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Blizzard blankets US Northeast; State of Emergency Declared in 5 States

…preparing for the big storm and the costs involved.

(Reuters) A blizzard slammed into the northeastern United States, snarling traffic, disrupting thousands of flights and prompting five governors to declare states of emergency in the face of a fearsome snowstorm.

photo by Barry Solow Here in Florida the chance of a blizzard and getting snowed-in is as likely as a palm tree in Alaska.  But for you guys in states that get snow let’s talk about preparing for a blizzard and the potential to spend / lose your hard earned money.

It was just two winters ago that Washington D.C. got 70 inches of snow, shutting down the government.  …another blizzard could be on its way, you never know.

Preparing your home and car means spending money now, but if a storm materializes and your family spends it safe and warm, you may decide it was well worth it.

The Power is Out.  If you want to have power instantly after the power goes out, you are going to need a fully integrated generator system installed in your house.  This is the most expensive option typically costing between $2000 — $5000.  The least expensive way to go is a portable generator.  When buying a portable generator decide just what you need to power and purchase the correct size.  If you want to run your refrigerator, heater and TV you will need a different size than if all you care about is a lamp, hotplate and a radio.  Don’t forget gas cans, enough to keep your generator running for a few days, and an additive for the fuel like STA-BIL to keep the fuel from going bad during storage.

Crazy Kids.  If you have kids, the first thing you will want to do in an emergency is keep them busy.  Without something to do and the power off, you will have crazy kids bouncing off the walls.  Stock up on batteries that fit all of those PSPs, DSis, LeapFrog, and whatever else they might have. If you don’t already have them, stock up on games that don’t use batteries, yes they still make them, like board games, Jenga, yo-yos, snow boards / tubes, you know, the stuff that doesn’t need electricity.  Your kids will be amazed that such things exist.

Storm Kit.  For any type of storm you should have at least a basic emergency kit prepared.  You should have extra canned food, medication, blankets, flashlights, etc..  A good idea is to put together a “kit” for each family member.  Get a backpack for each member in the family and have some food, a sleeping bag and other “survival” equipment. You might consider getting the kids involved in choosing items for their own pack, a special “emergency” toy, a favorite book or anything that is personal for them.

Clear the Snow.  You are going to have to have a way of clearing the snow if the big blizzard hits.  A snow shovel will work but if you’re not used to strenuous physical labor, you might opt for a snow blower.  The last thing you want to happen is to have a heart attack while you are out shoveling snow.  Don’t laugh; a study at Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Canada reported that 7 percent of people admitted to the hospital during the winter with heart problems started experiencing symptoms while shoveling.

If you have to go out.  If you find yourself in post blizzard conditions, and just have to go somewhere, consider walking if it’s not too far.  Safer to be out in the snowy conditions on foot or in snow shoes than to get into the car and attempt to navigate the icy roads.

Remember to help yourself but also help those in need.

  • Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.
  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

It may cost you a few dollars to complete your emergency storm kit but it will be money well spent when you are secure and comfortable in your home waiting out the storm.

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