Although winter storms can provide pretty scenery and fun for the kids, the destruction they can cause is nothing to play around with. A power outage can affect entire towns for days, picking grocery stores clean of essentials, and leaving you stranded. Being prepared can mean the difference between a dire situation or an inconvenience, which is why it’s crucial to prepare your family and your home with a winter storm kit.
Related Read: An Electrician’s Guide to Power Outages
What Will I Need In My Winter Storm Kit?
Putting together a winter storm kit is one of the best ways to prepare your home and family for the unknown. You can buy pre-made kits from websites such as Live Prepared or the American Red Cross, or you can put your own kit together. (A DIY kit is recommended if your family has specific needs such as prescription medication or infant formula.)
When putting together your own winter storm kit, you should include these basics:
- Clean water
- Emergency food
- Emergency heat
- Matches and candles
- Prescription medications
- First aid supplies
- Sanitation supplies
- Battery-powered radio for updates
- Games or books to pass the time
Do I Really Need That Much Water?
YES! Survivalist experts recommend having one gallon of water per day, per person, for at least three days.
That means having a minimum 15 gallons of bottled water stored for a family of five. You can buy drinking bottle size, gallon size, or five-gallon jugs to store your water, depending on where it will be kept.
Winter Weather Hack: Many companies also sell emergency liners for your bathtub that you can fill when a winter storm is predicted. (The standard bathtub usually holds about 100 gallons.)
Don’t Be Left In the Dark
A sufficient winter storm kit should have several methods of emergency light, including flashlights with extra batteries, a kerosene lamp with fuel, and emergency candles with matches. A battery-powered camping lantern is also useful for lighting up main living areas of your home.
Food for the Whole Family
Make sure you have enough non-perishable food items for your family, for a minimum of three days, with seven days being recommended. Include items that do not need to be cooked (like energy bars, cans of tuna, and cans of fruit). Stock up on Sterno cans for occasional cooking when the power is out. Freeze dried emergency food is also important to have on hand, as it takes up little room and lasts for 10+ years.
Helpful Hint: If you have canned foods, don’t forget the can opener!
Stay Warm During the Storm
When the power goes out, so will your main source of heat. If you have a fireplace, stock up on quickstart logs, or have a sufficient woodpile somewhere that won’t be covered by snow. If you don’t have a fireplace, keep lots of warm blankets, thick socks, hand warmers, and winter clothing to keep warm.
Related Read: Are Electric Space Heaters Dangerous?
Plan Meds Ahead
Plan ahead to have extra supplies of prescription medication and medical supplies for anyone in your family who needs it, especially things like EpiPens, inhalers, or insulin. If you run out of medication while you are snowed in and your town is shut down, a simple inconvenience can turn life threatening.
It’s also important not to forget basic first aid supplies to your kit for minor injuries. Include bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, fever and pain reducer, a cold compress, first aid tape, gauze, and gloves.
Reach for the Radio
A battery-powered radio will help you stay connected to the world outside and get updates on how disaster relief is coming along in your area. If you end up being stuck at home for several days with none of the regular entertainment devices working (No Netflix? How will you pass the time?!), card games, compact board games, books and puzzles can keep your family entertained. Good morale is important during times of trouble.
Don’t Forget Fido!
If you have pets, make sure you don’t forget them! It’s easy to forget a few things while prepping for winter weather, but make sure you prep for pets if you have them. Stock up on food and water for your furry friends as well.