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Here’s What You Should Buy Before the Blizzard Hits

2 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

A blizzard is headed to the East Coast and you may want to prepare for some extreme weather if you’re one of the 50 million people who live between Washington D.C. and Boston. Here’s some advice from preparedness agencies on how to stock up at your home.

“Think about what you need to live your lives and what you need to do to continue that,” said Russ Paulsen, American Red Cross executive director of community preparedness and resilience services. “The preparation needs to be for days, not for a day.”

No-cook food

Officials have warned that the blizzard may result in extended power outages for some people. You should have access to food that requires little preparation—canned food is often best. Most importantly, that food should not require refrigeration or cooking that requires electricity. And, if you do buy canned food, make sure you have a non-electric can opener. You should be prepared with sufficient supplies to stay in your home for as long as five days given the size of this particular storm, according to Paulsen.

Bottled water

Your water may still be running when the power goes out, but water purification systems that keep water safe may not be. Pick up ample bottled water and use it for drinking, brushing your teeth, cooking and washing your hands.

Flashlights and batteries

You need to see if the power goes out and flashlights are the easiest way to make that happen. Of course, you also need to have the correct batteries. Beware of using back-up generators indoors as they may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. (More than 400 people die of such poisoning each year).

Warm clothes and blankets

If you lose power, you may also lose heat. You should be prepared warm clothes and blankets to keep you warm while your power is out. Space heaters are great also but make sure they’re powered by batteries.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com