The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is a real-world reminder of the necessity of being prepared for severe storms and winter weather emergencies. While storms of the level of Sandy are rare, lesser but still dangerous weather emergencies are not. Here is a brief guide to preparing yourself for the severe winter weather all too common in the Northeast.

Maintain an emergency kit Assemble a stock of emergency equipment, tools, and supplies that you may need if a storm knocks out your power and heat for several days. At a minimum, the kit should contain:

A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food, such as canned goods, MREs, or other dry foods that require no preparation.

A well-stocked first-aid kit.

Flashlights and extra batteries. Periodically check the flashlights to make sure they work and replace the batteries every six months to ensure your kit always has fresh batteries.

A battery or hand-cranked radio for information and/or a smartphone and car charger.

A seven-day supply of medications.

Tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, and multi-tools.

Have plenty of weather-appropriate winter clothing Maintain a stock of dry winter clothing, including coats, sweaters, insulated underwear, socks, hats, scarves, and gloves. Make sure you have wet-weather gear available such as boots, ponchos, raincoats, and waterproof gloves and hats in case you have to walk or work in rain or snow.

Prepare emergency heating and power sources Check portable generators and heaters to make sure they work and keep a good supply of fuel for each. Make sure anyone who will be using the equipment knows how to operate it and is aware of all safety procedures. If you have a standby generator, have a technician check it for proper operation once a year.

Prepare your home to Insulate plumbing pipes to prevent freezing. Leave water dripping from the faucets to maintain water circulation in the pipes during excessive cold temperatures. Know where to find and how to use shut-offs for gas, electricity, water, and other utilities. Install surge protectors to protect computers and electronics.

Pipe Works Services serves the air conditioning, heating, and plumbing needs of Northern New Jersey homeowners. Contact us today for more information on how to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for severe winter weather emergencies. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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