It is getting chilly outside and it’s about time to go over how to prepare for a winter storm. I have been pleasantly surprised that I haven’t lost power or been trapped inside for more than a few hours. Once, I did cook on my gas stove in the dark when the power was out for a couple hours. However, for people outside town, where power is more likely to be out, you will need to have things prepared before the storm.
Food and Water
Okay, let me start out by saying this is not a list of 50 pound bags of rice. You will not have enough for the apocalypse so if that’s what you’re after, you may as well stop reading. This list is based on the premise that you will need to get by for a week. I would start by suggesting a few gallons of drinking water handy since your pump may go out. You don’t want to end up having to boil snow just for a drink.
On the matter of food, remember that your refrigerator and stove probably won’t be functioning great. You can get by if you keep the door closed or using a friendly snow pile as a refrigerator. However, make sure that you have some food that doesn’t need refrigerated or cooked. Think sandwiches, power bars, and those tuna fish snack packs. You don’t have to go entirely with canned beans but, if you want to, now is your chance to be a hobo.
While people think of the food and water they require in a winter storm, they tend to forget their health. Make sure that you have a supply of any medications that are required. Again, keep at least a week on hand of any heart, blood pressure, or breathing medications. If you are diabetic, ask your doctor how to store your insulin in case of power outage.
Keep a supply of warm blankets and clothes on hand as well. Most heating systems are, to some degree, based on electricity and you may need to get by without heat. When I lost heat during a storm and the cat and I stayed under blankets the whole time. Warm clothes can be layered as well. If you keep everybody in one room, body heat actually warms the room quite effectively so make friends.
It may seem silly to have an entertainment section in the event of an emergency but there is only so long that a normal human can stare at a wall. You can’t watch a movie but you can keep yourself busy in other ways. Reading is popular and possible even at night with a flashlight. My family prefers the playing cards option and can entertain our group for hours with no electricity.
If you have children, try to make a game out of it. Kids are incredibly adaptable and, if you make the lack of electricity fun, they can actually be your source of entertainment throughout the storm. Kids love building forts and they could keep themselves warm by doing so. Actually, kids will probably appreciate your undivided attention and all the fun activities during a storm.
Pets need to be cared for as well. If you can bring them inside for a winter storm, you should do so. Some pets cannot be brought inside and they need a warm and comfortable place to stay as well. If you need to, sacrifice some extra towels and blankets for them to stay warm. You also need to make sure they have access to unfrozen water during a storm.
You pet also needs to have their own stash of food to last throughout the storm. If you pet requires medication, ask the vet for an extra amount so that you don’t run out. Like children, pets will appreciate all of the attention you’re forced to give them during a storm.
A Note on Generators
If you purchase a generator to give yourself power during a storm, you need to know how to use it. First and foremost, DO NOT run a generator inside the house. You will poison yourself with the carbon monoxide given off by the engine. You also need to make sure that you have a supply of gasoline in order to keep the generator running. Make sure to ask the person working at the hardware store how to run and maintain the generator properly.
If there is one thing that I can leave you with, it is the knowledge that with a little preparation, a winter storm doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This is by no means a comprehensive list of things you need in a winter storm. The problem with those lists is that, by relying on them, you won’t have what you need available. Each person will have different requirements and wants. Think about what you would need for a week not what somebody says you need. If you are prepared, you could actually find the break in life’s monotony kind of fun.