In many instances, experiencing extreme cold or riding out a blizzard tends to happen at your home. Unless there is another disaster that is seriously threatening your community, it is not likely that you’ll need to evacuate. Sheltering in place is convenient because it offers you a bit more freedom in building your emergency kit and being able to stay in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to place a weight limit to something that you wont need to carry in your car or on your back. On the other hand, always be sure to prepare for an evacuation because you just never know what can happen.
If you’re sheltering in place, you need to stockpile sufficient supplies to last you at minimum two weeks. If you’re evacuating, take enough supplies with you to get you through a minimum of 72 hours.
Winterize Your Home
As we previously mentioned, it’s likely that you’ll experience severe cold or storms while at home, so it’s important to winterize your home before it gets too cold to do so. Winter preparedness should be started at home, so a few easy tips are to reverse ceiling fan blades, cover your windows with plastic, install pipe insulation, and check your gutters. These are all relatively easy things that most people can do on their own without the need for professional help.
Save a minimum of one gallon of water per individual in your household a day. There are many different water storage containers available, but we recommend the two below, depending on your needs. Hydration is always important, but especially for storm or winter preparedness.
If you’re looking for a solution for one or two people, these convenient collapsible water bags are perfect. They come in 1.3 gallons or 2.6 gallons and are environmentally friendly.
If you have a larger family and want to be extra prepared, we recommend the below 5-gallon stacker containers. They come in packs of four, so you can easily expand your potable water needs based on how many people will be wintering with you at your location. These containers are large and could be cumbersome to dispense from… except they’ve already thought of that and include spigots to make for easy use!
Long-Term Meal Storage
Meals can be stockpiled in several ways when it comes to winter preparedness. Some people want to have a pantry full of cans and goods that are dried. In the event that you store cans, keep a can opener handy… we get that it seems silly, but you’d be surprised at how often obvious tools are overlooked. These types of foods typically have a shelf-life of two to three years or more.
Many goods which can be canned require preparation so they can sit on the shelf. If you have the means to do your own canning, go for it! We’re all about utilizing your garden or fruits and vegetables from the store.
My personal favorite choice in terms of food that is meant for long-term storage are meals buckets like these. This particular bucket has 92 servings, so you can easily use this for multiple people and has 11 different varieties of entrees so you’re not likely to get too bored with your meal selection.
They’re great because they’re meals that are hearty are comfort food types. These meals take just minutes to prepare and only water to reconstitute. Forget about food rotation when you get one of those buckets! It can’t get more convenient than this.
Stove and Fuel Kit
Don’t lose out on a cup of coffee, apple cider, or hot chocolate! Drinking beverages that are hot help keep your body warm and add a bit of comfort. A stove and gas kit similar to this one is fantastic for interior and exterior use that is outside it doesn’t produce toxic fumes. It also prepares meals in minutes. No energy? Not a problem! With this kit, your cooking needs will be covered.
Pro tip: Install carbon monoxide detectors in your house, regardless of whether or not you’re using a portable stove and fuel kit!
Trash Bags and Plasticware
Save yourself the effort of dishes (conserve water) and silverware amassing in the sink. Serve your meals in disposable plates and throw every thing in large plastic bags. Obviously be environmentally conscious, so if you can spare the water, then we recommend reusable items. If your water levels become low, then don’t feel guilty about the disposable items you’ll use.
A Bug-Out Kit
A bug-out kit, or evacuation kit, is needed for a sudden evacuation and should be part of your winter preparedness plan. Put supplies that are essential to help you survive for at least 72 hours in one place that is quickly and easily accessible. We suggest each individual in your household have their bug-out kit, but there are options for family bug-out kits that will work too.
Generators, Flashlights, Headlamps, and Batteries
If the power goes out during a snowstorm, having a backup supply is critical to your winter preparedness plan! Whether that’s a generator or a flashlight, you’ll feel at ease not to have to be in a pitch dark room by 5pm. If you’re using a gas generator, make sure that you use a fuel additive to keep the fuel fresh when the generator is not in use.
Complete First Aid Kit
This kit should contain items to take care of basic wounds, such as bandages and compresses. Some of these things could be found in your bug out kit, but it’s always a good idea to have a kit that’s specific to first aid.
Communicate with your medical practitioner about this first! Figure out a solution for obtaining backup prescription during extreme cold weather or storms for winter preparedness, just in case you’re unable to make a trip to the pharmacy for a week or more.
Toilet and Sanitation Kit
A toilet kit like this one ensures your waste gets safely disposed of in the event of a charged energy outage. Your sanitation and health is a priority, especially throughout a disaster.
Appropriate Winter Clothes
Dress for the season! You might usually keep your house in the 70s during the winter and wear short sleeves, but when extreme cold or storms arrive, you can’t count on the temperature in your house being maintainable. Winter preparedness means always have warm clothes on hand, and extra ones at that!
Wool Blankets and Sleeping Bags
If there’s an electrical outage, your furnace will stop working. And if you don’t have a backup generator or fireplace, it could get very chilly very fast. Bundle up in a wool blanket or cold weather sleeping bag to keep your body temperature up while the power is out.
If you have a fireplace, make sure that you have plenty of dry firewood on hand. This will especially come in handy if your furnace is having a hard time keeping the temperature warm enough indoors or the power goes out and your furnace can’t even turn on.
NOAA Weather Radio
Part of winter preparedness is the ability to stay updated with the weather report that is current using an NOAA weather radio. In the case of a power outage, you’ll have a backup radio to stay in tune with the news headlines and storm tracking (remember to keep an set that is extra of batteries).
Whether you’re sheltering-in-place or evacuating, it’s always an smart idea to keep copies of your important documents in a protected container that is waterproof. Protecting your documents is tremendously important in case of a medical emergency.
Automobile Emergency Kit
Sooner or later during the cold weather season, if you have an automobile, it’s possible that you’ll be driving it. Always keep a wintertime emergency kit in your car in case you encounter a roadside crisis. Winter preparedness isn’t just about you as an individual or your home, but includes your vehicle. Make sure the kit has everything you need to get the car back on the road or get help.
In this article, we have covered many tips for winter preparedness. This article was written to help all who live in areas of extreme cold or quickly changing weather patterns. With these winter preparedness recommendations, you can definitely rest easy this winter and not have any problems when it comes to your safety. Do you have any other recommendations for winter preparedness? Share them in the comments below so that other readers can benefit from your wisdom!