As the weather gets colder and unpredictable weather becomes more and more likely once again, it is finally safe to say that winter is not coming, it’s here. Although your winter prepping is unlikely to force you to face off against the frozen undead, there are certainly more than a few other things that could take you down. Preparation for winter is an important part of every year.
Unpredictable winter weather can have all sorts of different impacts depending on where you live in the world. You may be preparing for utterly frigid conditions, an uptick in flood likelihood, or perhaps even a greater fire risk from various heating elements in your home. Certain preparedness steps will help you in any situation.
Protecting your home from any winter-related damage should be the first thing on your mind. But what about the extra protection of important documents related to your personal life and/or your business? And what about winter travel? Below are suggestions on how to prepare for each.
It seems as though big, nasty storms are becoming an increasingly frequent event these days. Preparing for these calls from Old Man Winter takes a special bit of planning across the house. The CDC has a whole list of winter storm prep tips that can help you and your family be ready when the next big storm rolls in. Things to prepare for include:
- Insulating your water lines so they won’t freeze.
- Making sure all windows and doors have a good seal when closed.
- Upgrading windows.
- Creating a defensible space around your home so falling branches will not do damage.
- Having your chimney inspected yearly and prepare with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
- Stocking up on emergency food and water supplies.
Many of these tasks can be completed with routine yearly maintenance, and don’t necessarily have to just be a part of winter preparation. For example, routine plumbing checks can help ensure everything is insulated properly and that you are not at risk of a blockage or backup that could render things unserviceable in a pinch. Likewise, checking insulation on doors and windows as well as removing hazard branches can be taken care of easily throughout the year.
Emergency food and water supplies and an emergency prep kit are easily forgotten until the last minute, so it is imperative as a prepper to get everything together early. Ensure you will have a steady clean source of water, and grab a few cases of bottled water just in case. Keep a good stock of canned food, but also stock up on dehydrated foods that are easier to pack up if you need to move.
At some point over the past few decades, you may have decided to strike out on your own and open up a small business. Severe winter weather can put even this at risk. Whether you are running your business out of your home or you have a storefront in town, in an emergency situation, keeping important business records safe is a big deal. Doing so successfully will help you get going again quickly after a winter disaster.
The main thing for protecting records is to keep multiple copies all locked up in a safe location. Perhaps one copy in your lockbox at home and another tucked away at the bank. Many experts suggest having a secure online copy as well as a hard copy location.
Protecting documents with backups this way can help ensure that no matter what happens, you will have the necessary documentation needed to pick up (sort of) where you left off. Other documents to protect don’t all necessarily have to be business ones. For example, it is worthwhile to protect copies of things such as:
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
- Banking information
- Medical records
- Wedding or divorce certificates
The holiday season is the time of year when most people are likely to be on the road traveling to visit family members. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year when road conditions are the most variable and likely to change from great to horrible at a moment’s notice. Prepping your home for winter weather or a winter-related emergency is one thing, but it is also valuable to be prepared for winter travel conditions.
One of the best ways to help you prepare for winter driving is to leave home knowing what you are likely to face out there. Are certain passes likely to be closed due to snowfall and ice? Will you need to pick a slower but safer route to get to the grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner? Are roads fine during the day, but likely to become slick and dangerous at night? Certain technologies such as route planning and apps that update road conditions based on weather reports can help you plan.
No matter how much information you have going into your winter drive, there is always the possibility that you will get stuck or the drive will take far longer than expected. For that reason, it is valuable to be prepared with a driving emergency kit. Your kit should include things that will help you stay warm, drive in adverse conditions, and generally allow you to stay in good shape until help arrives.
Winter can bring about a number of situations that most of us would rather avoid altogether. Being prepared for the worst is the best way to survive and thrive in a winter-related emergency. Take the necessary time to prepare your home, your important documents, and your car for any sort of emergency winter issues you may face this year.