What to do to prepare your household for snow, and if a snowstorm actually hits

Snow is common in Selwyn during winter and has the potential to cut off power and telephone services and close roads.

It is important for people to ensure their household is well prepared to cope with snow.

The further away from a main town you live, the better your preparations need to be as you could be housebound for several days until roads can be cleared and power restored. However a large snowstorm could cut power to main towns like Rolleston, Lincoln and the surrounding areas so everyone needs to be ready to cope with that situation.

To prepare your household for snow you can take the following steps:

  • have several days' food and bottled water, medication and a first aid kit, a portable battery operated radio, torch, matches, baby food and supplies, and warm clothing
  • have an alternative power source and another way of cooking food if the power fails
  • if you have a fireplace, check you have several days' supply of firewood or coal
  • keep your vehicle fuel tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines
  • on the farm; plan where livestock can be moved to shelter and ensure there is enough dry feed. Consider how you would supply stock water if the power is off. Most animal deaths in winter storms are from dehydration
  • register online to join Selwyn Gets Ready at selwyn.getsready.net The website helps communities to prepare for an emergency by providing information on who needs assistance in an emergency and what skills and resources (like generators and first aid skills) are available in your neighbourhood
  • get to know your neighbours and find out whether they need assistance, or could help you, in an emergency.

If a snow storm hits then:

  • listen to your radio, or television, and visit the Council website, www.selwyn.govt.nz for weather reports and information
  • ensure you drink enough water and watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Wear layers of loose, light, warm clothing
  • keep rooms well ventilated when using gas or kerosene heaters to avoid toxic fumes building up
  • bring pets inside and move stock to shelter
  • report broken utility lines to Orion
  • check on your neighbours and help them out if needed
  • avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. If you have to travel take snow chains, warm clothing and essential emergency items in case you become stuck
  • if you are caught in your vehicle in a snowstorm, stay there and make yourself visible by tying a bright-coloured cloth to your radio aerial and keep the inside light.