It’s been a mild winter so far in many regions of North America, but there are still several weeks in which major winter storms could develop. Don’t let the unusually warm weather of the holiday season make you complacent -- the time to make your winter storm preparations is now.

In a winter storm scenario, nothing is more important than keeping yourself safe, warm and dry. But these storms don’t just endanger people -- they can threaten homes, as well. To make sure your home electrical system is ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring, you may want to take a couple of preemptive measures.

One of the smartest things you can do is trim back any tree branches that are positioned over power lines leading to your home. When winter storms bring lots of snow and ice, that precipitation can accumulate on tree branches, eventually bringing them crashing down. If one of those branches takes out your power lines, you could be left in the dark -- and in the cold, if you have an electric furnace.

You might also consider investing in a high-quality generator. If you do experience a power outage, a generator can make it possible for you to remain in place in relative comfort until full power can be restored. Choosing the right generator for your home can be a complicated matter, however, so you might want to enlist the expertise of a licensed electrician to size up your home and recommend the best models for your needs.

Make a Plan

In addition to taking steps to keep the power flowing safely into your home, there are several other precautions you should take as we delve deeper into winter storm season:

  • Identify nearby emergency shelters and make sure you know how to reach them safely, even when driving conditions are poor.
  • Put together a communications plan for your family so that you can quickly coordinate and check-in if bad winter weather begins unexpectedly.
  • Keep your cell phone and other communications devices charged, and keep your chargers handy. If you don’t already have one, consider keeping a car-style charger in your glove box so that you don’t get stranded on the road with no way to call for help.
  • Make sure you have at least one vehicle that is well maintained and has plenty of gas.
  • Keep tabs on weather forecasts, road closures and emergency instructions using a radio or smartphone during any severe weather event.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you consider yourself fully prepared, you should also be sure to put together an emergency kit. Grocery and hardware stores often sell out of these essentials in the hours leading up to a winter storm, so gather them up early and keep them ready for when the bad weather hits:

  • Enough non-perishable food and bottled water for three days
  • Battery powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Rock salt for de-icing surfaces
  • Snow shovel
  • Warm winter gear
  • Blankets
  • Prescription medications
  • First aid kit
  • Baby and pet supplies
  • Cash

If you take care of these tasks in advance, you’ll be well prepared for winter storms and will have the best chance of remaining warm and comfortable until conditions improve. If you’d like to learn more about your emergency generator options or need help with any other home electrical projects, turn to a licensed electrician without delay.

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