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Snow Storm Preparedness

How to prepare for the winter storms to come

Winter storms are a fact of life for us here in New England. Even for us who have lived here our whole lives, they can be a nightmare. At Koopman Lumber, we believe in safety and preparedness going into the winter months. We know that winter storms are dangerous no matter how many you’ve been through, and whether this is your first big storm or your fiftieth it never hurts to make sure you’re good to go.

What do I need?

The first step to surviving the storm is preparing, so make sure you have all the materials you’ll need this winter. Even before you hear about a big storm, make sure you have the following:download

  • Shovels and/or a snow blower

  • 3 days worth of water and food

  • Batteries

  • A generator

  • A flashlight

  • A heat source or things to keep your family warm

  • Ice melt and sand

These are the bare essentials for a winter survival kit. If you should lose power or be trapped inside your home, then these items will allow you to keep your family safe, and get out of the situation once the storm blows over.

Readiness is the key to any battle, so now let’s look at what we can do before, during, and after a storm.

Before the Storm

Before the storm hits, you will want to stock up on your supplies. Make sure everything is in a readily accessible location that won’t be blocked by snow. Now is a great time to check your snow clean up tools to make sure they are in proper working condition. Take a good look over your shovels to verify there are no cracks, pieces missing, or otherwise damaged parts of the blade or the handle.  If something is damaged, replace it immediately.

Also make sure that your vehicle has a snow brush and scraper.  Having an emergency shovel and some extra blankets in your trunk are also good ideas.

Few things are worse than facing a mountain of snow on your driveway and sidewalk without a working snow blower.  To make sure you don’t have to spend hour after hours shoveling, run your snow blower for a few minutes to make sure all parts of it are functioning properly.  If it has been sitting with a full tank of gas for awhile, you should use some fuel stabilizer.  The Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment that Koopman carries allows all engines to start easily and run smoothly, even when using ethanol-blended fuel or after sitting idle for months.

Another way to make your inevitable snow clean up easier is to apply ice melt to the walkways around your house to help prevent freezing.  The few minutes that you’ll spend doing this are infinitely easier than hacking away at a thick, frozen layer of ice.

Photo courtesy Mag-Lite

Model above is Mag-Lite D – courtesy of Mag-Lite

After you verify everything in your house is ready for the storm, make sure you have the food and water supplies to make it 2 or 3 days. In New England we like to think of ourselves as the hardened veterans of the snow, but storms can be wild and unpredictable. Don’t get caught off guard! You may also also want a flashlight with extra batteries, and an alternative source of heating (wood stove, space heaters) in case you lose power and can’t heat your home normally.

 

During the Storm

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When the storm finally hits, there are a few things you can do to ensure your safety. First and foremost is to stay inside unless absolutely necessary. In the event of an emergency where you have to leave the house, drive slow and do not go alone.

Freezing pipes are also a significant concern with winter storms. If the oncoming storm is significant enough that there’s a potential that you might lose electricity, make sure to keep your home as warm as possible.  If the electricity goes out, it will take longer for a warmer home’s temperature to drop to the level where frozen pipes are concern.  Another handy tip is to let the faucet run at a slow drip to help prevent the water inside the pipes from freezing. There’s not a lot else to do while the snow is coming down, so we recommend you grab some hot cocoa and make yourself comfortable.

After the Storm

When the storm has died down it’s time to get the equipment ready. Grab the shovels and get to work on the walkways to around your house.

Important Safety Tip – Carbon Monoxide!!:  Lots of people like to start their vehicles and let them run for awhile while cleaning the snow off of them.  Before you fire up your car’s engine, make SURE that the tailpipe is not obstructed by snow, otherwise the inside of your car will fill with lethal exhaust!  Also, make SURE that all heating and dryer vents are not obstructed by snow.  You do NOT want carbon monoxide backing up into your house!!

Once you’ve gotten the snow removed, grab your ice melt and sprinkle it across your newly shoveled paths. Check your roof to make sure there isn’t a buildup of snow on the edges or you could get ice dams that build up.

You made it!

Winter storms can be intimidating, but with the proper planning should pose no threat. If you need any help this winter season, come down to a Koopman Lumber location near you. Our knowledgeable staff will set you up with the tools and supplies that you need to keep your house safe in a storm, and the know how to get the most out of your equipment.