Preparing for the winter season ahead

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If the early November snowfall is any indication of the season ahead, we’re in for a long and snowy winter. If you live in North Idaho, you may not be able to avoid the winter weather, but you can prepare for it.

In general, being prepared means having enough food, water and other supplies in your home to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is essential in the event of an emergency. During a winter storm, you may need to be able to take care of yourself and your family for a few days in case emergency responders can’t get to you, or if the power is out for an extended period of time. Now is the time to collect the basic items your household may need before severe weather hits.

Home emergency kits should include:

Water (a gallon per person, per day for drinking and sanitation)

Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)

Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

Flashlight

First aid kit

Extra batteries

Whistle to signal for help

Moist towelettes and garbage bags

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Manual can opener

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

Don’t forget any supplies for your pets! It’s also wise to ensure you have access to all prescription medicines and important personal documents. Warm clothes and blankets also are crucial for all winter weather events.

The same items can be scaled down and kept in your car at all times, in case you find yourself stranded on the road. Other items to keep in your car include jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, ice scraper, car cell phone charger and cat litter or sand for tire traction.

Even if you are not able to go out and buy all these items today, make a plan to create a kit over time. Many of these things may already be around your house and just need to be gathered and stored in a designated space for the whole family to access.

If you feel fully prepared, it’s a good idea to check up on your neighbor and ensure they have essential supplies, including your phone number, in case of a winter storm or event.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the weather, but we can make the best of winter conditions by planning ahead. If you would like to learn more about local preparedness resources, visit http://panhandlehealthdistrict.org/disaster-preparedness.

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