Winter Storm Protection Tips on the Road and in Your Home

Posted in: Personal Insurance

Winter has arrived and for most of the country that means the chance of snow, ice and extreme cold. If The Weather Channel is calling for a blizzard or ice storm in your town, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to help keep you safe and warm. Power outages and blocked roads are common occurrences during an intense winter storm, therefore limit your driving and take the proper precautions to ensure you are prepared.

Preparing for the Storm

  • Prepare a winter weather kit for your car:
    • Extra warm hat, gloves, water resistant insulated jacket and a pair of water-resistant boots
    • A blanket
    • A red handkerchief or similar item that can serve as a distress flag to tie on your vehicle if you are stuck in a storm.
    • Essential medications
    • Windshield scraper and shovel
    • Flashlight
    • Kitty litter, sand or other traction aid devices
  • Prepare a Winter Weather Kit for your home to include (reassess these needs each year):
    • Batteries – Check items such as flashlights and battery-operated radio/TV for the types of batteries needed to ensure you have enough of each.
    • Flashlights – Choose an  LED flashlight that has super bright bulbs that will never need replacing.
    • Flameless candles or glow sticks, which function as a flashlight and an ambient light, and are safe for kids/pets.
    • Battery-operated radio/TV
    • Battery-operated universal phone charger or other mobile device
    • Medications and medical items (an extra supply of prescription medications, extra contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids, etc.)
    • Bottled Water
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Non-electrical can opener
    • Garbage Bags
    • If applicable, baby supplies (diapers, baby formula, bottles, baby food)
    • Extra blankets and/or sleeping bags
  • Make sure to have enough disaster supplies for at least two weeks:
    • Water – one gallon per person per day
    • Non-perishable, easy to prepare food – 3x per day per person
    • Warm clothes and blankets for each person in the household.
  • Ensure you have working snow removal equipment, shovels and rock salt (or sand or cat litter) for walkways and driveways.
  • If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, make sure to store a dry sufficient amount of wood.
    • Before burning, make sure your chimney is safe, clean and in good working order. Learn more at the Chimney Safety Institute of America website.
    • Only burn fires once you’ve tested your smoke/fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher on each level of your home.
  • Bring pets inside or move to sheltered areas with access to food and water.
    • Pet Supplies on hand (leash, collar, ID, pet food, bowls)
    • Wipe paws with a damp cloth after going outside as salt and other chemicals used to melt snow can irritate their paws and mouth if they lick their paws.
    • Keep antifreeze out of reach and wipe up spills as it is a deadly poison.
  • During the storm stay warm inside your home by sticking to one room and layering clothing. Block any air leaks such as under doors and by keeping blinds down on windows.
  • Minimize travel but if you are caught in your vehicle during a winter storm:
    • Turn car on and off to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
    • Keep moving
    • Do not leave your vehicle
    • Make your car visible for rescue

While the weather might be cold and frightful outside, adequate preparation and caution can help keep you and your loved ones warm and safe inside. And for questions regarding your personal risk management or for further advice on winter storm preparedness, please contact me at

If you are a PSA client that has a claim resulting from a winter storm, click here.