Blizzard Safety Hacks

A city street covered in snow.

Are you really ready for the worst of what winter can do? In recent years, big blizzards have been striking more frequently. A blizzard can cause harm to your home, your family, and even your pets. Know what to do before, during, and after a blizzard, and stay safe when winter is doing its worst.

Prepping for a Blizzard

Weather technology is advanced enough to provide warning when a blizzard is going to strike. Take those warnings seriously and prepare ahead of time.

Cover Your Windshield

Put an old blanket over the windshield of your car before the snow starts to fall. This way, you won't have to fight several layers of ice and snow before you can use your vehicle again.

Stock Up on Food and Water

Make sure you have plenty of food and bottled water in the house. Get cereal and other dry goods and foods that don’t have to be heated in any special way to eat. Your stove and microwave may stop working in a power outage, so look for foods that are ready to eat.

Insulate Your Pipes

A burst copper pipe with ice on it.

In times of extreme cold, the water in your pipes can actually freeze. Frozen pipes become burst pipes, and then you have a huge plumbing problem on your hands. Prepare for the oncoming storm by wrapping your pipes with foam. Look for exposed pipes in your basement and attic and wrap them securely. This will protect pipes from cold and dangerous freezing.

Charge Your Devices

Your power may go out during a blizzard, and you want to prepare for that in advance. Make sure all of your devices and phones are fully charged so you can still use them if the power goes out.

Winter-Proof the House

Close doors to any rooms you won't be using during the blizzard to conserve heat in the rest of the house. Take towels and place them under doors to prevent your heat from leaking out of the house.

Bring Pets Indoors

Get your pets inside and make sure they have several days worth of food and water in case they need to stay in the house for a long time.

Surviving the Blizzard

Your house is prepped for the blizzard, so now you need to focus on something even more important: staying warm.

Dress for Cold

Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing when the severe weather hits. Multiple layers will help hold in your natural body heat, and the loose fit will keep your circulation working optimally.

Eat and Drink

Avoid caffeine and alcohol during a blizzard. Both can accelerate the negative effects of cold temperatures on the body. In addition, alcohol slows your circulation and makes you more susceptible to cold temperatures. Both types of beverages also cause dehydration, which lowers your body's natural defenses against the cold. Make sure you're drinking fluids and eating regularly to give your body plenty of energy while you wait out the storm. Have a snack every two to three hours and keep a bottle of water handy so you can sip regularly.

Backup Heat

Sitting in front of a fireplace with socks and candles.

If you have a backup heat source like a fireplace or a generator, use it! It’s important to make sure you’re using your heat alternative safely. Heat sources must be well-ventilated to prevent dangerous smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you’re using a generator or gas heater inside your home, you should also have a carbon monoxide tester that you are using regularly. Carbon monoxide can kill, so don’t fail to test.

Stay Warm

If you don’t have a backup heat source, you need to find another way to stay warm during a blizzard. Have a supply of thick blankets and hot water bottles handy. Wrap up with the blankets and put filled hot water bottles next to your body to stay warm.

After the Storm Clears

Once the snow stops falling and you’re ready to get back to normal, you’ll have to deal with some of the damage caused by the blizzard. Take care of a few tasks, and you’ll be back to normal again soon.

DIY a Snowmelt

Driveway frozen? Don't toss down a bunch of salt that's going to make your car filthy. Mix ordinary dishwashing detergent and alcohol with lukewarm water to make your own snowmelt. Pour liberal amounts on the driveway so the snow will melt away.

Treat Your Shovel

Someone using a show shovel.

Before you shovel snow off your porch or sidewalk, spray nonstick cooking spray all over the scoop. The shovel will slide into the snow easily, and the snow will come off the scoop more quickly, too.

Check on Elderly Neighborhoods and Family Members

Call the older people in your life to make sure they've weathered the storm well. Find out if they still have electricity, water, and heat.

Use these blizzard safety hacks to survive winter’s worst weather and protect your home and family from the devastating effects of cold. Hack your way through winter, and stay much safer through any storm.