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Many people prepare for winter weather by putting together a winter survival kit in their car. But too few prepare an additional kit for their home, which can leave them unprepared when a winter ice or snowstorm hits and leaves them trapped there. Because preparing your house for a winter blackout is a significantly larger and more complicated undertaking than doing the same for your car, here’s a few tips to help you out:
1. Alternative source of heat
A winter snowstorm that knocks the power out will leave you with a cold house unless you have a heat source that doesn’t require electricity. The inside of your home can quickly drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit when the power goes out. In this case, having plenty of blankets and warm clothing is essential.
But you’ll also need an alternative source of heat – such as kerosene – to keep your house warm until the power returns. Always check up on your alternative heat source to make sure it is operational and clean.
It’s essential to keep plenty of food in your house for emergencies, but we all know that canned food and bottled water will not last forever. That’s why you should rotate your food and water in the pantry so you’ll always have plenty of fresh food and water available.
You also would be wise to set aside specific food for emergencies and emergencies only such as a blackout in the middle of the winter. Rotate this food out at least once every six months.
3. Flashlights and batteries
It’s very likely that your power will be out if you’re stuck in your house from an ice or snowstorm. Having plenty of flashlights of varying kinds is imperative. You’ll also need plenty of extra batteries as well.
You’ll want to have the necessary tools on hand to make any needed repairs that result from a winter storm. If the branch of a tree falls and breaks a window, it’s much more critical to fix it when it’s freezing outside than when it’s summertime. Examples of tools to have on standby include a hammer and nails, screwdrivers, heavy duty plastic sheeting, and duct tape. These kinds of tools and materials won’t allow you to build things from scratch or fix things permanently. But they should help you make emergency repairs that will hold until the storm passes.
Remember that you’re not prepared for a winter snowstorm if you don’t have snow shovels to dig your way out. Make sure that your shovels are in your home and not outside or in a shed that’s separated from your house. Have several different ones in case one breaks or so that multiple people can shovel a pathway out at the same time.
Ice and wind during a winter blackout storm can damage phone lines. But it’s unlikely that an entire cellular network will be wiped out. Keep your cell or smartphone fully charged and make sure to have a backup batter source, as well as a car charger for your phone, in case the power goes out. Walkie-talkies are a good idea as they can help you stay in contact with family and friends. Radios that run on batteries help you know what’s going on in the outside world.
6. Evacuation vehicle
If a medical emergency happens or your house is significantly damaged, you will need some type of transportation. It’s wise to invest in snowmobiles or a vehicle made to run quickly through the snow. Snowmobiles are preferable to your car in this case, because your car may be snowed in or it may not be made for icy, winter environments. Keep your snowmobile filled with gasoline, fully operational, and within easy access from your house. Ideally, each snowmobile should have a can of extra fuel, snowshoes, and a winter survival pack tied to the rear behind the seat.