United States

Snow Prep Emergency Checklist: 15 Things to Do Now

The D.C. area is preparing for a late-season storm that could bring several inches of snow to much of the region.

The D.C. metro area could get 1 to 3 inches of snow Monday night into Tuesday morning, with 6 to 10 inches possible further west and north. Storm Team4 meteorologist Chuck Bell said the snow is expected to begin at 9 p.m. Monday, so you still have time to get ready for the storm. 

Here's a compilation of snowstorm checklists from the American Red Cross, the CDC and FEMA.

  1. Keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
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    Have a first aid kit ready. Make you have enough prescription medication for at least a week ahead. Also make sure you've stocked for other medical items, such as contact lens solution and extra batteries for hearing aids. Don't forget any hygienic products such as extra tampons and toothpaste.
  3. Lots of warm clothing and blankets are a must.
  4. If you have little ones, check baby supplies such as formula, clean bottles, diapers and baby food. Make sure you have enough!
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    Have a supply of drinking water for at least three days. For other water sources, you can fill your bathtub. As a final resort, you can melt snow; boiling it will get rid of germs but may not get rid of some accumulated chemicals in it.
  6. Get a portable cellphone charger if you don't have one -- the kind that will work without electricity.
  7. Have a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector as back-up.
  8. A battery-powered radio will help keep you connected to alerts if the power does go out.
  9. Batteries, batteries, batteries.
  10. Prepare battery-powered flashlights or lanterns (with extra batteries!). If the power goes out, avoid using candles. If you do use them, never leave them alone.
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    Have a supply of canned or easily preparable food for at least three days. Look for peanut butter, crackers, trail mixes, and canned meats or fish. Some fruits like citrus fruits have a shelf life of two weeks without refrigeration. And by the way, don't expect grocery delivery to go out in what is likely to be dangerous conditions.
  12. If you have a pet, don't forget pet supplies!
  13. If you have another supply of heat, such as space heaters or kerosene heaters, make sure to keep them at least three feet away from anything flammable such as furniture or drapes. Never, ever leave kerosene heaters unattended, and make sure that both space heaters and kerosene heaters are turned off when you go to sleep.
  14. Keep a supply of rock salt for walkways and sand or cat litter to add traction. Also, help your neighborhood by digging out fire hydrants. Ahead of the snow, note the locations of fire hydrants in your area.
  15. If you must head out on the roads (which officials are strongly warning against), stock your car with a mini kit of supplies, including a first aid kit, blankets, extra clothing, batteries, a cell phone charger and jumper cables.

BONUS ROUND: Go ahead and program your local utility contact information into your cellphone now, before you need them. Important utility numbers include:

  • Pepco: 877-PEPCO-62
  • Dominion Virginia: 866-DOM-HELP
  • Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 877-778-2222
  • SMECO: 877-74-SMECO
  • MonPower: 1-888-544-4877 or Text "OUT" for outages or "STAT" for outage report to 544487
  • NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500
  • Washington Gas: 800-752-7520 or 703-750-1400
  • Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 800-828-6439
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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