Preparing for Winter: Not just for Squirrels and Bears Anymore

Winter storm season is fast approaching, whether we want to admit it or not, and there’s nothing worse than being caught unprepared by an early winter squall. According to the Benton County Emergency Management office, “The best disaster preparedness equipment is accurate and timely information.”   

To that end, the first thing the county recommends residents do is to register for mass notifications in their communities. “Here in Benton County we use Linn-Benton Alert. This notification system sends out critical information about incidents or threats as they develop, said the Benton County Emergency Management Office in an email.  

It’s also important to have about two weeks of supplies available at all times. They should include food, water, seasonal clothing, medications, a first aid kit, flashlights with extra batteries, and chargers for other important electronic devices. Families should also create an emergency plan, and store it with their supply kit.   

On top of having a supply kit in your home, the County says you should winterize your car and make sure to have an emergency kit, otherwise known as a “Go-Bag” in your car. Make sure you have quality windshield wipers, chains, boots, and blankets in your trunk, and keep your gas tank full.  You can monitor the weather on your phone, and check Trip Check for road conditions.   

Weather proofing your home is another important part of preparing for winter storms. You can do this by installing new windows, caulking, insulation, and weather stripping to your home to help protect it from the elements.  

The County also recommends testing fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and taking preventative measures like dripping warm water to keep pipes from freezing and bursting.    

According the County’s preparedness website, another way to make sure you’re prepared is to become a member with the local Community Emergency Response Team. CERT trains volunteers from the community in basic disaster response, allowing them to help their neighbors in an emergency.   

For more information about being prepared for winter storms and other natural disasters, visit the Benton County Preparedness site.    

Kyra Young