Rachel Cooper
winter storm

Is your apartment prepared for a winter storm? It's a good idea to stock up on food, water and emergency supplies ahead of an extreme weather event. You should also be prepared for a power outage and the possibility of three days without heat, light, hot water or even running water.

You'll need supplies to keep warm and food that doesn't require cooking. Here's a list of essential items to keep you comfortable during a winter storm.

1. Blankets and warm clothing

If the power goes out, you'll need extra blankets and layers of clothing to stay warm, and you'll need easy access in case you need to find them in the dark. Plan ahead and pull out those items in advance of the storm and put them in your main living area.

Remember that your body loses a significant portion of its heat through your head, so keep yourself warm with a wool or fleece hat. A warm winter coat, thermal underwear, gloves and warm socks are other essential items to keep you warm.


2. Drinking water

It's important to stay hydrated during severe winter storms. Your emergency preparedness kit should include at least two liters of water per person, per day. Keep at least a three-day supply on hand.

3. Canned and no-cook food

Stock up on low-sodium canned beans and soups, peanut butter (or other nut or seed butters), pasta sauce, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines, dried fruits and nuts, trail mix, and nutrition bars, boxed cereal and whole-grain crackers, and canned fruits and vegetables. Keep a non-electric can opener close by in your kitchen, too.

Stock your freezer with an extra loaf of bread and frozen fruits and vegetables. A battery-powered hot pot can come in handy to heat up soup or warm drinks.

4. Chargers, radio and batteries

In the event of a power outage, don't overuse your cell phone or you may lose your only means of communication. In advance of the storm, charge your portable chargers. Keep a battery-powered radio nearby to listen to weather reports and updates.

5. Flashlights, lamps and extra batteries

While you may use your cell phone as a flashlight, it's a good idea to save your battery for communicating and use a regular flashlight or a battery-powered lamp for light.

Keep extra batteries on hand and check to make sure that they work before the storm hits. To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.

6. Alternative cooking tools and a carbon monoxide detector

NEVER use charcoal or gas barbecues, a gas camp stove or home generator indoors. They give off carbon monoxide.

Because you can't smell or see it, carbon monoxide can threaten your life. If your carbon monoxide detector is hard-wired to the electrical supply, make sure that it has a battery-powered back-up.

7. Portable space heater

If you have power and need some extra warmth, use an electric space heater with an automatic shut-off switch. Stay safe and never place the heater on top of furniture or close to curtains or drapes.

8. Medicine and first-aid kit

Be sure to have an ample supply of prescription and over-the-counter medicines that you may need during a storm.

You can buy a fully stocked first-aid kit or put together one of your own. The American Red Cross recommends a lengthy list of items to be included to ensure you're covered in any situation. Be sure to check the kit before the storm and replace any used or expired items.

9. Snow shovel

While snow removal is usually the responsibility of your apartment management, if you're in a hurry to get out of the building after the storm, you may want to dig your own way out. A snow shovel may also be handy to clear away excess snow or ice around your car in the parking lot or on the street.

You may also want to put down some rock-salt to melt ice on the walkways or some cat litter to provide better traction.



About The Author

Rachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. She has written for About.com, Washingtonian, Federal City Council, Montgomery Parks, Destination Maryland, Conde Nast Traveler, Payscale, Valpak, Grandparents.com, Washington Parent and more. Her books include Quiet Water: Mid-Atlantic, AMC’s Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Best Ponds, Lakes and Easy Rivers; 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C. and Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington, D.C.