Everett lies right on a weather convergent zone and we are use to being heavily bombarded with a plethora of varying storm fronts. High winds, rain showers, hail, freezing temps in the winter and yes even sea level snows have paralyzed our community more than once. Yet we so often find ourselves un-prepared to the winter conditions and since these weather extremes are hitting us more often, perhaps a little prep is in order. Here’s ten suggestions:
1. Get familiar with the website http://www.ready.gov/ This amazing resoure offer an amazing amount of disaster preparedness information.
2. Make or buy a good disaster kit. Ready suggests the following for a basic disaster kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
3. Own a snow shovel. This one is self explanatory, but it is amazing how quickly the hardware stores empty of shovels. You don’t want to be caught without a way to clear your doorways. Also make sure your outside water bibs have a foam covering so that they can be protected against freezing in the wintertime. You don’t want water spraying out of broken pipes. As you know, water expands as it freezes and it will literally split a metal pipe like it was made out of paper.
4. Have warm clothing and shoes for all household members. Often storms knock out power and when that happens things can get dangerously cold. Warm clothes can make all the difference. Also when the warnings go out that a big snow storm is on the way, get your laundry done. When power is down, washing machines and dryers don’t work.
5. Keep good all season tires or snow tires on your vehicles during the colder months. Make sure your coolant is also rated for freezing scenarios. A frozen cooling system will instantly destroy your engine making it worthless.
6. A gas-powered generator is great when the power goes out, make make sure you only run them outside to avoid asphyxiation. Place generator in a safe secure level area and make sure power cords are placed so that people will not rip over them.
7. Have a good supply of candles around the house, as well as flash lights. Again, avoid putting gas powered lanterns in the home as this can lead to death.
8. Even if you are not a camper, extra blankets, quilts, and sleeping bags are always welcome if a storm knocks out the power supply. During some recent cold spells, areas of Puget Sound have literally been powerless for days. A sleeping bag may be your only resource for warmth in the home.
9. Rock salt and sand are a great item to keep handy. Even when walks are shoveled, prolonged periods of sub-freezing temps can cause viciously slippery ice to cling to the ground. A little sand and salt can offer some traction when it counts.
10. Obviously food is crucial and if you here that a storm is on the way, zip down to the market and stock up. But keep in mind that you don’t want everything to be food that must be cooked. Also grab canned goods and things that don’t need the power of an electric stove.