Under a winter storm or ice storm watch or warning? How about a blizzard warning? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered so you can be prepared!
With the cold temperatures lately, it’s just a matter of time before we see blizzard conditions.
A blizzard is a severe snowstorm with high winds and low visibility. It’s often referred to as whiteout conditions.
And an ice storm is a storm of freezing rain that leaves a coating of ice.
Normally, winter storms aren’t really an issue. However, sometimes that’s not the case.
Although snow and ice are nice to look at when you are inside and peaceful, it can be deadly whether indoors or outdoors. It is something that should be taken seriously.
What To Expect
If you are inside your home, ice and/or snow accumulations can knock out power and depending on the severity of the storm, it could be out for a couple of days.
If you are not prepared to have some sort of heat and food and water, you are going to be in trouble.
If an ice storm, blizzard, or even a heavy snow storm hits your area, it’s a good idea to try to stay off the roads if possible.
I understand sometimes emergencies come up and you don’t have a choice but to leave your home, you need to be prepared as well with our winter car emergency kit.
We will talk a little more about this as well, but mainly going to focus on being inside or outside, not in a car since we’ve covered that already.
So what should you prepare for?
- No power for heating
- No power for cooking
- No lights
- Communication issues
- Kids being bored and cranky
With that being said how do we prepare for this?
Have A Plan To Stay Warm
If you have a fireplace, you have a good source for heat and only need to make a fire and keep it going. Stock up on firewood and store somewhere close by or even inside where it won’t get wet or moisture.
Make sure you have fire starter and you have matches or a lighter. (Learn how to make DIY fire starter here).
Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy as a precaution. Better safe than sorry.
If you don’t have a fireplace, you can buy a Mr. Heater Indoor/outdoor heater that uses propane for heating. Check your carbon monoxide detectors first though to be on the safe side.
You could also try making a fire outdoors if the wind isn’t too bad and heat some non river stones over it. Then you place them in a heat resistant bowl or pot and place them near where you will be and it’ll act as a little furnace and if you rotate them they will warm the area pretty nicely.
Note however, do not use river stones because they could have water pockets in them that will explode when heating and could hurt you.
Also, if you dress in layers it will help keep you warm.
If you are inside with no heat, bundle up in layers and put on your warmest coat, a hat to keep your head warm and gloves. Keep as much as your body covered as possible and pile on blankets. We love our Sherpa lined fleece blankets here! Super warm and comfy!
Inside Your Home
Insulate, insulate, insulate! This will keep cold air out and warm air in. Get some plastic and tape and cover every window in your home. Get a twin draft guard for your doors to keep cold from coming in under your doors or you can use old towels.
If you can shut off as many rooms as you can get by with. We like to huddle in one room with a fireplace and shut all doors except for our smallest bathroom which is off that room. This makes it easier to keep warm air just in the room we are in.
My wife has some vintage hurricane oil lamps that belonged to her grandparents that are so awesome. We have a couple newer hurricane lamps that we have bought as well over the years along with some extra bottles of lamp oil. These along with the 100 hour candles are a great source of light but they also add a little bit of heat as well.
But as much as we like our hurricane lamps, it does get a little scary when you have children around so that is why we love our LED lights. You can get them in a lantern or candles or even flashlights.
Lanterns are great the hang around the house for lighting up whole rooms and flashlights are good for walking around or looking for something specific in your home like getting something from a cabinet.
You have to have water. The last thing you need is to be stuck in a house for several days and either your water supply from the city or well stops for some reason or your pipes freeze up. My rule is to have at least 2 gallons a day per person in your home. This gives them water for drinking, cooking, washing hands, wiping down, etc.
Have a way to purify your water. You can use a Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System. This removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli and is rated up to 100,000 gallons.
If you don’t have this, you can boil your water outside over a fire if possible.
Food & Cooking
You need food as well as water to live, so you need to have plenty of non perishable foods available. Things like canned meats, bread, chips, dry cereal, fruits, etc.
If you have a camp stove or have an outdoor fire, you can cook over it. You can boil water for canned spaghetti-o, ramen soup, emergency food pouches or whatever you desire.
If you have no way of boiling water you can buy some MRE’s to eat as well.
You need to have a family communication plan. This could include people outside of your home, especially your parents or elderly neighbors who may need help. Everyone should have a way to get in touch with each other.
Cellphones need to be charged before the storm hits and you need to have a way to keep them charged such as a solar charger or a battery bank.
Two-way radio’s are great if you live near family members. These can let you communicate quickly without using your phones but the batteries wouldn’t last every long since you’d have to constantly let them run. But I had to mention them because they are great for the elderly or near by family member’s such as your parents or grown children to get in touch with you.
You will also definitely need a good emergency weather radio in a situation like this. The more features you have on it the better. Some will have USB ports for charging cell phones, flashlights and sirens on them.
Medicine & First Aid
Check your prescriptions to see if you are about out of a needed medicine before the storm hits. You don’t want to be without medicines in the middle of a blizzard or ice storm and can’t get to the pharmacy to refill.
Also make sure you have everything you need in your first aid kit. Restock anything you are out of before the storm hits.
Kids & Boredom
We all get a little stir crazy when we are stuck inside with no power (Oh no…no TV or video games!!). Brothers and sisters get snappy with one another and start picking on each other. But you can use this time to talk. Kids open up more it seems when they are bored…at least mine does.
You can also use this time to play board or card games together. You could do a puzzle together. Or read together. Just take it as a time to simply be together.
Its also a good time to go through your bug out bags and see what you don’t have or don’t need and make sure everything is in working order. Get the kids involved and let them check their own bags.
Leaving your home
If you do have to leave home, make sure your car is ready. Bundle up as well as you can. Make sure you have your car emergency kit with you.
Bring any extra blankets, stuff to make fire, food & water, and anything extra you may need if you happen to find yourself stuck and ALWAYS bring a working phone with a car charger if possible with you to call for help.
If you have been exposed to cold temperatures for a long time, watch for symptoms of hypothermia, frostbite and dehydration. Call for emergency help if you have symptoms.
Have a plan. Go over your plan with your family. If you remember Atlanta in January 2014, ice accumulated and the whole city was a mess. Kids were stuck in schools overnight and people got stuck on interstates and had to abandon their vehicles.
Some spent the night in public places and others had to stay with strangers. It was no ones fault really because it’s nature and even meteorologists have trouble predicting where exactly winter storms are going to have the heaviest snow or ice.
So if you have a plan and have a winter car emergency kit, you would be more prepared if you were the person stuck on the interstate.
If you live in an area who typically sees snow, you should not wait until you are under a warning like most people do. You should do it now before the crowds hits the stores in preparations.