4 Ways to Prepare for the Next Winter Storm
Living in Utah we see our fair share of winter storms but inevitably, it seems, there are a large number of people who are ill-prepared for every storm we get. With every winter storm come stories of drivers who slide off the road, get stuck, or have break downs and are unprepared in regards to keeping warm, staying dry, and fueling their bodies while they either wait for help, or go out in search of it.
It’s not just drivers either that seem to get caught off guard by these winter storms, reports of people freezing and running out of food in their homes during power outages that they didn’t prepare for are also something we hear about often.
These situations got us thinking about easy steps you can take to better prepare for the potential threats faced from these storms throughout the winter months. Here are 4 ways we suggest preparing.
Cold temperatures are one of the biggest threats during winter storms. Whether indoors or outdoors, there are many consequences to being unprepared for the temperature drops. Hypothermia, frostbite, and even an increased risk of heart attack are all physical risks directly correlated with exposure to cold. Fortunately, with a little planning, this can be countered rather easily. If you’re in your home, you most likely have access to warm clothing, blankets, and perhaps even a generator and heat lamp to counter any power outages.
Don’t have a generator? There are still ways to get extra heat during power outage.
Portable propane heaters provide reliable heat that are even safe to use indoors. They are also usually compact, easy to store, and reasonably priced. You don’t need to store up large propane tanks to run them either, even smaller 16oz propane tanks can give you heat for up to 6 hours when used efficiently.
Hand and body warmers are a smaller, more space-friendly alternative to larger heaters. Once activated, they produce heat for up to 18 hours. These are ideal for your car’s emergency kit, since they don’t take up much space but can help keep you warm while you wait for assistance should a patch of ice force you off the road. It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency blanket, warm jacket, gloves, and hat in your car’s emergency kit during the winter months.
Shelter plays a big role in keeping warm, and it will also keep you out of the elements, including snow and wind. Shelter could range from your home, an emergency tent, or even just a tarp. In fact, your car can transform into a warm shelter by lining the interior with reflective blankets. That way, your body heat will be trapped inside. It would take a number of blankets, but the idea still shows that anywhere can be warm if you’re prepared.
Food and Water
Winter storms can dump huge amounts of snow and leave the roads slicker than an ice rink. When this happens, there’s a good chance you could be trapped in your home.
Whenever a huge storm of any kind is expected, grocery stores run low on the essentials, including bread, eggs, and milk. However, if you have food already stored, you won’t have to rush to the store only to find empty shelves. Likewise, having extra water stored can help in a pinch if your water pipes freeze over or water is otherwise unavailable.
Once you have food and water, you will still need an alternate method to cook, just in case. Alternate cooking options range from small gas powered stoves to flameless cookers. Small cookers don’t take up much space, making them ideal for emergencies.
The thing about winter is, it gets dark so early! If the power goes out, having extra light sources is a must. Flashlights are always a good option, but can become a nuisance if you have to hold them for hours on end while you try to get things done around the house. Headlamps are a good hands free alternative that are easy to store at home of in your car.
Another option is a flashlight that charges in a base that plugs into a wall outlet. As soon as the power goes out, the base lights up, not only illumining the room, but also helping you find your flashlight so you can reach the rest of your prep in other darkened rooms. Lanterns are also a good option, since they provide light while standing or hanging on their own.
It doesn’t take much to prepare for winter storms, but it is well worth it. Let us know in the comments section below what you think about our suggestions, or simply share your own!