Yes, Winter is Still Here Image credit to Yahoo News

By Cheryl Landsman, Customer Service Manager

On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil, the infamous Pennsylvania groundhog, saw his shadow, which means spring is coming early this year. On February second, we had hope for an early spring.

On February 8th, New England got slammed by a blizzard called Nemo. Some parts of New England woke up to 3 and 4 feet of snow and sadly some of the people that were hit still had no power from Hurricane Sandy.

Since then, the Midwest has been hit by a record-breaking blizzard shutting down schools, businesses, and public transportation. And here in Northeastern Colorado we had been forecasted to receive a foot of snow along with 50 mile an hour winds. We were lucky and the blizzard missed us completely. But that got me to thinking. What should we have on hand and how can we better prepare for emergencies?

I’m sure we all think about water and food. Try to have enough food and water on hand for a week of being stuck indoors with possibly no electricity. Remember to switch out your water every 6-8 months and to watch expiration dates on canned and dry food.

But what else should we do? Make sure you have enough blankets, warm clothing, socks, hats and gloves. And be sure to set aside any special items for small children, pets or the elderly you care for. Do you have enough batteries for flashlights or radios? Another vital product to have is an emergency crank up radios that will work without electricity.

Are you phones and electronic devices charged? Even if they are charged now, can they hold the charge for 3-4 days? You might consider having a solar power strip on hand.

Do you know where emergency numbers are kept? What about banking information, medical records, insurance policies, birth certificates and passports? Make sure you know where they are and also ensure they are in a place where they can be protected from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes. Consider a heavy duty safe or a safe deposit box.

Have a special toolbox ready for emergencies with basic screwdrivers, work gloves, even duct tape – that all purpose tool.

Do you have an emergency plan for your pets? Pets are family too.

Also, make sure your cars are filled with gas and have been recently serviced.

Do you know how to shut off the main water and gas lines? You certainly don’t want faucets (inside or outside) freezing if the heat is off during subzero weather.

There are probably items I’ve missed on this list, but just try to be aware and think ahead. We can’t always think of everything but the better prepared we are, the safer and calmer we’ll be during emergencies.