Odds and Ends
Generators are handy in an ice storm as they will allow you to retain some power. They’re not much use if you haven’t already done the preparatory work to properly integrate them into your power supply. That can’t be very easily done on the spur of the moment. Yes you can run an extension cord in and have some light or run some space heaters, but if you really want your furnace, frig and other things to operate, you need to do a little wiring ahead of time. Don’t keep your generator running in either an open or closed garage. Gasoline results in one of the most inefficient forms of combustion and is the worst risk for CO. Generators tend to be noisy, so you know you’re going to draw attention to yourself when you have it on, especially if you’re in a subdivision with neighbours only an arm’s length away.
For light, it would be good to have some candles, and a couple of LED lanterns with extra batteries. I particularly like some small, glass hurricane lanterns that I found in a Dollar Store several years ago. (Haven’t seen them lately.) They run on kerosene or a liquid paraffin mixture. They’re great and last a long time. Other hurricane lamps, especially those with a metal fuel reservoir, should be tested regularly for leaks. I’ve seen it happen more than once, especially if it’s dropped and nobody tells you.
I always keep a flashlight or headlamp in my car. There’s also one in an easy-to-locate-in-the-dark place in my home, right beside a lighter and some matches.
Have an AM radio with batteries available so that you know what’s happening in your area. I have a survival one that operates on solar power and with a crank handle. I find the solar recharging doesn’t do much unless it is in direct sunlight, and even then it is not great. (Eton/Scorpion model)
It is always a good idea to keep your tank more than half full, and if a storm is moving in, fill it right up. Power outages mean no gas.
If you don’t have a chain saw, or even if you do, you might want to buy a bow saw. This would be handy for clearing downed trees or perhaps even supplementing your firewood supply. An axe or hatchet would be handy, too.
I’ve seen a lot of plastic shovels shatter or break over the past 10 days. A metal snow shovel is heavier, but is much more likely to survive an ice storm. One of those garden edging tools is good for breaking up ice, but just remember it is metal, so don’t use it on anything that might be damaged when hacking at ice.
I keep a pair of snowshoes in my basement and bags of sand and salt in my trunk.
I’m sure there are lots of other little things, but that should be the most important. There are lots of sites available on line for urban or home survival. Some are better than others, but they’re interesting to look at. The degree to which you are prepared depends on you. Play a game in your mind one frigid night and ask yourself exactly what you would do if the power quit right then and there. Maybe involve the rest of your family. Doing a short simulation allows you to check some equipment that might not otherwise ever get checked. (That’s how one person I know found out that their bathtub wouldn’t hold water.)
Imagine or practice your response and evaluate whether you would have the resources to actually do what you know you should do to protect yourself and your family.