RICHMOND—Winter is coming: Prepare your home now for potential inclement weather and freezing temperatures. “It is important not to wait until winter to start prepping your home; that work should start now,” said Sam Rooks, vice president of underwriting and policy services for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “It’s also important that, as part of your preparations, you check with your insurance agent and make sure you have the coverage you need should a loss occur from cold or inclement weather.” The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety offers tips and a last-minute winter weather checklist for protecting homes and businesses at disastersafety.org/freezing-weather. Preparing for a power outage, preventing a roof collapse, staying safe and warm, preventing frozen pipes and understanding what winter weather alerts mean are at the top of the preparation list. It’s important, too, to prevent freezing temperatures from entering your home or business, and installing weather stripping and seals can help. The weight of snow and ice can be heavy on roofs and cause extensive damage. Additionally, freezing temperatures can cause burst pipes, which can lead to water damage. It is important to strengthen a roof to make sure it can handle the weight of potential ice or snow, and remove snow as soon as it piles onto the roof. To prevent ice dams—ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and trap water from melting snow on the roof—increase the insulation above ceilings. Also keep all drains, scuppers, gutters and downspouts free of debris and vegetation that could cause water to back up. To prevent frozen pipes, keep all entries to unheated spaces closed as much as possible. When extreme cold weather is predicted, let all faucets drip to keep water from freezing inside the pipes. Leave cabinet doors open or use a fan to increase warm air circulation around pipes that are adjacent to exterior walls. Insulate all pipes using pipe insulation, and ensure all cracks, holes and other openings on exterior walls are tightly sealed with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating. Media: Contact Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.