Articles in Indoor Air Quality

Preparing For Winter

By Jerry Jones, CR

Preparing Your Home or Business

Unfortunately the end of hurricane season and hot, humid weather does not mean our needs for contingency planning are over. In fact we will continue to feel the effects this winter in the form of higher heating costs (possibly 40 – 50% higher) and insurance coverage issues. That means it is more important than ever to Plan, Prepare and Protect your home and your family. Prepare your home for winter. Plan for the worst. Protect your family by stocking up on emergency supplies and developing an emergency plan in the event of lengthy power outages. Let’s get started.
  1. Make sure you have adequate insulation under your house and in your attic
  2. Clear roof: Remove fallen limbs, twigs, leaves, moss, etc.
  3. Check roof for missing or damaged shingles or flashing. Repair existing damage
  4. Check chimneys and plumbing vents for blockages, nests, and damaged flashing
  5. Clean and secure gutters and downspouts. Check slope of gutters to be sure water flows to downspouts. Be sure water coming out of downspouts is diverted away from structure
  6. Remove leaves from foundation and be sure landscaping diverts water away from structure
  7. Clear window wells and check seals.
  8. Trim any tree branches or shrubbery touching structure or roof
  9. Check caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doors and replace any broken glass panes
  10. Reset storm windows and storm doors for winter
  11. Look at power lines, telephone lines, cable lines, etc. and call appropriate provider about low hanging lines or tree branches on them
  12. Disconnect garden water hoses and insulate spigots and pipes
  13. Check for any holes or cracks in foundation, siding, or doors that “critters” may use to enter structure for a “winter home” or that could allow weather elements to penetrate structure
  14. Close or cover foundation vents.
  15. Change furnace filters and have unit serviced for winter
  16. Check water heater, flush if needed, install insulation blanket if needed
  17. Have clothes dryer and duct hose checked for lint buildup and be sure flap covering exterior vent is working properly
  18. Be sure to replace backup batteries in smoke alarms, CO2 monitors, etc. and be sure fire extinguishers are fully charged

Preparing for Storm Outages

  1. Flashlights with extra batteries
  2. Portable radios/TV’s with extra batteries
  3. Cell phone with extra batteries
  4. Candles, oil lamps, propane lamps with ample fuel and matches
  5. Cookstove with fuel or charcoal grills and charcoal.
  6. Firewood for wood burning fireplaces or woodstoves
  7. Kerosene or propane heaters with fresh fuel, where applicable
  8. Bottled drinking water
  9. Canned and non-perishable food with hand operated can opener
  10. Disposable eating and drinking utensils, plates, etc
  11. Paper towels, toilet paper, toiletries
  12. Pet food, litter, blankets
  13. Baby supplies, where applicable
  14. Extra blankets, towels, linens
  15. Toys and games for kids
  16. Reading materials
  17. Shovel, rake, broom, mop, bucket
  18. Plastic tarp, heavy duty garbage bags, and tie-down rope
  19. Basic tools kit and duct tape
  20. De-icer salt for sidewalk and driveway
  21. Vehicles fueled and prepared with battery jumper cables, window scraper, de-icer
  22. Stocked first aid kit, minimum 2 week supply of prescription medicines, OTC basic medications
  23. List of emergency telephone numbers
  24. Emergency power generator with fuel, if possible
  25. Battery powered alarm clock

Preparing all Occupants for Emergency Evacuation

  1. Prepare a Disaster Plan and Disaster Survival Kit
  2. Identify two ways to exit each room of structure.
  3. Identify where everyone should meet (1) on-site, outside structure and (2) away from home
  4. Identify person not occupying property to call as contact person
  5. Identify items such as computer, home records, bills, valuables, weapons, collectibles, etc. to remove from structure if possible and assign priority
  6. Photograph and inventory basic and valuable contents in each room for possible future reference.
  7. Identify location to board pets
  8. Have copy of emergency telephone numbers
  9. Secure one week’s emergency cash fund
  10. Take three days clothing for each person
  11. Take prescription medicines and medical supplies
  12. Take at least one toy or game for each child
  13. Divide responsibilities and assign to individuals as a team

Resources on the Web

www.fema.gov/kids – Info for parents, teachers and kids www.fema.gov/library/famplan.shtm – Disaster Plan www.fema.gov/library/diskit.shtm – Family disaster supplies kit. www.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/childmatls.html – Materials for children www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_239_,00.html – General Emergency Plan Preparation