3 Key Ways of Protecting Yourself From Winter Storms and Emergencies  

Written by Ifeanyi Paschal

You are more likely to overcome environmental and public health challenges if you are prepared for them before they rear their ugly heads—including, winter storms and emergencies. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter starts in December and ends in March. On the other hand, winter sets in between June and September in the Southern Hemisphere. Winter storms can cause extreme cold, freezing rain, high winds, and snowfalls. Furthermore, it results in power failure, icy roads, and loss of communication services. Staying warm can be challenging during winter months, and the season comes with emergencies. As a result, winter storms lead to economic losses and kill people as well. For instance, in December 2022, the death toll from a winter blizzard left much of the United States in a deep-freeze temperature, killing at least 50 people in western New York.

According to AccuWeather, winter storms in 2019 cost the United States over $8 billion in lost revenue, taxes, wages, etc. From the United States to Brazil, England to Lesotho, there are Black communities, and they aren’t immune to the adverse effects of winter storms. As a Black, elderly, or both, irrespective of your social status, you can’t control storms and emergencies. Nevertheless, you can control how they impact your life, your loved ones, and your business.

Owing to socioeconomic factors, the Black community is disproportionately affected compared to other groups in responding to these emergencies. We strongly advise you to take proactive measures and plan ahead before any emergency arises. Therefore, this how-to guide is for you because it details the precautions for mitigating the effects of storms and emergencies.    

3 Key Ways of Preparing for Winter Storms and Emergencies

To stay miles ahead of such storms and emergencies, you should focus on these areas below:

1. Plan a Winter-Ready Home

Weatherproof and plan to be warm at home by doing the following:

  • Listen to the weather forecast to keep abreast of weather developments around you.
  • Stay warm indoors to avert frostbite and hyperthermia.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so the winter temperatures don’t freeze your water supply.
  • Home fires are always common during the cold months as people try to stay warm. So, keep this at the back of your mind.  
  • Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • If you notice any leaks, repair them, and cut down tree branches that could fall on your house during storms or gales.
  • To prevent cold, ensure you insulate, caulk, and weather-strip your doors and windows. Insulate walls and attic.
  • Have an indoor thermometer or thermostat for monitoring your home temperature.
  • Stock up your food pantry (with nonperishables like canned foods and have a manual can opener), and get water and medicine before winter storms strike. The reason is that stores might be closed when storms start, or it could be unsafe for you to move around. You should also refuel your heating fuel.  
  • As a senior at home during winter storms, make plans to visit loved ones before that time to avoid triggering loneliness and depression. You can also hire a live-in caregiver or have your elderly loved ones or a neighbor move in with you to ensure they are safe. Doing this will also eliminates loneliness and depression.

2. Planning a Safe Workplace

After governments imposed a countrywide lockdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, people depended on governments’ handouts to keep body and soul together. Conversely, governments are unlikely to share any supplies during storms, meaning you must go to work and eke out a living those cold months. Therefore, you should prepare for those days by doing the following:

  • Have a To-Go Bag – a bag that contains toiletries, extra pair of clothes, a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, and nonperishables like bottled water, granola bars, dried fruits and nuts, etc. You can also use this for emergency-ready home planning.
  • Alternatively, have a winter emergency kit in place. With $40, you can buy this; it is also available in online stores and downtown brick-and-mortar stores.  
  • You should have extra prescription medicine and first-aid supplies.  
  • Keep your smartphone and its charger handy; ensure you have a power bank. The price of power banks depends on their capacity. You can get good power banks for as low as $50. This way, you can recharge your smartphone before it dies.   
  • If you are a business owner, provide safety equipment, such as a space heater, a standby portable generator (if permittable), and a fire extinguisher. The standby generator serves as your power outage backup plan.
  • If you have insurance for your business, don’t forget to update the inventory record (where applicable).
  • Ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good condition.
  • If you have workers, keep them informed. Plus, your employees should have access to an emergency supply kit at work that can last for 72 hours or more.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers on a speed dial.  
  • Nowadays, many companies have safety officers. You can contact them (or the appropriate personnel) ahead of time when there are clear signs of storms or storm predictions from weather forecast. This way, everyone can work from home.  

3. Protecting Your Car

Now that you are safe at home and workplace, you must take specific steps to winterize your car because storms can damage its windows, metal, and paint. So, leaving your car unprotected isn’t a brilliant idea. To be safe before winter emergencies, try these tips:

  • Use a hail car cover or blanket to protect your car. There are multilayer covers for $65 and hail protective systems for cars for $429. Whichever you go for depends on your budget, and they are readily available everywhere.
  • Consider building a carport if you don’t have one now. While the cost of building carports varies significantly, you can go for affordable carports of between $200 and $250.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance plan for your car.
  • If you don’t want to hail-roof your car, consider paying for a nearby parking garage or covered lot. They charge between $5 to $20. And if we are being honest here, paying that paltry fee saves you a lot of headaches.
  • Before that storm hits, check things like antifreeze levels, battery, ignition system, exhaust system, and lights and oil, etc.

It is critical to understand that some areas are more prone to storms than others. So, assess the winter threats of your area. Find out about the history of winter storms in your neighborhood, and listen to the weatherman to help you track weather updates and alerts. Don’t procrastinate!! Start now to implement these precautions before it is too late. If you do this, you will reduce the effect of winter storms on your life and be glad you did!

For further reading:


https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparehome.html#:~:text=Listen%20to%20weather%20forecasts%20regularly,days%20of%20notice%20to%20prepare https://frontiermgmt.com/blog/5-ways-to-help-seniors-get-ready-for-winter/

About the author

Ifeanyi Paschal

Ifeanyi Paschal is an experienced researcher and versatile writer. With nearly a decade of experience in the writing industry, Paschal has coordinated and participated in several research studies and written for companies in a wide spectrum of industries, including health and wellness, tech, HRM, and business development.

As a writer with Elevate Black Health, Paschal goes the extra mile to do extensive research and craft health and wellness articles that help the global Black community deepen its understanding of relevant health challenges, find effective solutions to them, and maximize healthy living.

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