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What to do when a storm threatens...

The following information is intended to help you use the final hours before the storm hits most efficiently, highlighting things you can do now that are intended to help keep your family safe and minimize damage to your home.

 

Protect Your Home.

Test and Fuel Your Generator. Confirm that you have plenty of generator fuel to get you through a potentially extended power outage, or that its permanent fuel supply line is unobstructed. While many generators feature a regular “test mode” cycle, owners of the quietest models have reported not knowing whether or not the tests ran. As such, consider starting it up to ensure it’s working properly so as to avoid surprises when it’s needed most.

Prevent Ice-Damming and Future Damage Following the Storm. Heavy snowfall and temperature fluctuations can lead to the formation of ice dams. Ice dams form when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Snow then melts on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Melted snow from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and potentially into the house.

To prevent ice dams:

  • Make sure your gutters are clear, as clogged gutters will prevent water from draining sufficiently and may be at risk of coming down completely.
  • Remove the snow from your roof with a roof rake ($40) or push broom. Use caution to avoid damaging roofing materials. Don’t use salt or other minerals to melt snow on your roof – these will damage the roof covering along with the gutters and downspouts.

Prevent Frozen and Burst Pipes. When water freezes in a pipe it expands, often causing the pipe to burst. This is a major cause of loss for homeowners; however, there are actions you can take to help avoid it. Follow these tips to help proactively prevent loss.

  • During extended periods of freezing temperatures, maintain a minimum thermostat setting of 70°F throughout your home.
  • To prevent exterior faucets from freezing, each faucet should be shut off from inside the home, as well as any water drained from the pipe. Exterior irrigation systems should be winterized to help prevent freezing.
  • Still water freezes faster than running water. On frigid nights, turn on a faucet to a slow drip at the highest point in your home.
  • Identify where the main water valve and the valve on your water heater are located for quick access during an emergency.

Move your Car to the Garage. Protect your car from ice and nearby branches, which can break and fall due to the weight of snow, by moving them indoors.

 

Protect Your Family.

Here are a few things every family should consider, as well as some additional resources you might find helpful:

Check your disaster kit. Make sure it has enough food, water, batteries, and other supplies to last your family at least three days. Click to read what a well-stocked kit should include.

Driving Safely in the Snow.

  • Clean the snow and ice off your vehicle before driving. Snow and ice can become dangerous projectiles that can damage other cars and affect your visibility and the visibility of other drivers.
  • Maintain a safe driving distance. Increasing your driving distance in winter weather will allow you plenty of room to maneuver your car should an emergency occur.
  • Keep your lights on while driving. Keeping your lights on allows other drivers on the road to see your car more easily. Don’t forget to make sure your lights are clear of ice and snow before you head out to drive.
  • Keep an emergency winter kit in your car. Your emergency winter kit should consist of the following items: a snow shovel, ice scraper, cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, tire chains, lock deicer and blankets.
  • Maintain a full tank of gas. You never know when bad weather can strike, and with a full tank of gas you may be much better off if you are stuck in traffic delays.
  • Slow down while driving. The posted speed limit on roads is intended for dry weather conditions, not snow and icy conditions. Slow your speed down while on the road to help avoid an accident. If you are driving a 4x4 vehicle, don’t become overconfident while out on the road.
  • Take extra care when backing up your vehicle. Before backing up make sure your windows are free and clear of debris. At PURE, single-vehicle accidents are a major cause of loss for our membership.