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Growing up I can still remember my Dad doing things like covering the windows with plastic to prepare our home for winter weather. He’d start around the first of October and the work that he did usually took him right up to the very first snowfall of the year. I’m grateful for the time that he took though since our house was usually nice and toasty. The one thing I don’t recall him doing is having too many emergency plans for when winter storms blew in and growing up in Ohio? That wasn’t too hard to have happen. As an adult though, I find myself wanting to prepare for those “might” situations that could come.
Winter really isn’t that far off and once it rears it’s ugly face, snow and ice are never too far behind. What that means to you is that there is no better time to make sure you’re 100% prepared to handle that than now. Being without heat, a reasonable way to cook, lights to see by and more are all just too dangerous to really mess with with the temperatures dip. If you’re unsure of whether you’re prepared or not, take a look at the list below and get crackin! As the old saying goes, “its better to have and not need than to need and not have.”
4 Must Have Prep Items for Winter Storms
Let there be light –
This may seem like a no-brainer but it is surprising how many people do not have an operating flashlight or sufficient batteries on hand when power outages happen. One flashlight per family member with sufficient batteries for all to operate is a great place to start, but two (or three) is better. Make certain that you keep plenty of batteries on hand. If you don’t want to store batteries, you could easily go with something like a hand crank flashlight, but personally? I wouldn’t recommend it for full time lighting. When you have kids, the last thing you’ll want to do in an emergency is to sit and crank a flashlight. Candles are also important as well if you expect to be without power for more than a few days. Just be sure to keep them out of reach of children, pets, curtains or anything else that may be easily ignited. 100 hour emergency candles are a great way to go if you’re not going to make them yourself.
The other up side to candles is that with a candle and a coffee can you can keep a very small area at comfortable temps. Just be sure to vent the area well so that you don’t end up with too many fumes.
Water is life –
I can’t tell you how many times growing up that we lost water due to frozen water lines and clean drinking water isn’t something you want to be doing without. Because that is always a possibility (as is an electric water pump that won’t work because the power is out) with colder temperatures, make absolute certain that you have more than enough water on hand for everyone in your family, including pets. The general rule of thumb is 1 gallon, per person, per day. So if you have 3 people in your family and you want to store for 9 days, you’ll need an absolute minimum of 9 gallons. For pets, you can generally go by the guide of 1 oz of water, per pound that each pet weighs…and as always? It never hurts to have a bit extra kept in stock.
Keep in mind that you also need to store enough for washing dishes, bodies and flushing toilets in case the water is truly off. Hygiene and cleanliness are too important in any emergency situation to ignore.
Heating it Up –
You might have the most awesome furnace on the block, but if something happens and it stops working? You’re going to need an alternative way to heat. If you have a wood stove or a fireplace, obviously plan to use that and just make sure that you have plenty of wood for them. If you don’t have one of those though, consider a portable propane heater as your backup. Why propane? Because it will still work if the power is out due to ice.
Quick & Shelf Stable Foods –
Ever deal with a hungry kid? I imagine most of you have so you’ll understand when I say that having to do that while dealing with an emergency? Not fun and that’s putting it mildly. Instead, make sure that you’ve got a wide array of foods on hand that can be made quickly and that your kids like. When you’re storing foods, store what you eat and eat what you store (meaning don’t store beans if you don’t already like them and make sure that you rotate your food stores properly). Tuna, granola, cereal, canned chili, ramen, freeze dried meat, canned meats and meals and the like, all make great items to have on hand for emergencies. Make sure you have plenty of juices and shelf stable milk (and/or milk powder) on hand too if you have little ones.
We personally stock Thrive freeze dried foods in addition to regular canned and packaged foods. We like that they’re real foods that are quick, tasty and easy to fix. I actually use them a lot in my everyday cooking to be honest because they are good and they make my life so much easier.
In addition to having the items I’ve already mentioned, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the stuff you need for your own family. The 4 above really are “just” the basics. Things like diapers and formula for infants, books and games for kids, extra blankets and warm clothing for family members, extra batteries, extra pet supplies (food, litter, etc), and whatever else you may need. With a winter storm, you just never know how long you’re going to be snowed in for so it’s best to prepare for the longer term than it is the shorter.
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