We're Canadians Eh? 

As Canadians, we know what winters can be like. Now that winter is upon us it's a good idea to be prepared for Nova Scotia's unpredictable weather. Most of these tips can be used for any storm, whether it is winter or any other season. 

Were you here for White Juan? I remember it very well and, I also remember not being prepared for it. I will certainly never forget the amount of snow we received during that storm! We haven't had a storm quite like that in a while but we need to stay vigilant especially during these unprecedented times we are living in. It's time to take stock of what you have to be prepared for in a storm. Do you have everything you need?

We've created a helpful guide to preparing your home and family for storms so that you can weather any storm that comes your way! 

Emergency Preparedness Plan

It's important that everyone in your family knows what to do in case of an emergency or in case of a storm. The Canadian Red Cross has a downloadable template that can be found here. This template will help you keep track of all the important things and will help you make a plan!  

Preparing your family

Take some time to speak with the kids about some of things that could happen during a storm. As a storm approaches, kids can be a little apprehensive. Talking to them can help ease some of those fears. 

  • Explain what type of storm is coming and why you need to prepare;
  • Let them know that you might loose power (no TV! GASP!);
  • Tell them to ensure all their electronics are charged;
  • Explain why you may need to fill the tub with water and let them help;
  • If you need to put some things away outdoors, let them help batten the hatches;
  • Have them prepare a survival kit for themselves that includes some of their favourite things like:
    • Board games
    • Favourite blanket
    • Stuffed animal
    • Colouring books
    • Books
    • Pencil and paper
    • Toys
    • Their very own flashlight (the best part)

Another thing that you should do is, establish a communication plan with other family members outside of your home. If you have family members close by (or even friends) decide on a check in plan to make sure everyone is ok. 


Preparing Your Property Outdoors

Make sure you do the following to prepare to protect your property and in turn, your neighbour's property:

  • Trim dead tree branches
  • Cut back branches that are close to your home or power lines
  • Cover your bushes in burlap to avoid wind and frost damage

More property tips for outdoors:

  • Secure any loose items in your yard including fences;
  • Check your gutters and ensure they are free of debris and fastened tightly to your home;
  • Insure your downspouts are directed away from your foundation;
  • Put all patio and yard furniture away;
  • Secure your BBQ;
  • Inspect your roof before the storm to see if there are any loose shingles.

What Should be in Your Emergency Preparedness Kit? 

The Canadian Red Cross suggests that we should all have an Emergency Preparedness Kit with enough supplies to last for 72 hours and should sustain your entire family for that time.  Here is a condensed version of the top things you should have in your Kit:

  • A copy of your Emergency Preparedness plan
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, licenses, deeds, insurance, wills)
  • Water
  • Canned food (non-perishable)
  • Hand operated can opener
  • First aid kit;
  • Battery operated radio with extra batteries (not stored in the radio)
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • Extra house keys
  • Traditional medicines such as Tylenol and Advil and prescription medications
  • Cash
  • Pet food and any pet medication
  • Chargers for your devices
  • Warm blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pocket knife/multi-tool
  • Change of clothes and footwear

You can find a more detailed list on the Canadian Red Cross' website here

Preparing Your Home Indoors 

One thing that I am terrified of in the winter months is, my pipes freezing during a power outage. The thought of it gives me nightmares! I've witnessed the damage that can be done when a frozen pipe bursts and it is not pretty! Here's what you should do to give your pipes a helping hand in case the power goes out:

  • Insulate them! You should insulate both hot water and cold water pipes. Pipes that are on outer walls and pipes in your basement are the most vulnerable.
  • If you have pipes under/in cupboards, open the cupboard doors to let the heat get to them. 
  • When the power goes out, turn on your faucets and let them drip slowly to help keep the water flowing.

Head over to your local hardware store to pick up some pipe insulation. There are several different types so be sure to ask someone which will work best for the pipes you are protecting. 

One question I find that people always wonder is, should I fill my bathtub with water? In the case of having well water, I would say this is a BIG yes! But what if you're on city water? The answer to that would be a yes for me too. Sometimes, during storms, water supplies can be compromised. If you have a bathtub full of water, you will have a supply for a few days at least. It's better to be safe than sorry in my books. If you end up not using the water and have to let it go down the drain, consider bottling it for later use like watering your plants indoors or if it's in the summer months, you can use it to water your plants outdoors as well. 

A checklist of other things to remember to do indoors while preparing for a storm:

  • Charge all your electronics
  • Check all your flashlights to ensure they are operational
  • Find batteries and put them in an easy to locate spot
  • Gather candles for a backup in case you run out of batteries

We all need to be prepared for any weather events that might come our way. We need to keep our family and homes safe. If you are ever wondering where to get advice for preparing for storms, you can always visit The Canadian Red Cross' website here.

Do you have anything in particular that you do to prepare for a storm? We would love to hear from you and share your thoughts! 

Posted by Lyndsay Hart on


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