Blizzard 2013: Preparation & Getting Through It
WebMD News Archive
Q: Can I put food from the refrigerator and freezer out in the snow?
That's not safe. Frozen food can thaw if it is exposed to the sun's rays. That can happen even if the outside temperatures are very cold.
Q: What precautions do I need to take for medications that need refrigeration, such as insulin or reconstituted drugs?
If power has been out for a lengthy period, throw them out. However, if you have no way to obtain new supplies and the medicine is crucial, such as insulin, continue to take it until you can get fresh supplies.
Pills that have gotten wet should be discarded, as they could be contaminated.
Q: What about water? If we run out, what supplies can we tap?
Use ice, soft drinks, and fruit juices as water substitutes.
Check hidden sources of water: the hot water tank, or water in the plumbing. These water supplies need to be disinfected, though.
To disinfect by boiling, bring water to a rolling boil for one or two minutes, then cool. •In an emergency -- if no other water is available -- snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs, but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.
Q: What is the best way to stay warm if there is a power outage?
Close off the unneeded rooms to preserve heat as much as possible. Stuff rags or towels in the cracks under your doors.
If you are using a fireplace or wood stove, be sure to ventilate it properly.
Dress in layers of loose-fitting but warm and lightweight clothing that you can add on or take off as needed.
Q: Is it OK to use a portable generator?
Generators should only be operated outdoors, as carbon monoxide can build up and cause lethal poisoning if used indoors. Only use the generator in a dry outdoor location, which may be impossible in the winter storm's aftermath.
Q: How do I protect vulnerable family members, such as children and the elderly?