by: Patricia Sarmiento, writer for Public Health Corps
Being prepared in the event of an emergency is important for anyone, but when you have children, elderly family members, or loved ones who have health issues, it’s especially imperative. When the roads become too difficult to travel, a medical emergency can quickly turn dire for some, so it’s best to be prepared for any event.
Although winter weather means many different things according to which part of the country you live in, it can often mean snow, sleet, ice, and very slippery or even impassable roads. Trees and power lines can come down without warning, interrupting or completely knocking out the electricity, which could leave you and your family in the cold and dark.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways you can prepare your home, your automobile, and your family in the event of a winter weather emergency. Working out a plan and making a few purchases will ensure you have peace of mind when the colder months roll around; read on to find out how to get started.
Stocking up on essentials like bottled water, bread, milk, batteries, and toilet paper is an excellent idea, but you might also think about what sort of medical supplies you and your loved ones will need should you be stuck in the house for a while. This includes extra insulin for diabetic individuals, prescription medication, a fully-stocked first aid kit, and even over-the-counter pain reliever. If there are children in the house, make sure you have liquid pain reliever/fever reducer and/or cough medicine, just in case. Winter weather often brings with it nasty forms of illness, and if the streets are too dangerous to drive on, it might be a while before you can get to the doctor. Also, think about keeping a box with gloves, hats, extra coats and long-sleeved shirts, and hand warmers so that everyone will be covered. For some great tips on what to include in your kit, check out this article.
This type of preparation should also include an EpiPen for individuals with severe allergies and even Naloxone, an injectable drug that can treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. Talk to your doctor about its uses, side effects, and the pros and cons. For more information on how to handle this and other drug emergencies, click here.
Think about outdoor needs
Supplying your home with canned goods, water, and medicine is the first step in preparing for heavy winter weather; the next is to ensure the outside is good to go as well. This means stocking up on firewood if you have a fireplace, making sure all outside pipes are either insulated or turned completely off so they don’t freeze and burst, and laying aside rock salt, a good shovel and warm gloves, antifreeze, and sandbags for traction if your driveway is steep. If there’s an emergency and the roads are passable, you’ll want to make sure you can get out of your home.
Speaking of those roads…
Your car is the next thing on the list. Make sure it’s in good shape and has plenty of gas at all times. Take it in to have the fluids topped off, the wipers and tires checked, and the oil changed. In the trunk, keep blankets (you can buy foil emergency blankets that will fold down pretty small), a jug of water, a heavy-duty flashlight with extra batteries, a cell phone charger, a small box of snacks such as granola bars and cheese crackers, and road flares. Going out during a storm is not advisable, but if you have an emergency and feel you have no choice, it’s best to be prepared for any situation.
Winter weather is no joke, especially in states where snowfall can amount to several feet very quickly. Map out a plan of evacuation and talk to your family about where to meet in case anyone gets separated. Making sure everyone is on the same page will not only give you peace of mind, it will keep everyone safe in the event of an emergency.
Patricia Sarmiento is a writer for Public Health Corps. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for herself and her family.