During the winter months, the combination of cold weather and blistering storms could make staying warm and safe quite challenging. In the worst of situations, such as that experienced by Texas in early 2021, these kinds of conditions could make your knowledge of winter survival skills a critical necessity.
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To help ensure that you and your family are safe this winter, follow these seasonal preparation tips, and make sure that you have these essential items on hand.
How to Prep for Colder Weather
When it comes to staying insulated from the winter cold, there are a variety of tasks that you will want to carry out to ensure that you are ready to handle the harsh weather, including:
Weatherproof Your Home
Your home is your first line of defense.
Therefore, it is vital to fortify entryways and potential problem areas before they become actual predicaments. This means that it is imperative to:
- Clear away tree branches that could fall on your home during a storm and repair any leaks in your roof.
- Consider installing thermal pane windows to minimize the loss of heat inside the home.
- Caulk and weatherstrip windows and doors.
- Insulate water lines along the home’s exterior.
- Ensure the home’s walls and attic (if applicable) are well-insulated.
Have Your Chimney Inspected
Fireplaces are a wonderful way to heat a home during the winter and are excellent in the event of an emergency.
Given how wonderful (and potentially critical) these things can be, it is highly advisable to get your chimney inspected on an annual basis.
Homeowners can search the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website to find a certified professional in their area who can verify that a home’s fireplace is clean and in working order.
Install or Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If forced to use a fireplace, a kerosene heater (which is not recommended) or a non-electric space heater of some kind, it is vital to ensure that your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all properly installed and are working correctly.
Therefore, you will want to test all of these alarms around the house and replace their batteries.
Additionally, it is also wise to have a dry-chemical fire extinguisher on hand, just in case.
On that note, let’s look at some other essential items to have at the ready this winter.
Six Critical Items for Winter Survival
Should an emergency arise for you and your family this winter, there are some potentially life-saving items that you need to have ready in case things take a turn for the worse.
Some of those items include:
1. A Three-Day Supply of Non-Perishable Food and Water (At Minimum)
If the power in the area goes down, you get snowed-in, a blizzard comes through your town or any number of other less-than-ideal scenarios come to pass, you will absolutely want to have a minimum of three days’ worth of non-perishable food available for you, your family and your pets.
Therefore, it is wise to stock up on things like canned meats and veggies, peanut butter, dried rice and beans and baby food or formula if you have an infant.
You will also need a stash of potable water. When creating an emergency water supply, the CDC advises storing at least one gallon of water per person per day.
This means that if you have a family of four, a three-day supply of water will be 12 gallons.
2. A Non-Electric Can Opener
The bottom line here is that all of those cans won’t do you much good if you can’t open them.
Buy a handheld, non-electric can opener or two — just in case.
3. A Good Flashlight
Winter storms are notorious for knocking out electricity. Therefore, ensuring that you have a handful of flashlights on hand is essential.
That said, dime-a-dozen flashlights tend not to be very good and might not last very long. In which case, it is advisable to invest in a tactical flashlight that will be more rugged, put out more lumens, have a greater candela rating, feature different modes and even serve multiple purposes (like breaking glass in an extreme situation).
In addition to flashlights, it is also wise to possess a stash of batteries, candles or even portable lanterns. Just do be aware that the latter two are potential fire hazards.
4. A Hand-Crank Radio
The ability to procure information during an emergency or disaster is critical. Therefore, possessing (at the minimum) a hand-crank radio that receives AM, FM and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) channels will provide you with the means of figuring out what is happening.
5. First Aid Supplies
If you get stuck in your home, it is vital to have the necessary first aid supplies on hand in case of an accident. That said, it is wise to purchase a fully-stocked first aid kit that contains all of the essentials.
In addition to that, it is advisable to have a decent stash of OTC meds like cold and flu medicines in case anyone gets sick.
Before moving on to the next set of essential items, it is important to note that you may want to purchase a watertight case to protect some of the previously mentioned items (flashlights, radios and first aid supplies) in case the elements find their way into your home, potentially ruining life-saving materials.
6. Alternative Heat Sources
If the power in your home goes out, staying warm could be a matter of life or death.
Therefore, when it comes to heating, redundancy is key. That said, you will want to have things like a fireplace or wood-burning stove, propane-powered space heaters, a backup power generator (with the necessary fuel) or even a little terracotta pot heater.
All of these options are better than not having backups.
Stock Up on Winter Storm Supplies Now
When the winter weather sets in, you will want to have the peace of mind that, if something should occur, you have the ability to handle the unexpected.
Ensure that you handle the tasks outlined above and pick up the necessary emergency supplies to put away for this winter. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a highly unfavorable situation.