Winter Emergency Preparedness | Heating and Air Conditioning
Although it’s too soon to tell the specifics, according to long range forecasters’ conditions are setting up for a repeat of last winter with one notable change. The presence of a weak El Nino could set up heavier snowfall in some areas by strengthening the Gulf Stream. Before winter arrives, schedule a tune-up of your heating and air conditioning system. In the following, tips for winter emergency preparedness are discussed, both at home when a power outage leaves you without the use of your heating and air conditioning system, and on the road.
During extreme cold, power failures and icy road conditions can occur. The southern states aren’t used to extreme winters, and last winter caught many people off guard, both in their homes without the use of their heating and air conditioning system, and stranded in their automobiles on highways for days. It’s better to prepare and not need it, than to be caught in the cold.
Exposure to cold can lead to life threatening hypothermia and other life threatening conditions when a power outage leaves you without the use of your home’s heating and air conditioning system. While anyone is susceptible, infants and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Begin to prepare now by stocking up.
Home Emergency Supplies:
- During extreme cold first on the list is back-up heat.
- When power outages occur your home’s heating and air conditioning system won’t operate. If you have a fireplace or wood stove you will need an adequate supply of dry firewood and kindling. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned now to ensure adequate draft, and prevent fires.
- Other forms of heat: Remember, heaters burning fossil fuels without ventilation can expose your family to deadly carbon monoxide. Be prepared to crack a window, and have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in the room to warn when levels rise.
- An electric space heater with automatic shut-off and non-glowing elements can be useful in temperatures too cold for your homes heating and air conditioning system to operate properly.
- Have extra blankets.
- First aid kit
- Flashlights or other battery-powered lights and ample batteries or a car charger.
- Multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher
- Non-electric can opener
- Snow shovel
- Rock Salt
- Individual Necessities: diapers, extra baby formula, medication, extra oxygen
- Non-perishable foods requiring no refrigeration or cooking. Examples are bread, crackers, and canned foods. Keep extra baby food and formula on hand.
- Extra food for pets.
- Bottled water or water stored in clean containers. Reserve at least 5 gallons per person in the event pipes freeze and/or burst. Store extra for flushing toilets, it doesn’t have to be clean, but should be labeled to distinguish it from drinking water.
- Insulate pipes.
- Don’t use barbeque grill or camp style heaters, lanterns or stoves indoors, deadly carbon monoxide can quickly fill the home. Emergency Car Kit
Winter travel can be rough on the car, and when travelers become stranded on the road in winter weather, being prepared can be the difference between life and death.
Prepare Your Car
- Check the tires and ensure chains will fit before winter arrives. Keep a check on air pressure during the cold season.
- Take your car in for a check-up before winter arrives. You don’t want to wait until a storm is imminent to ensure your battery has enough cold cranking amps. A check-up will ensure that belts, hoses, radiator, brakes, wipers, heater/defroster and lights are in good condition.
- Keep the fuel tank full. During the winter storms of 2013 thousands of motorists were stranded on icy roads for days before help arrived when a winter system moved in early. When fuel ran out, they were left without heat. Remember to crack a window to allow fresh air in, and potentially deadly carbon monoxide out if you are caught in this situation.
Keep in the Car
- A winter survival kit in each vehicle containing: flashlight, blanket (one for each person), snacks, water, gloves, hat, boots, first-aid kit.
- Most medications can’t be stored in freezing temperature. Carry enough in your purse or in a pocket for a week. Even if you are rescued, it may be some time before you can go home.
- Toilet Tissue and a warm coat as you are likely to have to walk some distance. Have shoes suitable for walking in snow and ice in the car and extra socks.
- Cell phone charger
- Emergency foil backed blankets which are easily stored in a glove box and/or blankets.
- A bottle warmer for the cigarette lighter, which can double up to heat water for instant coffee, hot cocoa and instant dried soups.
Prepare an emergency pack. When snow or winter storms are possible place it in the car. It should contain a minimum of:
- Baby formula, a large package of diapers and baby wipes.
- Baby food and a spoon. The packaged kind will not risk glass shards if frozen.
- Bottled water.
- Instant dehydrated soups, instant coffee or tea. Non-perishable foods that don’t require heating.
We hope you found this guide to winter emergency preparedness useful. Give Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning a call to schedule a fall inspection and tune-up of your heating and air conditioning system. Our certified HVAC technicians will ensure your HVAC is prepared for winter. In addition, our experienced technicians provide reliable HVAC repair, and installation for your home’s heating and air conditioning. For service you can rely upon, call Cypress Heating and Air Conditioning.