Time to batten down the hatches. Maybe your school announced an early dismissal or they’ve already started to plan for closing later this week. You’ve heard the weather reports and they aren’t good — but fortunately, here in New England, we can prepare better than most. At Educators Insurance Agency, we work with members all the time to move quickly and recover after big storms, but we also believe prevention is key for weathering all Mother Nature offers us this time of year.

Battery-powered basics
Over the past few years, towns across Massachusetts have experienced storm power outages that can last up to several days. Heavy snow and ice can pull down branches and power lines and our local power companies struggle to respond when outages come simultaneously from across the Commonwealth.

If you lose power, you’ll appreciate a crank or battery-powered lantern and radio — at the very least, so you can stay abreast of information about the storm and recovery efforts. For less than $50, some hand crank radios even offer USB ports and mobile phone chargers so you can follow the news and stay in touch with friends and family.

Also consider a battery backup sump pump. While you’re staying high and dry after a storm, waiting for the power to come back, that snow may be melting. In Massachusetts, fieldstone foundations are common — as are their unwelcome sieve-like tendencies. If your basement starts to flood with meltwater, make sure your sump pump system can continue to work.

Your “go bag”
The American Red Cross recommends putting together a “go bag” for every member of your household — including pets — in the event you have to evacuate. After a blizzard, you may be able to stay in your home, but you may not be able to easily get out to replenish medicines, durable medical goods and other necessities you depend on every day.

In addition to your families’ bags, keep some nonperishable food, such as canned goods, on hand. Don’t forget to include a manual can opener and jugs of water for washing it all down.

Home safe
Consider fortifying your home with a backup generator. If you camp, you may already have a small gasoline-powered generator on hand that can provide limited power; don’t forget to buy gasoline ahead of time to power it long after the blizzard is over.

Before meteorologists utter the B word, help your home survive the snow and ice by focusing on the outside. Trim dead branches that can weigh down with ice and take the time to clear out your gutters. If they fill with debris and autumn’s leaves, they can’t properly take water off your roof, inviting the possibility of ice dams. Ice dams bring the outside in, in ways we don’t like to experience. When Mother Nature wants to serve up her worst, do your part to keep your home ready and at its best.

Posted 5:25 PM

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