Little boy looking outside a window, dressed in a winter coat

Winter Storm Home Safety Tips

Updated February 5, 2020 . AmFam Team

Are you ready for the snow to fly? We’ve got some tips to help you keep your home and car safe — learn more from American Family and get prepared today.

It’s that season again. Mother Nature is ready to surprise us with a little ice and snow — maybe more than a little. We’ll help you weather the storm and hunker down in comfort with our winter storm tips for your home.

Let’s start by reviewing some helpful reminders that can help you well in advance of the storm. Then we’ll look at storm tips that make you feel secure when a storm is on the horizon.

Winter Weather Preparedness Tips

There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for a winter storm, and we’ve got a few ways you can get started before you need to be ready.

Learn weather terminology

Knowing the right terms for the weather can help you when the time comes for action. Here are the three major terms for winter storms:

Winter storm watch. This means that there’s potential for freezing rain, heavy snow, sleet or lake effect snow. There is potential that it could cause high impact.

Winter weather advisory. When this advisory is issued you should expect freezing rain, snow, sleet and lake effect snow. This is for when the weather is expected and will cause an inconvenience.

Winter storm warning. This is the most severe alert they issue and it signifies that high impact winter weather is expected. This includes ice storms and blizzards with heavy snow, sleet and lake effect snow.

Invest in a weather radio

Keep a battery operated weather radio at home so you can stay updated on weather and clean-up progress.

Stock up

You don’t need to fill your pantry to the brim as you most likely won’t be snowbound for long. But it’s a good idea to have some extra batteries, water, canned foods, flashlights and other supplies on hand.

Charge your phone

Not only should you charge your phone, but get any backup power sources ready too. If the power goes out, you’ll want to stay up-to-date on the news and let others know you’re safe.

Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Winter Storm

Keeping your home prepared for a storm is just as important as being prepared yourself. Here are a few ways you can make your home severe winter weather-ready before a winter storm batters your home.

Winterize your home

Do your annual exterior walk around to make sure your home is secure and sound. Inside your home — have your furnace serviced, take care of any leaks, prep your pipes for potential freezes and get your fireplace in order for the season.

Seal drafts

While you may have sealed some drafts as part of your regular winterizing — you’ll want to step up your game to keep out gusting wind. Rolled towels and blankets work great around doors. And hanging blankets over curtains give you an extra buffer.

Let faucets drip

If you have pipes that run up exterior walls and aren’t insulated properly, it’s best to keep just a little water running through them during a winter storm. Usually turning them on so they drip will be enough protection.

Pull out supplies

If you’ve stocked up on supplies, make sure they’re handy so you can find them if you need them. It’s also a good idea to add to your water supply by filling some empty containers from your tap.

Get the shovels ready

If a very heavy snowfall is predicted, you can protect your body by planning on shoveling a few times throughout the storm. Tackling mounds of snow at once is very taxing and you can easily overexert yourself.

Be carbon monoxide savvy

If you’re going to use a generator, a propane stove or any other alternative electricity source, use them with utmost care. Always follow the manufacturer’s use guidelines and stay on top of carbon monoxide safety tips.

On the bright side — winter storms are a great time to bring the family together for some quality snuggle time. Getting close and bundling up helps keep everyone warm and cozy. Use this time together to play games, work on a puzzle, make vacation plans or simply talk.

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