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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Tuscaloosa Winter Emergency Kit

1/2/2017 (Permalink)

Here in Tuscaloosa, we do not get dangerous snow storms like the Northeast experiences quite often. I think the last “major” ice/snow storm we had in Tuscaloosa was January 2014. Tuscaloosa was put under a state of emergency in attempt to get people safe in their homes and off roads before the freeze.

Many people were stuck in their offices, cars, and even their own homes without power for several hours until we could get help from surrounding cities in clearing roads. Drives that normally took 15 minutes were taking 4 hours with all the unsafe travel conditions and everyone trying to get safely home at one time. Can you safely say that you have an emergency kit in your car, office, or home in case you lost power in a winter storm?

In an emergency situation, you should have an emergency kit prepared to last you at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Depending on the nature of the disaster road conditions may prevent help from arriving in a timely manner. 

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and landlines may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Be sure to use your cell phone sparingly in case you need to call for help. Investing in a solar powered recharging battery may be beneficial as well.  Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages. If the power goes out keep your pipes from freezing by shutting off the valve that allows water to come into your home. Then, open any drain valves and all faucets and let them run until the pipes are empty (it's helpful to identify these valves in advance). Next, flush all toilets and pour denatured alcohol into toilets and sinks to prevent water in the traps from freezing. Do NOT use automotive antifreeze in case there's trouble with your water system; you don't want the antifreeze to contaminate your drinking water. You may, however, use nontoxic antifreeze that's made for winterizing motor homes.

Keep your kit in your car, or a central location in your home/office.

The following is a list of items that are suggested to keep on hand:

  1. Flashlights for each family member

  2. Battery-operated radio and clock

  3. Extra batteries

  4. Containers of bottled water

  5. Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated food, powdered milk, baby supplies for infants

  6. Non-electric can opener

  7. List of important phone numbers

  8. First-aid kit 

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