Much of the U.S. is expected to experience extreme temperature drops, freezing rain, snow and ice, as well as wind gusts as a winter storm front moves in over the holiday weekend. Whether you are staying home for the holidays or traveling, be safe. Protect yourself, your family and your home with these winter storm safety tips.


Securing Your Home

With winter weather upon us, it’s important that we not only take care of ourselves, but also our homes. Our homes keep us safe, secure, and comfortable, and we need to take extra precautions to maintain them, especially during times like these. In addition to the following tips, make sure to have your home inspected following the storm to look for any damage sustained, especially to components like the roof, windows, gutters and drainpipes.


Avoid Freezing Pipes

When temperatures plummet, plumbing pipes are at high risk of freezing.

  • Keep your thermostat on auto mode and set to at least 65 degrees to prevent plumbing pipes from freezing
  • Keep a healthy water supply in the event your pipes freeze and you no longer have access to water
  • Install heating tape on your pipes to help them withstand cold temperatures
  • Disconnect garden hoses and other outdoor utilities that are at risk of freezing


Prepare for Outages

  • Snow and ice weigh heavily on power lines and can cause outages in your area.
  • Keep flashlights easily accessible
  • Charge your phone and other devices
  • Use electric or battery-operated appliances over gas to reduce risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Do not use gas stoves, cars or generators inside the home as a heating source


Other Preparations to Take

Your home is central to your overall well-being. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe and comfortable.

  • Fill the gas tank in your car at least halfway full to avoid freezing
  • Keep ice melt, salt or kitty litter to melt ice on driveways and walkways
  • If your air filters haven’t been changed in the last 3 months, change them to help increase air circulation throughout the home


Build an Emergency Kit

Emergency kits are essential, and you never know when you are going to need them, so during unpredictable times, such as weather events, it’s important to always keep them stocked and on hand.

For Your Home

  • Water and nonperishable food items
  • Household essentials including toilet paper and...
  • Any medications needed
  • First aid kit complete with bandages and alcohol wipes
  • Blankets and jackets
  • Pet supplies, if applicable

For Your Car

  • Battery starter
  • Ice scraper and phone charging cords
  • Water bottles and nonperishable food items
  • First aid kit including medications
  • Blankets


Are You Traveling for the Holidays?

Winter weather can have a serious impact on travel plans, so it’s important to always stay informed of current weather conditions and keep your loved ones up to date on your travel plans.

If you are driving, map out your route ahead of time and consider alternate routes in case of road closures. Also, identify areas to stop along the way should driving conditions become unsafe. To help keep you safe on the roads, keep a car emergency kit easily accessible and ensure your tires are in good condition to handle ice and snow.

If you are flying, check your flight status before heading to the airport in the event your flight is cancelled or delayed. Also, be sure to allocate extra time for getting to the airport and going through security as the holidays are a busy time of year. Lastly, do your research and explore what travel options may be available to you through your airline provider.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, take a few extra precautions and be sure to leave your home in good condition while away. Make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked, keep your thermostat at 65 degrees or above to prevent freezing pipes, and make sure if you have security cameras are fully charged. In addition, unplug any appliances or devices while you are away to not only save energy, but also reduce the risk of electrical issues.

Don’t forget to stay up to date on the latest weather trends by tuning into your local weather stations. We wish everyone a safe and warm holiday season.