Winter Storm Awareness

 

With winter bearing down on most of the country, it's a great time to make sure you're ready for cold weather. Winter can be unpredictable as temperatures drop quickly, and it’s important to remember to protect your home. It’s common for pipes to burst which causes water damage. Please take this opportunity to protect your investment and hopefully avoid costly water damage. Here are a few tips that can help:
Tree downed by ice storm

  • After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks
  • Check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room
  • Close garage doors
  • Close or cover foundation vents under the house and windows to basements
  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers
  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses
  • Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath (drip single control faucets with lever set in the middle)
  • Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under the house with foam pipe insulation
  • Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it
  • Locate water main cut-off valve and have a cut-off key handy
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks
  • Set icemaker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house
  • Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them
  • Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain

Items to Stockpile

Primary concerns are loss of heat, power, telephone service, and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Make sure to have the following items available:

  • Baby items such as diapers and formula
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information
  • Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove, and space heater (properly ventilated to prevent a fire)
  • Extra food and water such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and other food requiring no cooking or refrigeration
  • Extra prescription medicine
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke alarm – test smoke alarms once a month to ensure they work properly
  • First-aid supplies
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Heating fuel (refuel before you are empty; fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm)

Farm & Pet Owners

If you own a farm or pets, you should consider the following tips to keep your animals safe from the storm:

  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas
  • Have water available to prevent dehydration
  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water, and shelter
  • Move animals to sheltered areas or bring pets inside

Traveling During a Storm

If possible, avoid traveling during a storm. One of the worst places you can be is on the roads during a winter storm. Consider the following tips to stay safe:

  • Avoid traveling alone
  • Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines
  • Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes
  • Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm

Too often, winter weather catches people unprepared. Before the storm strikes, make sure your home, farm, office, and vehicles have the supplies you might need. The Georgia Farm Bureau team hopes you have a very safe winter!