How to Prepare for Winter Storms

January is prime-time for winter storms, so it’s smart to be ready for the worst. Here’s a list of essential items to keep on-hand and tips for staying warm and protected until the storm blows over.

Winter survival kit

Put Together a Winter Survival Kit

Before any storm hits, it’s smart to make sure you have what you might need. If you don’t have the essentials on hand, be sure to put together an emergency supply kit in advance. You don’t want to risk a trip to the store with a storm approaching. Weather can quickly take a turn for the worse, leaving you stranded.

Emergency Supply Kit Basics:

  • Water — at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food — at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.); list of medications and pertinent medical information
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • Cell phone with portable chargers. (It’s wise to get in the habit of keeping your cell phones fully charged)
  • A list of family and emergency contact information, someplace other than in your cell phone
  • First aid kit 

Beyond the Basics:

  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Extra cash
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home (like plastic sheeting, plywood/nails, etc.)
  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves 

Heat Your Home Safely 

During winter storms, efficient heating becomes even more of a priority. Fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings significantly increase in the winter months because of improper use of heating devices. If your furnace goes out, make sure you have a fire safety plan in place and keep these important safety tips in mind:

  • Always keep children and anything that’s flammable a minimum of 3 feet away from heat sources
  • Never use your oven to heat your home
  • Always have a qualified professional inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year
  • Never leave portable heater switched on in unoccupied rooms or when going to bed
  • Always use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room
  • Never dispose of fireplace ashes before they are fully cooled and always put them in a metal container that’s stored a safe distance away from your home
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and change batteries at least once a year. If necessary, install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.
  • Always vent fuel-burning equipment to the outside to avoid CO poisoning  

Remember, it’s always best to have a plan in place for the unexpected. A little preparation can go a long way 

Worried about an appliance or system breakdown leaving you unprepared this winter? Be ready and protect your budget with a home warranty from American Home Shield®. AHS® provides award-winning service with a variety of flexible plans.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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