Preparing in advance for the upcoming winter is important for those who live in areas where blizzards and the subsequent power outages occur frequently. It is vital to have some stored food and water just in case you’re left without power and there is no way to get out and about, but make sure you take a few other things into consideration as well.
Some of the best foods to store for this are those that pack a nutritional punch. The foods should be filling and you should think about having enough for at least one week for each member of the family (shoot for two weeks of food if you live in an area that is regularly snowed in and the temperatures reach sub-zero). This is a short term plan that will ensure you’ve got enough quality food to get your family through a weather disaster in the winter – without digging into your long term prepping supplies. The following foods will be a good start:
- Canned tuna, salmon, Spam, etc.
- Canned Soup
- Dried Fruit
Remember, if you lose power and you have a wood-burning stove, you will keep your home warm and heat up some canned soup, however, the food in your refrigerator will slowly begin to go bad. Eat what you can from that first, and take your particular situation and the storm at hand into consideration. You may be able to place things outside to freeze so don’t lose all of your food. If you decide this is the right thing to do, don’t forget to take into account any wildlife, such as bears or raccoons either! Put your food in containers that animals cannot get into.
Depending on the length of the power outage and just how bad things can get outside, the water you have stored may not be enough. While water bricks are a great space saver and will hold a lot of water, it is possible that you could still run out in your particular situation. If you need water, melting snow will work in the aftermath of a blizzard, but a water filtration system or a Life Straw could also come in handy if you are unable to get the water to boiling.
If you lose power in the winter, you may lose your source of heat as well. If you don’t have an off the grid solution (such as a wood-burning stove), you will need to make some preparations to ensure your family will stay warm. Learn the best way to layer your clothing so you can stay warm. Make sure everyone in your home has a few warm hats, mittens and/or gloves, and a winter coat. High-quality winter boots and warm socks should also be available for everyone in the family. Stock up on wool blankets and make sure they are easily accessible. You can also make sure you’ve got plenty of hand warmers. These could really help keep everyone warm are great to have for a short term event. I also like to keep a bunch of foot warmers ready too. These are effective if you have to do chores when it’s below zero outside and will most definitely make a difference.
Stock up on candles and some lighters or flashlights so you will be able to see. If the power goes out, so does your light source.
Hopefully, this will help give everyone some ideas to get a short term winter prep plan in place. You never know when that blizzard could hit and how long it could last!
Down here in the Sunshine State we don’t worry too much about Winter except the Collages get filled up with Snowflakes and the roads filled up with Yankees. Most of our camping areas are full up all winter long with those dang Syrup Sucking Canadians who hog the whole place. Don’t git me started about the Juice from NY!
If it is Winter why not just take what’s the freezer and fridge and put it outside to stay good? DUH…
you do realize the article said exactly that..?
I live in MN. Always good to be reminded.
Winter is coming. And like Season 8 of Game of Thrones, it always sucks.
Here’s a couple of other things to consider in your “power-off, winter prepping”:
1. Go to the Dollar Store/Walmart/Discounter now and buy some solar-powered outdoor walkway lights. (Here in Louisiana, they will run $1-2 or so each–and with our frequent storms, we know about power outages.) Don’t activate the lights right now. (Activation is done by pulling on a plastic strip between the solar panel and the rest of the unit.) When a storm is forecast, activate the units, and place either outside or in a window; they’ll still charge even with gloomy daylight hours.
Although there’s no on/off switch, the lights will have a glow, generally for most, if not all, the night. The lights can be made directional by simply using a small section of aluminum foil (shiny side inside the LED housing) to partially reflect the light in the direction you want.
These are great for kids to have a little bit of light nearby, and great for adults to use in navigating a darkened house (including bathrooms which may not have a window for natural light). The light starts off strong, and will fade as the night goes on, but it still gives off a glow you can use.
Or make a “Cajun Chandelier” by placing many of them by their stakes in a quart jar weighted with dirt/marbles/etc. It’ll provide plenty of light for eating together, playing cards/board games, etc.
And, no worries about batteries, since they’re solar powered!
2. Consider spending $20-$40 for a radio that’s both crank and solar powered. You’ll get AM/FM for background music/weather, and many include NOAA weatherband reports as well. Additionally, many of these radios have their own built-in battery, and by using the battery/crank, you can keep your cellphone charged using the USB port built in; that way, you’ve always got a powered emergency contact method (assuming cell service remains available).
Using both of these has made my life without power–sometimes for days or weeks–far more manageable and comfortable!
If you have to stay inside your residence, with no power, in the winter, you’re in deep crap. For short term survival, put some throw rugs on the floor of the smallest room. Put a small tent in the room on top of the rugs. Hope you have a good sleeping bag. You should be able to make it for at least a few days. Depends on how bad the winters are in your neck of he woods. This is just the bare essentials. And I do mean minimum.
There are a couple of other simple things to do now to prepare for longer-term power outtages:
1) Buy some of the solar-powered walkway lights from the Dollar Store/Walmart/Discounter you normally use. They run a $1 or $2 each. Do NOT activate them now. (They’re activated by pulling a plastic strip that allows contact between the internal battery and the LED light.)
When a storm is forecast for your area, activate the lights, and place outside or inside in a bright window. Even on gloomy days, there’s enough light to mostly charge the battery with the solar cells.
Bring the now-charged lights inside, give one to each person in the house. Everyone now has a soft glow light to be able to see to navigate through the house, and best of all, no batteries to replace! You can also put a light or two into the bathroom(s), since many baths don’t have a window to allow light even during the day. And kids love having their own nightlight.
You can make the lights directional by simply using aluminum foil inside the housing, near the LED. Just use the reflective part of the foil to direct more of the light in the direction you want.
Here in Louisiana, we’re familiar with extended power outages due to storms, so you can also make a “Cajun chandelier”. Simply place multiple pathlights in a glass jar weighted with dirt, marbles, etc. You’ve now got a brighter lamp assembly, great for family meals, games, etc.
The glow from the lamps will lose intensity, but you still may well have a full night’s use of them before recharging the next day.
2) Spend $20-$40 or so to get a solar/crank powered radio. These are AM/FM, may include weather band reception, generally include an LED flashlight, and many now allow you to charge your cell phone from them, using the crank/solar panels.
These radios give you nice background noise during the day, updates to news and weather, and with the charging feature, allow your phone to act as an emergency contact point.
If you’re fortunate enough to have gas heat get a generator fueled by natural gas; you’re good to go with a virtual inexhaustible fuel supply. Invite your cold neighbors over.
Bingo, I have a generator and the means to connect it safely to the service panel.
I always have enough fuel to go a month, three if I really ration it. Assuming very few have generators, mine with fuel to get me through a winter should find lots of nat gas in the line assuming many can’t.
If the power failure continues, I could replumb and repurpose the water heater to heat a home space and keep us from freezing. Even if we had to move into the basement.
Most people seem to travel from heated enclosure to heated enclosure, in their cars, so do not even have the most ordinary kind of seasonal clothes, in my experience.
I have even seen this at snowy tourist traps and in places where it gets cold. They ask whether you think your winter clothes are fashionable, when there’s ice on the water!
A snotty neighbor makes fun of me for stacking firewood.
This stuff works, and I’m comfortable.
And, it’s for me. These domesticated people will not have anything to barter and will not even want to barter, in case of an emergency. They don’t consider it legitimate or valuable, on any level.