Does Your Family Have a Winter Home Emergency Kit?

Winter is approaching and you likely have all sorts of things in your home right now that would serve you well in an emergency, but do you have them ready?

Creating a home emergency kit can be mean life or death, in some situations. Here are some simple tips of you can start an emergency kit for the winter months that will keep your family safe:

1. Know the Lay of the Land: Do you know where the water shutoff valve is? The emergency shutoff valve for the gas? Which circuit breakers go to which part of your home? It’s important that you learn how to control your home in the event of an emergency. Make sure the rest of the members of your household know how to do things like turn off the water or electricity.

2. Rotate Your Semi-Perishable Food: Canned goods and bottles of water keep well enough, but not forever. Arranging your pantry so that cans don’t linger is the back is a good idea in case you get snowed in with no electricity and must eat the canned food in your pantry. This will ensure the food is fresh.

3. Keep Batteries and Flashlights on Hand: You will always need batteries anyway, even if you are not in a state of emergency. Always make sure you have at least AA batteries and AAA batteries at all times,

4. Have Alternative Heat Available: Make sure you have brought out all over your heavy winter clothes. Fireplaces and space heaters can keep you warm in case your central furnace is not working properly. Make sure the device you are using is clean and safe and everyone in your home knows how to work it.

5. Tools and Materials for Emergency Repairs: You don’t need to be ready for a full scale remodeling project, but you need the basics. If a branch falls and breaks a window, your house’s temperature could drop in minutes. Keep some heavy duty plastic sheeting and duct tape around the house as well as screwdrivers and various other tools.

6. Communicating: Phone lines can be damaged by winds and ice, but it is very rare for a winter storm to wipe out the cellular network. Keep your cellphone charged and make sure you have a car charger for it.

7. Stay Well Stocked: You may need to practice shopping ahead. When you’re buying regular groceries, purchase a few extra non-perishable items to stock in the pantry.

8. Scaling Preparation for Your Situation and Budget: A home generator is a good investment if you can afford it. After Irene and Sandy, you never know when you might need it.