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How to Return to Your Home After a Winter Storm

Before re-entering your home after a winter storm, make sure that it is safe for you and your family to go inside.


  • Step 1: Be cautious around wild animals after the winter storm -- animals pose health risks. If any wild animals are in your home, provide an open window or door for them to escape through.
  • Step 2: Call your insurance agent to report any damage to your home caused by the storm. Take pictures of the damage with a camera.
  • Step 3: Organize your home and get things back in order which will get your family's lives back to normal.
  • FACT: During the Blizzard of 1888, it snowed an estimated 40 inches in 36 hours in the New York City region.
  • Step 4: Wash your hands with soap and water often to keep them clean.
  • Step 5: Drink only water and eat only food that you know is safe. Don't eat anything that smells odd or has touched water from burst pipes. Listen for public announcements that say it is safe to drink your tap water. Otherwise, drink bottled water.
  • Step 6: Walk around the outside of your house, looking for dangers like loose power lines, gas line breaks, and structural damage. Report downed power lines and gas leaks immediately.
  • Step 7: Carry a battery-powered radio so you can continue to get information about the winter storm.
  • TIP: Purchase an NOAA Weather Radio, which constantly broadcasts weather information.
  • Step 8: Deal with household flooding caused by the pipes freezing and bursting. Shut off the main water valve. Wear waterproof boots and gloves to clean up your home, and throw away any items that cannot be dried.
  • : If at any time you smell gas, leave your house and call 911 immediately.

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