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Preparing For A Winter Storm

Updated on February 16, 2014

Why Prepare?

During warmer months, severe storms can result in annoying circumstances like extended power outages and vehicles damaged beyond operable conditions. During those months, living without power or a vehicle is more or less just annoying. Windows can be opened or closed to regulate temperate and you can generally get around by walking. But during winter months, such conditions become dangerous. Power outages not only leave us without our most common sources of entertainment, but also leave us without heat. If vehicles become snowed in, walking places can be dangerous if the temperature is too low. Preparing for winter storms can leave you far more comfortable when the heat and power are off and you're unable to drive anywhere.

Staying Warm

Staying warm without power in the winter is pretty simple. Stock up on candles and blankets, insulate your home, and isolate yourself to one room.

Any store like Wal-Mart has a great selection of candles. Large candles are a bit more expensive, but burn longer so you don't have to worry about lighting new candles every few hours. But small candles like tea-light candles come in packs of up to 50 candles and each lasts for around 4 hours. What really matters is that you have enough candles to keep your room warm for a few days so make sure you have more than enough.

Again, stores like Wal-Mart have tons of blankets. A few blankets for each person that will be staying with you should be sufficient. The warmer you can stay without half of your candles burning, the better. You never know how long your power will be out, so you'll want to use your candles cautiously.

Isolate yourself to one room. There's no point in trying to keep your entire house warm when you're likely going to spend most of your time in one room waiting out the storm. A room that is near the center of the house is easiest to keep warm due to the lack of windows.

To insulate your home, plastic taped over the windows and glass doors helps keep cold air out and warm air in (special kits are sold at most department stores. Close off the doors to any rooms you won't be occupying for a long period of time. Stuff blankets under all the doors to keep the cold air in those rooms from entering your warm room.

If you have a wood burning fireplace or pellet stove, make that room your main room of occupancy. Before the storm hits, make sure you have a stock of wood or pellets stored in that room. Having to go outside for wood or into another room for pellets just lets warm air out and cold air in, essentially reversing your hard work.

Food and Water

Most people panic when their power goes out. All that food in the refrigerator is going to go bad! Not to worry, most of it probably will go bad but anything that doesn't need to be cooked can be eaten before then. After that. you will want to have food stored away for just this sort of situation.

Canned foods are a must. They last for years if they're not opened and they're easy to stock away in a closet or garage. Plus it's all ready to eat once the can is open. Eating cold pork 'n' beans or Spam may not be very appealing, but when your cooking options are limited you will eat it. Cooked and packaged meats like summer sausage are nice options as well.

Water is simple. Keep a few cases of bottled water or gallon jugs of water stored away. Chances are your water will still run from the faucets (not hot water though) but it's never a bad idea to have a supply of water on hand.

Managing your food supply

Staying Entertained

Most of us rely on computers or television for the majority of our entertainment. If you have a tablet or a phone with games, they'll keep you busy for a while but once the battery is dead then your entertainment is done. Staying busy may not seem all that important in a survival situation, but it can make the time pass more quickly and keep your spirits up. Puzzle books, board games, playing cards, art supplies, and books are just a few options for things you could keep around for entertainment when your power goes out.

Keep A Phone Charged

Everyone will probably want to play on their phones until the batteries are dead. But you should have at least one person turn their phone off so it keeps a charge. At some point you may want to check up on relatives or someone may get hurt and need emergency services. Without a phone or electricity, you'd have to brave the storm to find another phone and that could be dangerous to yourself.

Don't Wait

Do not, under any circumstances, wait until the last minute to start stocking up on food, water, wood, etc. The minute your local news station mentions a big winter storm heading your way, everyone will lose their mind and run to every Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, etc and buy up everything needed to survive the storm. The last thing you want is to be picking through the scraps that nobody else was willing to buy. When the cold months start to roll around, start stocking up. If you get lucky and don't get any bad snow storms, the goods you bought can still be used in the warmer months or kept in storage for the next winter. Preparing for a bad winter storm starts long before the storm is even predicted. Waiting until the last second is a terrible idea and leaves you in a very vulnerable position. Prepare early, be ready, stay safe, stay alive, stay warm.


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