Hot cocoa? Check! Cheese and crackers? Check! Vino?! Tripple check!
While these things are all very important for your snow day survival kit, there are a few other things you need to check off that snowstorm safety checklist as well. Here is a friendly reminder of what to do during a snowstorm.
Snowstorm Safety Checklist
1. Conserve Fuel
It’s so tempting to jack up the heat and watch the snowy scene from the comfort of your toasty home. But, big storms also affect businesses. Fuel delivery companies might take longer to get to you if they are unable to access their entire fleet, have lost power, etc. Icy and snowy conditions might also impede their access to your home. Keep the temperature between 60 and 65 degrees and bundle up!
2. Keep The Water Flowing
While feel conservation is important, freezing pipes are the flipside to lowering the heat. The last thing you want during a snowstorm is water pouring out of your ceiling and walls. Never turn off the heat! Other precautions you can take include turning on faucets to a slow drip to keep water moving and opening cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer air. Make sure you know where the main water shut-off is in case a pipe does burst.
3. Take Shoveling Breaks
If you’re not used to cardio, take frequent breaks when shoveling, especially if it’s the heavy kind of snow. On average, shoveling burns 250 calories every thirty minutes! But, it also is one of the leading causes of winter deaths – in the form of heart attacks. So, take it easy if you have heart problems. On the flip side, if you are a well-conditioned machine, offer to help elderly neighbors.
We all know drinking water in the summer is important. But, you also need to stay hydrated in the cold! Especially, if you are the one doing the shoveling. When our blood vessels constrict (in cold weather) we become less thirsty, causing us not to drink as much water as we would in warmer weather. We also lose more fluid through respiratory fluid loss, or when you can “see your breath.”
5. Get Ready For “Lights Out”
When heavy snow and high winds tug on power lines, there’s a chance of losing power. And while we recommend Clue, Scrabble, or Monopoly as part of the power loss plan, it can actually become serious when a power outage lasts beyond a few hours. Be sure you’re ready for the loss of light and the potential long-term loss of heat. Keep flashlights, candles, extra blankets and cold weather gear accessible. You’ll also need a few days of non-perishable foods, a first aid kit, bottled water, and perhaps some baby wipes for personal hygiene. If the freezer starts to thaw, grab a cooler and keep the store the food outside.
6. Stay Inside
This might seem obvious, but for little ones and the young at heart, it’s awfully tempting to romp around in all of those big fat flakes. But, besides risking hyperthermia, falls on icy walkways and falling branches pose real risks. Don’t worry, once the storm is over, there will be plenty of shoveling, er, um, frolicking to do.
7. Be Spaceheater Smart
We’d rather see you use body heat than a space saver to generate extra warmth. 😉 But, if the additional heat is a necessity, use electric space heaters that will shut off automatically and make sure they are two to four feet away from any walls or furniture. Never use a gas-powered generator; they are for outdoor use only.
8. Carbon Monoxide Safety
There are several ways this deadly gas can build up in your home during a snowstorm. The good news is it is fairly easy to keep your home carbon monoxide free. While it’s always smart to make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors (with charged batteries in case of a power failure) you still need to be extra vigilant. Do not use any propane or gas fueled device inside of the home, including generators and heaters. Carbon monoxide is the bi-product of running natural gas and can quickly build up inside of a closed space. The fact that the gas is odorless makes it extra deadly. Make sure snow is cleared from all vents for furnaces, hot water heaters, wood stoves, gas-powered dryers, and chimneys, all of which output carbon monoxide. Recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which are flu-like and go away when you head outdoors.
9. Fight The Draft
If you didn’t winterize your home, you can still prevent the cold from blowing in during a winter snow storm. Use extra towels at the base of any door or window where you might feel a draft from the outside windy world.
Seriously, this is an important one. Do you remember Misery? Cabin fever, work stress, and anxiety can peak during a snowstorm. Don’t let a snowstorm give birth to your inner Annie Wilkes. Try to think of a snow day as a mini-holiday. Binge watch your favorite TV show, clean that closet you never have time to attack, play an old-school board game with the kids. In short, use the day to do the things you always want to do but never seem to have the time! Remember, free time is a true gift. 😉
The Haute Life