02/08/2013 01:45 pm ET

How To Prepare For Northeast Storm: Tips From Red Cross, Energy Companies, Others

With swirling snow, halted transportation and predicted power failures, the Northeast is in the midst of being walloped by a heavy winter storm.

Amid what's being called a "dangerous storm," residents in areas expected to hit hard are stocking up on food and supplies.

Boston is preparing for two to three feet of snow and New York City has already dispensed salt trucks in anticipation of 10 to 12 inches, the Associated Press reports. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy reported on Twitter that he's bringing in out-of-state crews to prepare for possible power outages.

Though Nor'easter storms are typical for those who live along the coast, experts are asking residents to heed warnings.

"This one doesn't come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm," Alan Dunham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., told the AP. "Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon and don't plan on leaving."

So what should be on your checklist as you prepare to hunker down?

Supplies to have on hand:

--Water—at least a three-day supply; one gallon per person per day

--Food—at least a three-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food

--Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

--Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane

From the Red Cross. Read more here.

What to do if the power goes out:

--Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge. This can harm sensitive equipment. To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.

--If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home's power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.

--Listen to your battery-powered radio or TV, especially for news at the top of each hour, to find out when the power might be restored.

From Consumer Energy Center. Read more here.

Tips for helping those most in need:

--Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

From the Red Cross. Read more here.

--Keep a close eye on the temperature in your home. Infants and people over the age of 65 are more susceptible to the cold. You may want to stay with friends or relatives or go to a shelter if you cannot keep your home warm.

From AOL Real Estate. Read more here.

--Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

From ReadyGov. Read more here.



Winter Weather