Just in Case: Preparing for Winter Weather Emergencies
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Upstate South Carolina’s location between the coast and the mountains ensures we often deal with far less in the way of winter weather than our northern neighbors. Unfortunately, in the past few years we’ve seen ice storms shut down roads, close down schools and businesses, and in late January 2014 a serious weather event brought Atlanta, Georgia to a virtual standstill, with authorities and citizens caught totally unprepared.

The kind of severe winter weather that causes serious emergencies tends to hit us in late January to mid-February, just as many have begun to believe the risk of winter storms is already over. What can you do to stay safe in case a serious storm hits us here? We have a few tips on how to prepare an emergency kit for your home and vehicles.

Pack Your Car

Weather-induced emergencies can happen anywhere — on the highway, interstate, or even on backroads. That’s what happened to Atlanta’s drivers in 2014. While a repeat of that catastrophe is unlikely, a similar predicament could arise as a result of your car breaking down in the cold.

Here’s what to keep inside your car:

  • Heat-reflective emergency blanket for everyone in the car
  • Windshield scraper and small broom (It’s easiest to buy one of those scrapers that already have a broom attached.)
  • One flashlight for every person in the car (Pack plenty of extra batteries, too.)
  • Battery-powered radio (with extra batteries, of course)
  • Potable water (We recommend enough for two days.)
  • Protein-rich snack foods that don’t require preparation (energy bars, trail mix, crackers, etc.)
  • An extra hat, socks, and mittens
  • First aid kit with a pocket knife
  • Any necessary medications
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares and reflectors
  • Fluorescent flag and distress whistle, to attract attention
  • Portable cell phone charger (something like this combination lantern and USB charger)

Luckily, you don’t have to seek out each and every individual item yourself. Many local hardware stores will have emergency preparedness kits available. Some of these options are also available at the American Red Cross.

Ready Your Home

In the event of prolonged power loss, your house could become very cold, very quickly and pose a risk to your family’s health. We suggest choosing a specific cabinet, drawer, or storage location where you keep all of your emergency preparedness items. That way, you can easily locate everything, even if the lights are out. Make sure all family members are aware of this location.

Here are the items you’ll want to have:

  • Cell phone and portable charger like the one mentioned above
  • Battery-powered radio (with extra batteries) so that you can listen to the news and gain updates without using up your electronics charges
  • Extra blankets or sleeping bags, including heat-reflective options if you have very young children or elderly residents. Do not turn on the stove for warmth — this is very dangerous.
  • Safe drinking water (If your pipes burst, you’ll need this water on hand.)
  • Non-electric can opener and canned or no-cook food (dried fruits, bread, crackers, peanut butter)
  • If you have a baby in the house, baby food and formula for several days
  • Prescription drugs or other medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Rock salt to melt ice and snow on walkways (If you can’t get rock salt, cat litter can provide traction to make them safer.)
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
  • Shovel

Living in the South may protect us from the worst kinds of winter weather, but it’s worth it to be prepared just in case. Here at Five Star Construction, want your family to stay safe and sound in a solid home built by experienced builders.

If you’re looking to build your custom home here in Simpsonville, SC or the surrounding areas, give us a call! We work with you from those first ideas all the way through move-in day and beyond. You can reach us by phone at (864) 303-9143 or contact us online today!

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