Winter Weather Preparedness Tips

When winter weather rolls around, everyone knows it's time to stock up on the basics in case the plows and rock salt fail to keep streets clear. Next time you go out to load up on bottled water and batteries, though, double-check with your elderly neighbors and loved ones to make sure that they have everything they need to face the winter's storms as well.

It's no secret that it can be more difficult for the elderly to get out and about, especially if they've given up driving. Not only that, but our older family members and friends are more susceptible to environmental and health concerns, and if they're unable to go out and get supplies for themselves, they could be unprepared to face inclement winter weather. If you have elderly neighbors, check in on them at the first sign or warning of bad weather and make sure they're prepared.

Winter Weather Preparedness Checklist:

- Drinking water. Enough for three days; one gallon per person per day, minimum.
- Food. Choose non-perishable, easy-to-prepare foodstuffs, and have three days' worth.
- Medications and first aid. Make sure that all prescriptions are filled ahead of time, and also keep on hand basic OTC medications that might come in handy, such as Tylenol, Advil, Pepto-Bismol or Benadryl. Don't forget to include a fully-stocked first-aid kit as well! Better safe than sorry.
- Batteries. Make sure you have plenty of extra batteries in every size you need.
- Radio. A battery-run or hand-cranked radio can keep you updated on weather conditions when the power goes out.
- Flashlights. Keep plenty of these around in case the electricity dies.
- Hygiene and sanitation items. Remember to account for the possibility of pipes freezing.
- Chargers for cell phones. Conserve battery in case of emergency!
- Copies of personal documentathon. You never know what you may need, and when. It's always a good idea to keep a copy of important personal documents-birth certificates, deeds, insurance policies, and lists of medication/medical information-in a safe and waterproof place.
- Extra cash. It's always a good idea to take a little cash out of the bank before a weather emergency in case you need it.
- List of emergency contacts and family members. Write down all important names and numbers for easy reference.
- Alternate sources of heat. A fireplace or a wood- or coal-burning stove can be a lifesaver in winter weather; make sure you have plenty of whatever fuel your alternative source of heat requires.
- Any special needs items. If there's anything needed by any member of your household on a daily basis that isn't listed here-don't forget about it!
- Warm blankets and clothes. Sometimes alternative sources of heat aren't an option; bundle up with plenty of layers, opting for warm, loose-fitting clothes. Make sure every member of your household also has boots, hats, gloves, and other winter outerwear.
- Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter. These can all be used post-storm to make walkways and steps less slippery.

Remember-it's always better to err on the side of caution and over-prepare for an emergency that never occurs than to be underprepared when a winter storm hits. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather and other natural disasters, visit the American Red Cross website at http://www.RedCross.org.

Tom Najjar
CarePlus Home Health, Inc
http://www.careplusinc.com
301-740-8870

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