A powerful winter storm is threatening parts of the eastern United States with crippling freezing rain, sleet and snow, as experts urge residents to be prepared.
Make sure you’ve done the basics: Learn how to keep your pipes from freezing (for example, you can open cabinets in places like under sinks to let heat in or let faucets drip), test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, have extra batteries for radios and flashlights, charge electronics and consider the specific needs of everyone in your household, like medication.
And ensure you have all the grocery supplies you need.
Here’s what you should make sure to stock up on in your home.
High-protein and non-perishable foods: Those include foods like energy bars and protein and fruit bars that don’t need to be refrigerated or frozen, said Joann Sands, a clinical assistant professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Buffalo, who trains students in disaster and emergency preparedness. It’s important that you don’t panic-buy to try and fill your fridge, Sands said.
Canned goods: Remember that the power may be out as the storm whips through your region, so have with you ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and canned juices as well as a manual can opener, according to Ready.gov. If a can is swollen, dented or corroded, do not eat from it.
Water: Store at least three days’ worth of water supply for each person in your household and for each pet, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends storing at least one gallon of water for each person in your household for each day. If it’s store-bought water, make sure you check the expiration date.
Think of babies – and pets: When preparing, don’t forget about babies and pets in the house. Make sure you have enough supply of baby formula, as well as anything else an infant may need, like diapers, said Sands. Be sure to also have several days’ worth of supplies for pets, like medications and non-perishable foods.
Have an emergency kit: A disaster kit should include: non-perishable foods and a three-day supply of water, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit with a manual, sanitation items, matches in a waterproof container, a whistle to signal for help if you need to, clothing, blankets and sleeping bags, identification cards, credit cards and cash, paper and pencil, items to cover baby and pet needs and any special items like medications, contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids and activities for younger children. Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you should also include things like face masks.
If the power goes out: Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as you can, to avoid letting the cool air out. If unopened, your fridge will be able to keep food cold for about four hours, according to Ready.gov. Throw out any perishable food – like meat, poultry, eggs or leftovers – that’s been left in temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.
Read more tips here.