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Plan For Winter Weather Emergencies

Updated on January 21, 2015

Plan For Winter Weather

Winter comes every year and before it gets here you should plan for weather situations. Some years winter months can come and go without any issues, and other years there will be extreme cold, snow, ice, blizzards and more. A difficult, extreme winter could land you in a dangerous situation. If you plan for winter weather you will be able to get through the cold months with a little peace of mind.

Snow and Ice can create a winter weather emergency
Snow and Ice can create a winter weather emergency | Source

What Is A Winter Weather Emergency?

Winter weather can be anything from moderate snow and ice building up on roads to blinding blizzards packing high winds and extreme cold. In some cases, severe winter weather can cause power outages and leave you in the dark and cold. In most situations, the harsh winter storms can leave roads icy and in poor driving conditions. No one wants to be in a dangerous situation so being prepared for winter weather can save your life.

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How Do I Prepare For Winter Weather?

You are probably asking yourself right now, how do I prepare for winter weather? There are many ways to prepare your home, car, animals and property. A few easy steps will have you sailing through the cold, winter months like a catamaran on the blue water and under the warm sun.

Winterize your vehicle
Winterize your vehicle | Source

Let's Start With The Car

Cold weather can cause a car to be less than reliable. Taking some time to do a thorough check up for your car can save a lot of frustration when it's cold and snowing.

Taking time to prepare your car for the cold winter months will ensure you are able to safely get out on the road. Prepare for yourself should if you get stuck on the road during severe cold weather. Stock your trunk with items that will protect and help you. Keep a bag of cat litter, in case you get stuck and need traction to get out of a situation. Keep a bag with necessities such as water, protein bars, a flashlight, extra batteries, battery operated or hand crank weather radio, a first aid kit and a warm blanket. Extra socks and instant hand warmers are additional items that would keep you warm.

Winterizing Your Car

  • Check for proper tread on the tires and ensure your tires have the correct amount of air in them. Driving in unsafe conditions with old, worn tires can be dangerous.
  • Check the battery, brakes, heat and defrost to make sure everything is in working order before it gets cold. Take the car to see a mechanic if you are unable to do it yourself.
  • Check the antifreeze level, you don't want anything to freeze up and damage your car.
  • Check your windshield wipers and make sure they are in good shape. It is wise to change your wiper blades for the winter with blades that are meant for ice and snow.
  • Check the lights on the car. Make sure all the lights are in working order and bulbs don't need to be replaced. Don't forget to check the hazard lights, you never know when you will need them on the side of the road.

What If We Are Snowed In?

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and stepping outside to see snow and ice that has you covered your home. It can be exhilarating for school children who know they don't have to go to school and will be breaking out the sleds and hot chocolate all day. For adults, it can be worrisome. If you are prepared for winter weather situations at home, you will be able to enjoy the time at home with family making memories.

Store Food And Water

  • Purchase a small container
  • Write the recipe on paper, or print it off the computer and tape it to the inside of the lid.
  • Fill the container with the ingredients needed to create the meal.
  • Keep it stored in a cool, dark place.

This method of storage allows anyone in the family to put together a meal if needed.

Get Prepared

You never know how long the snow will fall and how icy the roads can get, so you may not be able to run to the store on a whim. When winter weather is approaching, people rush out and strip the store shelves immediately, so even if you can get to a store you may find nothing there for you to buy. If you have taken time to prepare for a winter weather emergency at home you won't have to worry.

Stock up on non-perishable foods and water. You should have at least a gallon of water per person, per day. If you have animals, remember they need water too. It is wise to have extra toilet paper and paper towels on hand in case of emergencies. Keep canned food and dry staples like beans, rice, pasta and dry milk stored in the pantry. If you have small children, extra jars of baby food, formula and diapers are a must. Kids like to snack when they are stuck at home so having crackers, cookies, cereal and other family favorites helps keep everyone from feeling deprived.

If you live in an area where you know you may be unable to get out for a few days food storage is important. It is easy a good idea to take a few of your families typical recipes and put together a storage container. For best use, recipes that don't contain fresh ingredients work best. They can be easily stacked or stored and will have everything you need.

  • Purchase a container large enough to hold all the items you want.
  • Label the container lid with “Cold Weather Emergency Kit”
  • Fill the container with all the items you have to store.

Store the container inside your home where it can be easily accessed.

What Else Do We Need To Be Prepared?

Having a battery operated or hand cranked weather radio is important at home. You will want to keep updated on the weather conditions. Candles, flashlights and extra batteries are important. Make sure you have a hand held can opener. Plastic utensils and paper plates will prevent you from having dishes piling up in the sink. Trash bags and paper products are good to have on hand in your kit. Definitely have a roll of duct tape, it has multiple uses. For families, it is wise to have activities to keep everyone occupied. To help deter from boredom having a deck of cards, books, a few board games and even some craft supplies will keep the family entertained. If you put together a kit you will have everything on hand.

What Do We Do If We Lose Power?

It is possible that icy power lines and poor driving conditions can leave you in the dark. If the roads are too dangerous for the power company crews to get out you could be left without electricity and in some cases heat for a day or more.

Prepare to keep warm and able to sustain yourself until the power has returned. If you have a fireplace you should have plenty of firewood prepared, stacked and dry. Make sure to have your fireplace and chimney checked each year, to ensure they are in good working order to prevent dangerous fires.

Do not bring in grills or try to create a fire inside the house without a fireplace or wood burning stove. Propane grills can put off carbon monoxide and kill you without you even knowing it is happening. Be smart and safe during a power outage in severe cold weather.

Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves to keep warm.
Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves to keep warm. | Source

If You Don't Have A Fireplace or Wood Burning Stove

If you don't have a fireplace to create heat you can still survive the cold using other methods.

  • Set up in the smallest room of the house. Block door openings and windows with blankets.
  • Using plastic sheeting or shower curtain liners over the windows will help insulate the room.
  • Set up a tent in the room to add an additional wall of warmth.
  • Dress in layers. Put as many layers of clothing on that is comfortable. Wear a hat, glove and thick socks. Wear a heavy winter coat.
  • Huddle up if you have more people with you. Sitting closely together inside an insulated room will help build body heat.
  • Eat before you go to sleep. Adding the calories before you go to sleep will help your body stay warm.

It can be miserable when there is no electricity and heat. The most important thing is to keep warm and stay safe until the power is returned. If the power is out and the roads are clear enough to drive, get to some place warm.

Don't Forget Your Animals!
Don't Forget Your Animals! | Source

What Do Animals Need During Cold Weather?

First, it is very important to remember that animals need water. Make sure to store enough water for animals that will last a few days. Keep a bag of emergency food. Whether you have dogs, cats or both, if it is freezing outside they need to be kept warm. If you have livestock you need to remember they need to keep warm too. Keeping several bales of hay on hand is a must. Store your hay in a dry area and off the ground so that it does not get damp and moldy. Hay is an important staple for keeping any animal warm when pets are outside. If you can, bring your domestic animals indoors when the temperatures are below freezing. If you cannot bring them inside, they need adequate, draft-free housing with many layers of bedding and hay. Installing a light inside their house will help an animal keep warm as well. Don't forget about your animals when preparing for cold weather situations. Another reminder, some animals will get under and into car engine areas if they are warm. Honk the horn and tap on the hood before starting your car in cold weather.

Dogs, Cats and Livestock need to be prepared for extreme winter weather.
Dogs, Cats and Livestock need to be prepared for extreme winter weather. | Source

How Can I Prepare My Property For Cold Weather?

It doesn't take a lot of work to do a few extra things around the house to winterize your home and property. Wrap pipes with insulated foam to help prevent freezing. Frozen pipes that burst can become an issue and a large expense.

Put away items left over from the summer. Children's toys, bikes, and other playthings can become a hazard during high winds. Patio furniture, chairs, umbrellas and anything loose can be tossed around easily and cause damage to your home.

Check your windows, doors and electric outlets for drafts. You can easily do this with an incense stick, by lighting it and holding it near the area you are checking. Watch the smoke and see if it's pulling or blowing in any direction. If so, take time to caulk the area to keep drafts out.

Have your heat unit checked before winter arrives to ensure everything is working properly. Again, if you have a fireplace, have it checked as well and make sure you have plenty of firewood dry and ready for use.

There are many ways to get ready for winter. Taking time to prepare can make cold weather easier and could even save your life. We all know winter is coming, it's here before we know it, so get ready and stay prepared.

Things To Do
Things You Need
Things To Consider
Start preparing now for winter.
Food and Water
The area you live in an the probability of power loss
Secure loose items outdoors.
Essential items
A Family Plan for emergency situations
Winterize your home and car.
A way to store things that are accessible
How to stay safe and survive


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    • jrpierce profile image

      Jaymie 4 years ago from Ellijay, Ga

      Thanks for the comment. We live in the south in the U.S. but we have weather issues, not as extreme as other areas of the country but you are right, it's always good to be prepared. :)

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Luckily we do not have any winter season in our country. We only have dry season and rainy season. But we are often visited by typhoon and I do agree that preparation is the key whatever the climate may be. Great advise and up for this hub!

    • jrpierce profile image

      Jaymie 4 years ago from Ellijay, Ga

      Thanks! We live in Georgia but we have a few snow days.

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 4 years ago

      Great info here for anyone who lives in a colder climate.