Preparing for that unforseen winter storm

Published on December 16, 2014 with No Comments

Unusual as it is along the Gulf Coast, last winter’s icy conditions and sub-freezing temperatures reminds us a sudden winter storm can bully its way to Northwest Florida and may even result in damages to homes, close businesses and cause many other unforeseen and unsuspected problems.

You must plan ahead to minimize the effects of winter weather and here is a checklist to make sure you are prepared.

Prepare your family

  • Review and update your emergency plan, including evacuation routes and what you should do depending on which emergency occurs.
  • Maintain up-to-date contact information for you family and people such as doctors.
  • Have a bag ready with important documents if you need to leave your home due to an emergency
  • Make plans of what you are going to do in case of an emergency to include your pets.

Prepare your home

  • Have the house inspected, including the roof. Make sure windows and doors are weatherized properly.
  • Inspect heating equipment regularly.
  • Check and clear gutters, downspouts, and yard drains.
  • If you hear of adverse weather coming, stock up on adequate supplies of food and water in the event you and your family are stranded.
  • Keep a first-aid kit on-site.
  • Ensure flashlights and battery-powered radios are available, as well as spare batteries.
  • Take photos of the house before any major storm and keep them in a safe place.
  • Have salt or sand on hand for icy sidewalks and roadways.

Prepare your vehicles

  • Perform inspections and maintenance on all family vehicles at the start of winter and at regular intervals throughout the season.
  • Check vehicle fluids on a regular basis, especially antifreeze.
  • Equip all vehicles with tires that are in good working condition and appropriate for winter weather.
  • Prepare a winter emergency kit, including a shovel, blanket, flashlight, spare batteries, water, battery-powered radio, matches, first-aid kit, booster cables, flares, and warm clothing.

Prepare for the storm

  • Download Gulf Power’s Power Out app to view our live map of power outages on your smartphone. The map will give you details regarding current outages in Gulf Power’s service territory and estimated restoration times. You can also report an outage through the app. Just search for “Gulf Power” in your app store on your smartphone to download the app before the next major storm hits.
  • During severe weather, allow your self adequate time if you must get out. But stay indoors if at all possible.
  • Maintain a minimum building temperature of 50°F indoors to safeguard against freezing pipes.
  • Clear snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways to avoid accidents.
  • Unplug unnecessary equipment and appliances.
  • Stay tuned to local television and radio stations or the National Weather Service for updates.

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