14:44 PM

Prepare for the winter storm

With a winter storm expected to bring significant ice from New England to Texas over the next few days, widespread power outages are forecasted from the Ohio Valley through the southern plains.  The storm is projected to move slowly, and areas could see up to a half inch of ice.

Here are steps that you can take now to prepare.

Pack an emergency preparedness kit
Having an emergency preparedness kit on hand may help you keep your family safe during a disaster. Store supplies in a large waterproof container near a door or in your garage so you can grab it and find shelter quickly. Ready.gov recommends you have at least three days' worth of food, water and medications on hand. They also provide a list of items to include in your disaster kit:            

  • Drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day)
  • Nonperishable food, such as canned veggies and protein bars
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlights or portable lanterns and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A crank- or battery-powered radio
  • Sanitation supplies: toilet paper, moist towelettes, soap, trash bags and disinfectants
  • Baby food, bottles and diapers
  • Pet food
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
  • Dry clothing and blankets

 In case of an ice storm:

  • Stay indoors while the storm is active.
  • Be careful when you go out – watch for snow and ice on walkways and proceed with caution.
  • If you need to shovel snow, don’t overexert yourself. Stretch first, take breaks, drink plenty of water and ask for help if you need it. Pushing yourself too hard can bring on a heart attack, a common cause of death in the winter.
  • Keep your clothes dry; wet clothing loses its insulating value and rapidly transmits cold.

Be wary of these cold-related injuries:

  • Frostbite – Whether you’ve been shoveling snow or out for a walk, be vigilant for signs of frostbite such as loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities. If you notice any of these signs, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Hypothermia – If you or someone you know has been exposed to extreme cold, watch for signs of hypothermia such as uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion. Seek medical help as soon as possible.

What to do if you get trapped in your car:

  • Stay inside – Remain in your car where rescuers are most likely to find you, and take turns sleeping if you’re with someone. Somebody should always be awake to alert rescuers.
  • Keep warm – Run the engine and heater approximately 10 minutes every hour and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. You can also move around inside your car to generate heat and insulate windows using loose papers, floor mats and seat covers.
  • Alert others – If it’s dark out, turn on the inside light so rescue crews can find you more easily. If you’re stranded in a remote area, stomp out the words "SOS" or "HELP" in the snow so rescuers can see them from above.

For more on how to prepare yourself and your property for extreme weather, visit our catastrophe resource center. We hope these tips will help keep you out of harm’s way and help you stay protected from winter storms and cold this season. Need to file a claim? Visit our claims center or call 1-800-421-3535.