Living in the Midwest, we know snow, ice, or cold are part of winter. Remember that although the winter storms may cause many problems for adults, the kids and the farmers love it.

The local weather stations let us know when impending storms will touch our areas and our lives. When winter storms threaten, we all rush to fill in on milk, groceries, and bananas. It’s difficult to find a banana anywhere 24 hours before a snowstorm in Kansas City). Stockpiling groceries is only one of the precautions to prepare for a day or two or three of snowy winter weather. What else can you do to prepare?

Fill your gas tank before a winter storm.

Heavy snow and ice can be synonymous with winter storms. Snow and ice causes tree limbs to break under the added weight, affecting power lines. When severe winter storms affect the power grid, electrical blackouts occur. Gas pumps do not work during electrical blackouts. Although you may not plan to go anywhere when you know a storm is coming, you should always be prepared in case you have to leave your house. Emergency situations can arise. Being prepared with a full gas tank is a good way to prepare for a winter storm during a loss of power.

Consider purchasing a generator for power outages.

Downed power lines due to weight of snow during a winter storm. You cannot control how quickly your electric company gets your power back on during a power outage. Having a generator to run a few or all of your home’s electrical functions during a power outage could be life and death for some. If you have a condition that requires medication to be refrigerated or a piece of equipment that helps you breathe at night, such as a CPAP machine for Sleep Apnea, then the threat of a disruption of your electrical power is more serious. For some, the thought of “camping” at home without lights or TV may seem fun, and it is probably for a day. A properly sized generator, which runs on propane, can be purchased to run a few appliances and lights or an entire home’s functions in the event of a power outage.

Keep a bag of salt or salt alternatives in your garage.

Your driveway could have ice on it due to the storm. You never know when an emergency will arise, and even though you can call 911, having options will be important. Salt can harm your driveway, so alternatives should be considered whenever possible. A bag of salt will be handy when you have to get up your drive or ensure the steps leading up to your front door are safe.

Keep a few items in your car for safety.

Preparing for winter storms could include keeping some items in your car handy if you are stranded and have to wait for an emergency crew. When driving on slick and snowy roads, keep a bottle of water, blanket, and cell phone close. Keep your fully charged cell phone in a zipped pocket on your body when you are driving. If you veer off the road and find your car turned on its side or upside down, getting to your cell phone to call for help is important. If your phone was in a cup in your console or a purse, it may not be unreachable in this situation and waiting for someone to discover you and your car may take more time than you are comfortable with. When you drive in bad winter conditions, prepare to be stuck without power to your engine.

Winter storms can be beautiful, and they can also be dangerous. Preparing for them will help you get through it with as much comfort as possible. Fill your gas tank, think about purchasing a generator, keep a bag or two of salt alternatives around and ensure you keep a few safety items in your car if you are stuck on the side of the road.

After each winter season, check the concrete sections of your driveway have not been affected by melting snow and ice. Concrete slabs can sink, causing your driveway to crack. When this occurs, call Concrete Raising Systems to evaluate your problem’s extent before it worsens and costs more.

This article was originally published in February 2013 and has been recently updated.