Winter storms are among the most severe you’ll experience all year. Are your family members, pets and plants prepared to weather the storm? Follow these tips to make sure the people, animals and plants that matter most to you make it through unscathed.
Personal Winter Storm Safety
- Dress in several layers of clothing to help you stay warm if the power goes out.
- Be careful if you decide to light a fire in the fireplace or wood-burning stove for supplementary heat. Make sure the smoke is vented to the outside so dangerous carbon monoxide can’t build up inside your home.
- Tune in to the National Weather Service or listen to a WeatherRadio Canada for the latest conditions.
- When a bad storm is in the forecast, stock up on water bottles, a three-day supply of food and medications. Keep a flashlight, extra batteries and first aid kit handy.
- Avoid traveling on icy roads. However, in case you must leave in an emergency, keep the gas tank in your car at least half full at all times during the winter.
- Run warm water at a trickle on extra cold nights to help prevent pipes from freezing.
- Any appliance that contains a microprocessor, like TVs, computers, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators, are especially vulnerable to power surges caused by winter storms. These tiny digital components are so sensitive that even a 10-volt fluctuation can disrupt proper functioning. Make sure that your appliances and expensive electronic equipment are protected by surge protection devices and proper grounding of your electrical system.
Winter Storm Safety for Pets
- Bring pets and companion animals inside when the temperature dips well below freezing. If you have livestock or your pets can’t come inside for some reason, move the animals to a sheltered, draft-free enclosure where they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
- When a bad storm is in the forecast, stock up on pet food. Also, make sure you have a collar and leash on hand if you need to leave home with your pet in an emergency.
- Dress your pet in a sweater or dog coat to help them retain body heat when you take them outside. This is especially important if you have a small dog or one with short fur.
- Remember, salt and deicing chemicals can irritate your pet’s paws. Wipe off their feet and legs after being outside to remove these chemicals and prevent irritation.
- Antifreeze is toxic to animals. Wipe up spills promptly and store antifreeze containers out of reach. Never let your dog drink from puddles on the street since these could have traces of antifreeze in them.
Winter Storm Safety for Plants
- If a heavy snowstorm occurs while your trees still have their leaves, make an effort to go outside every few hours and shake snow from the branches. Your efforts can help prevent branches from snapping under the weight.
- If a heavy snowstorm occurs in early spring after flowers have started blooming, cover them with a blanket before the snow falls to help protect them.
- Build a shelter to protect any prized plants you can’t bear to lose. Wood planks built in a teepee shape protect tall plants while wood planters covered with hinged glass panels protect low-growing plants.
- Wrap evergreen trees with twine to truss them up before a big snowstorm. This helps prevent the trunks from splitting in severe storms. The twine can remain in place for weeks without harming the tree.
- Set up wind-breaking screens in front of plants that retain their leaves or needles through the winter.
- Don’t rush to dispose of plants that appear to have suffered major damage in a winter storm. Wait and see what spring has in store for your landscape.
For help getting through winter, please contact The Grounds Guys. We offer snow and ice removal services as well as yard cleanup following a storm. Let us know how we can help!