BEFORE THE STORM... Make sure you have what you need
- Build an emergency kit
- Have a battery powered radio and extra batteries
- Have enough of your medication for 5 days
- Have some cash on hand
- Stock up on non-perishable food, canned food, and pet food
- Fully charge cellphones and other devices
Prepare your home/vehicle
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Stock up on plenty of water
- Have a flashlight and batteries
- Have extra blankets
- Make sure your car is fully fueled
DURING THE STORM... In case of a power outage
- Unplug your sensitive equipment if you don't have surge protectors
- Report the power outage as soon as possible
- Stay as far away as possible from any downed wires outside
- Never install a generator inside your home
- Stay warm by wearing layers, a hat, gloves, extra socks and bundling up in blankets
AFTER THE STORM... Remain alert
- Call 911 to report downed wired
- Stay away from downed wired and never drive over a power line
- Do not touch anything in contact with a downed wire including trees, fences, or puddles of water
- Check your appliances for damage
- Check your food in fridge and freezer for freshness
Winter can be an unpredictable season in New England that can prove challenging for many.
Learn how to prepare yourself, your home, your car, your pets for the coming cold.
Winterize your home!
There are a few easy steps you can take to make your home safer during the winter months:
- Install weather stripping, insulation, storm windows. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls. Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Have your heating system checked. Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys. Have a safe alternate heating source and/or alternate fuels available.
- Do not use your stove to heat your home. It is not safe!
- Use only electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Make sure they are placed at least 3 feet away from all drapes, furniture, or bedding. Do not use an extension cord and make sure the cord is not a tripping hazard.
- Use fireplace or woodstove only if they are properly vented to the outside. Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Replace batteries twice a year.
- For older adults: keep an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location. The ability to feel a change of temperature changes with age and older adults are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold.
Light your home safely. Power outages are not uncommon during winter storms.
- If there is a power failure, use battery powered or crank flashlights. Have plenty of extra batteries in the house.
- Candles can lead to a house fire. Never leave candles unattended.
Prepare for emergencies.
You probably already have a ready to go bag if you needed to leave in a hurry and/or a bin full of emergency items in your home. If you do not have a go bag, go to our Go Bags and Supply Kits to learn more.
Here are a few additional steps to follow ahead of a winter storm:
- If you know a big storm is coming, pick up your expiring medications early.
- Make sure you have plenty of blankets.
- Stock foods that need no cooking or refrigeration as well as water stored in plastic containers. Have a manual can opener.
- Make sure that cellphone and laptops are fully charged as well as back up chargers.
- Keep an up-to date emergency kit with:
- Working flashlight and extra batteries.
- A battery-operated radio with extra batteries.
- At least 10 days of all your medications.
- Cat litter/sand/ice melt for icy walkways.
PRE-ARRANGE TO HAVE SOMEONE CHECK ON YOU!It is particularly important to have people lined up ahead of time and willing to check on you, especially if you are older and/or an adult living alone with a disability.
Remember that if you rely on a caregiver, they will most probably not be able to reach you before, during, and maybe a few days after a storm. Follow these steps ahead of time:
- Contact Neighbors or Family – Build relationships with neighbors and keep them informed. Get to know them well enough to understand which neighbors are trustworthy and willing to help. Always make sure there is someone close by that can check on you if your caregiver is unable to travel due to weather.
- Call Snow Removal Companies – Become familiar with the plowing schedule, and plan accordingly. If you are in an area that isn’t plowed until later in the day, you’ll need to prepare accordingly. Also, if you have room in your budget try hiring a few people to shovel the driveway/sidewalk. The Brookline Recreation Department has a “Shovel our Snow” program. For more information, call 617-730-2069
- Arrange for Transportation – If your caregiver can’t take you to an appointment, arrange for a relative, friend, or neighbor to help out.
- Check Home for Safety – Reduce the risk of accidents that could happen without a caregiver present. Double check safety screens on fireplaces, light bulbs, and heaters. Ensure heat sources are away from other flammable objects. Fix trip hazards. Make the home as safe as possible.
- Make sure that YOU and YOUR CAREGIVER receive AlertBrookline notifications.
Prepare your vehicle!
Make sure your car is properly winterized!
- Keep the gas tank at least half full throughout the winter.
- Stock your car with emergency supplies. You never know when you’ll get stranded on the side of the road in a blizzard. Some of the items to consider: snow shovel, cat litter, booster cables, flares, tire pumps, battery operated radio and batteries, cellphone charger and extra portable power bank, road maps, items to stay warm (extra coats, hats, gloves, blankets), food and water, flashlight/batteries, first aid kit, plastic bags for sanitation.
- Have a mechanic:
- Check your battery.
- Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid.
- Check your tire threads and tire pressure. Consider getting snow tires.
- Check your four-wheel drive.
- Check your radiator and maintain anti-freeze levels.
- Change the oil.
- Check your belts and hoses. Cold temps can weaken the belts and hoses that help make your engine run.