Living in Columbus has taught me that the weather can often be as unpredictable as our lives are, especially in the winter. Experiencing all four seasons within one week’s time has become a regular occurrence, and it’s hard to know if you should plan to wear shorts and a T-shirt, or bundle up in three coats and a blanket for the day.
If you’ve lived in Ohio during the winter, you’ve probably seen how quickly snow and ice can sneak up on us when we least expect it. With all the recent blizzards and power outages, stocking up on supplies and preparing for potential storms is a great way to make sure you’re ready for anything that comes your way. Here are some tips and products that can help get you ready for a potential winter storm:
Before a winter storm hits:
- 1. Make a shopping list for food:
Most people recommend storing at least a three-day supply of water (one gallon per person), as well as nonperishable food items such as granola bars. Since you’ll more than likely be without electricity during a winter storm, try to buy items that don’t need to be refrigerated or heated up. This can include dry cereal, bread, crackers or pretzels, canned or powdered milk, peanut butter, energy bars, fruit and veggies, and canned items such as soup or beans. While we tend to keep cheese and condiments in the fridge, the FDA has said that hard cheeses, such as provolone and cheddar, as well as ketchup and other condiments are usually safe to eat for a few days as long as they are properly sealed. As strange as it may sound, you can also buy canned fish such as tuna and salmon to make sure you still get a good amount of protein in your diet.
- Stock up on non-food items:
Without electricity, flashlights and batteries are essentials. I personally recommend having gas lanterns and some extra fuel if you want brighter lights. Prescription medications, bottled water, and other toiletries like napkins are also essential for times where you may be snowed in for multiple days.
During a winter storm:
- Don’t panic!
Blizzards and other snowstorms can be incredibly dangerous, but don’t be afraid to take a moment and breathe before acting. Remember that the God we serve is much bigger than any storm that comes against us!
- Stay inside if you can:
Unless it’s an emergency, try to stay inside and keep as much heat in your house as you can. If you have kids, this can actually be a great opportunity to play games, build a fort in the living room, or tell stories. Some of my favorite memories from my own childhood come from the fun that I had playing cards during power outages with my family.
- Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed:
This helps keep the temperature down for about four hours after a power outage, and can give you time to store your food elsewhere.
After a winter storm hits:
- Check your fridge and freezer’s temperatures:
Food in the fridge is typically good for about four hours after an outage, but just to be safe, it’s best to check the internal appliance thermometer to measure your freezer’s temperature. If it’s below 40° F, you can still refreeze your food. If your food has been above 40° F for more than an hour or two, you should throw it away.
- Check your personal property:
Make sure that everything in your house, and your car, are running safely. Check to see if the pipes in your house are working, and try to clear off and start your car as soon as possible.
- Check to see if neighbors or others need help:
Look to see if people nearby need help clearing snow or ice off of their property, and check to see if anyone needs medical attention.
If you have any other good ideas, just add them below in the comments section!