Winter Emergency Preparedness It’s More Than French Toast

Have you ever noticed that when we get a winter storm warning in New Jersey, everyone runs out and buys eggs, milk, and bread? I once heard a local radio personality muse that people must make a lot of French toast when we have a blizzard.

While the comment was tongue-in-cheek, most of us understand stocking up on staples when a storm is coming, and eggs, bread, and milk are often considered staples. However, in the event of a true weather emergency, they would be of little utility in helping weather a storm. Instead, disaster preparedness experts suggest that people have a disaster preparedness kit prepared if winter weather becomes more than an inconvenience.

At First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, our maintenance and repair programs help our customers prevent and avoid many winter heat emergencies, but we cannot prevent winter storms. So, we have prepared a short disaster checklist to help our New Jersey customers make it through our winter weather:

  1. Prepare for power outages. Winter storms often mean interruptions in service. Do you have flashlights, electric radios, extra batteries, and auxiliary chargers for cell phones? Remember that when the power is down, you probably will not be able to access Wi-Fi; do you have an old-fashioned way to get news and updates, like a weather radio?
  2. Make sure you have plenty of drinking water. If water service is interrupted, it can take days to restore service, and weather conditions can keep you from going to buy drinking water. The guideline is to keep three gallons of drinking water, per person, stored in the household. Don’t forget extra water for pets!
  3. Make sure you have a three-day supply of food per person. The food should be ready-to-eat (think peanut butter and crackers) and not require heating or other preparation, in case you lose power. You also need a way to get into the food; an electric can opener is useless without power.
  4. Can you keep it clean? If the power is out, depending on how your water is heated, you may not be able to access warm water for showers or baths. Keep a supply of baby wipes or handy wipes available to help handle hygiene.
  5. Keep warm. If you experience a power outage as part of a winter storm, it could be days before heat is restored. See our blog How to Stay Warm When the Heat Goes Out for tips on how to keep you and your home warm.
  6. Keep your gas tank at least half full during the winter months and fill up when there is a winter storm warning. Power disruptions can mean gas stations are unable to dispense fully. Keeping your tank at least half full means you will have gas if, for any reason, you have to drive.
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