
  • Eat well-balanced meals for energy.
  • Use only safe sources of alternate heat such as a fireplace, a small well-vented wood or coal stove, or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers' instructions and never substitute one type of fuel for another.

Clearing Your Roof

  • Clearing your roof is a dangerous task. Always think about safety first. If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
  • When possible use long-handled rakes or poles.
  • If you must use a ladder, make sure the base is securely anchored. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
  • Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
  • Make sure you do not touch electrical wires.
  • If the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.

Further Reading:

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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628

 

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