Get Ready for Winter

As the seasons change it’s time to get ready for one of the harsher seasons. Winter can present challenges the other seasons don’t seem to present. Snow, Ice and cold make some people cringe at the prospects and for others it marks the time of year for holiday joy and fun in nature.

Fall season marks the time of year to develop preparations for the winter season. Fall is harvest time and a good opportunity to stock up on essentials of food. Many retailers offer case lot sales and the local produce stands offer local bounties for its customers. There are ample supplies this time of year. Our current situation with supply chain disruptions make it imperative that we develop stockpiles of food and other essential commodities for future use. It’s always good to remember that we should maintain a 2 week supply of essentials including food and other supplies as a bare minimum, with a good target of 3 months or longer as the ultimate goal. Storage seems to be a topic that some seem to feel is a reason for not stock piling. All of this preparation should include your pets. Fall is a nice time to build or install shelving for a pantry to increase capacities.

Water is our life blood and fall is the time of year for us to make sure water systems are protected from the cold of winter. Make sure that water lines that are abandoned from the summer season are drained and don’t leak to keep from having undo repairs and expenditures. Exterior faucets should be inspected to make sure they are functioning properly to avoid freezing. Crawl space vents should be closed to avoid drafts of cold air to help protect pipes. Also this allows ground source heat to rise and lower heat costs.

Consider heat sources! Low efficiency heat sources should be remedied when feasibly possible. Alternative heat sources are always a good practice, (the old saying, one is none and two is one) is a good rule of thumb for preparedness sake. Ensure the heating sources you utilize are functioning properly and have been inspected for efficiency and safety. Now is an opportune time to learn a skill set for energy management including staying warm and preparing food in the event your normal energy source has disruptions, like when the cold snap hit the southern plains states last year with power outages and a lack of preparedness disrupted many lives and the senseless tragedies that accompanied it. Include additional fuel if you have the capacity to do so. Utilities are very convenient but always understand that they can be disrupted by natural and manmade events so build contingency plans in case they fail for some reason. As mentioned before build skill sets to overcome adversity. Help may be hampered and you’ll need to fend for yourself for a period of time.

Make sure your entire property is ready for the winter season, don’t wait for the first storm to go buy a shovel or deicer. The way the supply chain is at present you’ll only be gambling they’ll be in stock. Allow room for snow to be moved out of the road. Make provisions for the eventual melt so that melting snow doesn’t flood unwanted areas like ground level window sills or flow into garages and buildings. The old quote of “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure” is by and far cheaper and easier to do.

If you have neighbors get together with them and help those who may struggle getting things accomplished, if you do it now it strengthens the community and avoids situations that demand immediate action later.

Be mindful that as snow begins to accumulate to keep track of how much weight is being loaded on structures, it’s much easier to remove 12 inches of snow than 3 feet. The winter of 2016 and 2017 should be a good reminder of the effects heavy snow loads can offer. Also be on the lookout for Ice Dams that can keep snow from sliding off of roofs and can possibly cause damage to the structure by not allowing water to shed the roof.

Preparing always gives you the advantage, so take time and use those advantages to avoid unpleasant situations. Have a plan in place to address events as they develop, build your stockpiles, work within your community to help those who are unable to help themselves.

As always be safe, have a plan ahead of time and prepare.

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