You know how you always ‘planned’ on preparing for a storm? Well, now that winter is approaching it’s time to get prepared. 

According to the American Red Cross, winter storms can range from moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding snow that can last for several days. And many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

Preparing in advance is key to staying warm and safe, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

Here are a few simple tips to help you weather a winter storm.

1. Keep your pipes from freezing.

Water often freezes when it reaches 20 degrees below Fahrenheit. As the temperature drops leave your faucets running at a slow drip. This will help ensure your pipes won’t freeze.

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It’s also a good idea to keep at least five gallons of water on hand, just in case your pipes do freeze.

2. Plan for power outages.

Fill a box with emergency equipment so that you’re prepared for power outages. Here are a few items that you should have in your box:

  • Flashlight with plenty of extra batteries
  • A battery operated radio
  • If your heating is electric, invest in a kerosene heater with enough fuel for a week of use
  • If you have a fireplace, have an emergency stash of wood
  • Sleeping bags or wool blankets are also a good idea

3. Take it easy on shoveling.

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Did you know every year many people suffer from shoveling induced heat attacks? So when you’re shoveling take it slow and steady and give yourself frequent breaks. And push the snow straight ahead and then to one side so that you’re not straining yourself.

4. Take care of your car.

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Keep at least half a tank of gas in your car along with a bag of kitty litter or sand to give your car tires traction if you get stuck. And, this may seem like a no-brainer, flip up those windshield wiper blades so they don’t get buried under the heavy snow.

5. After the winter storm is over, restock.

It’s important to learn from every storm and assess your preparedness afterward.

Ready.gov suggests after every storm you do these three things:

  • Assess how well your supplies and family plan worked.
  • Take a few minutes to improve your family plan and supplies before the next winter storm hits.
  • Talk to your neighbors and colleagues about their experiences and share tips with each other.

For more tips on preparing for a storm read these hurricane safety tips.