snowstormMassachusetts, along with the rest of New England is no stranger to large amounts of snow and nasty weather that comes along with a snowstorm or Nor’easter. Most New Englanders, whether old or young have experienced the sometimes crippling weather that is infamous in the area. From the Blizzard of ’78 to the storm in 1996 to last winter’s large snowfall, many current generations have witnessed at least one.

Regardless of how much experience you have with the weather in Massachusetts, it is always important to be fully prepared when a winter storm is headed this way. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain. Regardless of the severity of a snowstorm, you should always be prepared in order to remain safe during the snowy weather. The following are ways to prepare for a winter storm:

  • Keep a full tank of gas in your car to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep heating equipment and chimneys clean throughout the year and have them inspected so they are safe to use during the winter months.
  • Set the heat in your home to now lower than 55 degrees if you go away for an extended period of time.
  • Keep a home safety kit available. The kit should include: a three day supply of food and water, a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, medications, cell phones with chargers, copies of personal documents, emergency contact information, pet and baby supplies (if necessary), tools, rock salt, alternate heating methods, and warm hats, coats, gloves, and blankets.
  • Running water, even a slow trickle, can help prevent water pipes from freezing.
  • Bring all pets in from outside.
  • Keep the thermostat at the same temperate both day and night.
  • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
  • Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

The American Red Cross suggests the following to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while keeping your home warm in cold weather:

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

The snow can certainly be enjoyable when the right safety precautions are taken. Keeping the above tips in mind will help to keep you and your family prepared and safe during a snowstorm.