BISMARCK, ND (KXNET): With a chance of the season’s first snow looking strong in the region Thursday and Friday, today may be the time to prepare for winter as a whole. Preparing things now will help when the real “sticking snow” comes and you’re ready to go rather than playing catch-up to events as they unfold.

Here are some questions to help you start preparing for winter. It’s not a comprehensive list but it will get you going in the right direction:

For the home: Do you have your snow shovels out and in a spot that’s easy to access? Have you started your snow blower to make sure it’s in working order when the snow comes? Have you unhooked hoses from outdoor water faucets to prevent freezing in pipes, which could lead to burst pipes? Have you collected or marked loose objects around the outside of your house to avoid hitting them when buried in snow? Do windows and doors have good seals to keep out the cold? Is the furnace in good working order and have chimney flues been checked and cleared of blockages? Are all the vents venting properly? Do you have a supply of sidewalk and driveway salt or sand on hand? Do you have a good stock of food supplies? Do you have a plan on what to do if the power goes out?

For the car: Do you have blankets and water stored in back? How about a winter survival kit? Are the tires appropriate for winter driving? Do you have a battery charger? If your car battery is five years or older, have you tested it to make sure it can generate the power needed to start your car on cold, cold days? Are your windshield wipers in good working condition?

For yourself: Do you have a good winter coat strong enough to handle arctic cold winds and persistent snowfall? Do you have protective gloves that can keep your hands warm when subzero temperatures hit? Do you have ear muffs or good coverings for the ears and face?

For work: If you are able to work from home, do you have the software, connections, apps and passwords needed to turn your home into your office without missing a beat? Right now, can you be up online and ready to work in an hour?