Little Rock, AR -- With a forecast threatening more freezing rain for areas of Arkansas, and with two months of winter left to go, it's a good idea to prepare both your home and family for whatever may arise.
The following winter storm home-preparation suggestions may be helpful:
- Make sure flashlights and battery-powered radios are working, and keep extra batteries, candles and matches on hand.
- Unplug sensitive appliances such as the TV, VCR, computer and microwave. If the power goes off, turn off all major electrical appliances.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If you lose power, frozen food will generally keep for 48 hours. Discard perishable food that has been at 40 degrees for more than two hours. Odor or appearance is not an indicator that food is safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
- If you use an emergency-heating source such as a wood stove, kerosene heater or fireplace, keep fuels away from the flames and ventilate properly. Never leave a fire unattended.
- If it seems likely that your home will be without heat for several days, drain your water pipes.
- If you use a generator, read all the instructions that accompany it and be aware of the hazards that come with misuse. Use a qualified electrician to connect a generator to the house wiring. Never run a gasoline-powered generator in the house-the fumes are deadly.
Since there is no way to prevent nature's winter storms, being prepared in your best defense:
- Create a family disaster plan and practice it regularly.
- Learn and teach others in your family how to turn off electricity, gas and water.
- Store extra blankets and warm clothes where you can find them easily. Layer winter clothing to trap body heat.
- Keep emergency telephone numbers with you.
- Have a first aid kit on hand.
- Stock up on drinking water and canned or dried foods. Be sure to include a non-electric can opener with your supplies.
- Have at least a week's supply of prescription medications on hand.
- Fill your car with gasoline.
- Have cash available.
Even when the winter storm is over, keep a disaster supply kit assembled and replace food, water and other time-sensitive items twice a year. Remember to replenish your kits when the clocks are reset in spring and fall.