Winter is upon us again in the Midwest. We just had our first snowstorm that lasted about 18 hours. However, many things can happen in 18 hours to make winter more dangerous and deadly if you are not prepared.
One of the most common things that people prepare for in the winter at home is power outages due to blizzards, snowstorms, and ice storms. Power outages can last for an hour or stay for several days. With a power outage, most people lose heat, electricity, water, and sewer if it goes on long enough. With Texas's issues last winter, we were introduced to intermittent power outages in the Midwest last for 4-8 hours at a time. A house can hold heat for a while, but humans usually don't hold heat and need to find a way to stay warm.
Another thing that can happen is just a furnace breaking down and having no heat. Having auxiliary heat sources come in handy to keep a room or a level of the house warm until the furnace can be fixed. Most people can get away with a couple electric heaters to stay warm, but you still need to have them on hand and make sure they work periodically.
Pipes also freeze in the winter causing big problems for the homeowner or the renter. Pipes can burst when this happens to cause further damage. If this happens to you, you will be without water for a few days until the pipes thaw and any repairs are made to the burst pipes. Keeping pipes wrapped with heat tape and pipe insulation is wise to help prevent this problem.
There is a lot to be prepared for, but the preps for all these situations are similar. I will give you a list of 35 things you will need to be prepared for winter and any calamities that might happen. While this list is for the home, it would be wise to make sure some of these items are also in your vehicle if you are caught in a snow storm.
35 Things You Need To Be Prepared For Winter
1. Generator, gas, and extra heavy-duty extension cords
2. Back-up source of heat: wood, propane, electric
3. Water: bottled and non-potable
4. Food - preferably easy to eat and prepare
5. Back-up cooking sources: camp stove, grill, outdoor fire pit, woodstove
6. Winter gear: heavy coat, overalls, gloves, hat, boots, scarves, face gaiters, or balaclavas
7. Shovel (preferably more than one)
8. Rock, grit, or ice melt for the walking surfaces
9. Matches and lighters
11. Oil lamps, oil, and wicks
12. Blankets and quilts
13. Hot water bags or hot wrapped bricks to warm up beds or keep people warm
14. Books and games
15. Flashlights and Battery powered lanterns
16. Batteries of all sizes
17. Solar chargers and External battery packs for charging cell phones
18. Buckets to collect snow for melting
19. Big pots for melting snow for water
20. Body wipes and baby wipes for staying clean
21. Extra gas for vehicles (be sure to treat the gas with Stabil so it doesn't go bad)
22. Extra propane cylinders for grills, heaters, and camp stoves
23. Heavy curtains and quilts to close off rooms to stay warmer
24. Wool socks to keep feet warm and dry
25. Thermal underwear/ Long johns to wear under clothes
26. Clothing layers to stay warmer
27. Sleeping bags and air mattresses so everyone can sleep in one room to stay warmer
28. Emergency toilet, garbage bags, and sawdust/kitty litter in case you can't use toilets anymore
29. Extra paper products (paper towels, paper plates, etc.) - trash can be burned. If water is at a premium, you don't want to waste it doing dishes.
30. Hand warmers and Feet warmers to keep your digits from freezing
31. Hot drinks and a way to prepare them (tea, hot chocolate, coffee) - will help you warm-up and lift your mood
32. Over-the-counter medicines, cold medicines, and vitamins - people can get sick easier when they are cold and cooped up in the house.
33. First aid kit
34. Headlamps to see easier
35. A way to cook over an open fire - if you can cook over your firepit, you will need different items like cast iron pans, a grate, and extra wood
If you have pets and livestock, you will need to keep extra food and water on hand for them. You may also need to find a way to keep them warm. An extra generator and heaters may be necessary for them.
If you have babies and toddlers, you will need to also have extra supplies on hand like diapers, wipes, and formula. I would also think about having a baby wrap to have them next to your body heat. I would also have extra infant acetaminophen and an infant thermometer on hand if they get sick.
Please be safe! You do not run generators indoors. While most new propane heaters have an oxygen sensor and will shut down if they sense low oxygen levels, you still need to use caution. You need to make sure propane heaters are rated to be used indoors and buy a carbon monoxide detector. Your need to be warm should not override your safety. Above all, please use some common sense! House fires can happen from equipment not being used correctly. Don't be the people that bring out the fire department in a snowstorm.
Most of these things are things you probably already have on hand for other situations so you are good to go. Some people move to the Midwest or the Plains from somewhere warmers and find out quickly they are not prepared. They are not sure what to get, but the name of the game is staying warm which means you need to have items on hand to get warm.
Thanks for reading,