Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Prepper's Guide to Evacuating or Staying


As preppers, we like to think we can live through and survive anything. We are tough. We are prepared!

However, there is a reason we have and talk about bug-out bags and 72-hour kits incessantly. We want to be prepared if we should have to leave in hurry for any reason. While we want to stay in our prepper palaces, sometimes that is not feasible.

What should be the criteria for staying or going in an emergency situation? Why would you leave your prepper stronghold? You have spent hours making this place the prepper palace that can withstand almost anything. Why would you leave? What could make you leave?

The short answer to these questions would be common sense and safety. 

If you have the warning and opportunity to evacuate, you should be strongly considering evacuating. With most of our current natural disasters, adequate (usually more than adequate) time is given for evacuating. We have top-notch weather warning systems and weather prediction systems in place to tell us when bad weather is going to appear, how bad it will be, and what you should do to be safe.

In a number of prepper online groups, you will see responses like "Nothing will ever get me to evacuate" or "Why would I leave" or one of my favorites "It is never as bad as they say it will be". First of all, ask anyone who survived a hurricane or other natural disasters how bad the experience was. Ask how they felt when they saw the rising waters and realized they couldn't escape. Ask they about the panic they felt when they realized they were in danger. Second of all, would you seriously put your loved ones and yourself in that kind of danger for your pride?

So what should you do? If this is before a disaster is going to occur and you know you are in the path, you need to evacuate. Forget all the nonsense about your location and your perceived confidence in your ability to survive. Common sense dictates that you need to leave for the safety of yourself and your loved ones. You are in the path of danger and you should leave as soon as you can. Part of prepping is being safe and practicing good survival skills. You are not being safe if you are willingly putting yourself in the path of danger just to see how well you will survive.

If you are worried about your home and your possessions, staying home while in great danger will not save your home or your things. If you are under mandatory evacuations, if you are not forced to leave your home then, you will run the risk of having no help and no emergency personnel to rescue you. You will run the likely risk of having no power, no cell service, and no internet to even reach out for help. If you have a landline phone, that may not work either depending on power and phone lines.

Staying home while in the path of danger and destruction is not a wise choice and most people will not think of you as a survival hero if you do survive. Most people will wonder how you survived and why you didn't leave when you could have. You will probably also be dealing with the physical and mental fallout of staying in such a traumatic situation. Staying when you have the chance to leave is usually not a wise choice.

What happens then if you are suddenly thrust into a dangerous situation or have no warning that something bad is going to happen? What happens when a storm suddenly becomes a very dangerous situation? What happens if you are suddenly hit by flash flooding or worse? A wildfire suddenly switched directions and is headed your direction?

You need to evaluate and assess. You need to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What is the situation? 

2. How dangerous is the situation?
3. Did you or are you being asked to evacuate? Is evacuation mandatory?
4. Will you be able to leave - safe/unsafe routes, traffic congestion, state of the roads, roadblocks, etc.? 

5. Is your life (and your family's lives) in immediate danger or can you wait out the initial panic? 
6. Will you be able to even travel - health, gasoline/diesel availability, state of the vehicles? 

Your ability to leave may be hampered by a lot of things and it is important that you gather as much information as possible before making the decision to leave after the disaster or emergency. You may not be able to leave at all. You may be able to make contact with someone to see if the roads are safe or what the situation is down the road. You may be able to call emergency personnel to see how bad the roads are or listen to emergency management dispatches for updates on the situation. Again, common sense and safety should rule your decisions, not fear or pride. 

As stated before, if you have an adequate amount of time to leave before a disaster and you know you are in the path of danger, you should leave as soon as you can. I know people will say to wait it out or that they will never leave, but I wouldn't want to be in that kind of danger. If you have no warning before a disaster then you need to evaluate and assess.


Some of you will stay no matter how bad it is or will leave at the very, very last minute. However, if you are truly in danger or do not see a way to save yourself, call for help immediately!

Either way, you should always be prepared to leave. If you do not have dedicated bug out bags, now is a good time to start putting them together. You need to think about what you need to survive for 3-7 days or until you get to a location where you can stay and restock. To me, bug out bags are not wilderness survival bags. They are a way for you to stay alive, fed, hydrated, and clothed until you get to where you are going. There are many great lists on the internet for what you should have in your bug out bags, but here again, common sense should rule. Also, you need to make sure you can carry your bags on your back if you need to. Do not overload your bags or the bags your kids will carry.

You should also make sure your vehicle is ready to leave. You should have emergency supplies in your vehicle along with a good first-aid kit and medications, water, food, sleeping bags/blankets/pillows, jackets/coats/ponchos, and anything else you or your family might need. If you think you might forget something (and you probably will), make a list and keep it with your bug-out bags and in your important documents. When you are in a hurry, you can forget a lot!

The choice is generally yours as to whether you want to stay or evacuate, but no one will want to hear about your death if you did not choose to be safe. You will not be a hero if you stayed in a dangerous situation and was not killed by it. Most people will not be impressed that you put your loved ones in danger because of your pride. You and a very select few others will be the only ones impressed with your ability to survive an avoidable situation.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
Preparedness on the Cheap: Evacuation Plans Part 1
Preparedness on the Cheap: Evacuation Plans Part 2


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stuck In Your Vehicle During A Snowstorm? 13 Things You Need To Do To Survive!


During a snowstorm, it is possible that you will be in the ditch or stuck on the road. You might hit an icy patch and slide into the ditch. You might hit a drift in the road and become stuck. You might have had some confidence you could make it home, but the snow is too high and you are stranded on the road. 

You could be leaving work and hear that the roads will be closed at 5:00 p.m. The snow is piling up and you are already hearing the roads are bad. The wind started blowing and the snow is sticking to the roads now. The roads are slick and snow plows are trying to keep up, but the snow is coming down too fast. The road departments are going to pull the plows off the road pretty soon. 

You decide to try to get home. You have surely driven in worse weather before. You know you need to go slow and watch out for the other drivers. You get a few miles out of town and notice some cars in the ditch. You think they must have been going too fast. You keep the speed down, but you are starting to have problems seeing the road. All of a sudden, you slide around on the road and start spinning in circles. You find yourself in the ditch very quickly. 

Now what do you do? 

1. Call for help. You should always make sure your cell phone is charged and this is one of the reasons why. If your insurance has roadside assistance, call them and see if you can be towed. You can call 911. You can call your favorite tow truck company. You can do a Google search quickly for local towing companies. You can turn on your location setting for your phone to find the closest towing companies and any other help you might need. 

2. Call a family member or friend. You should let someone know you are in the ditch. When you are going somewhere in the winter with potential snow and ice forecasted, you should always let someone know where you are going and when you should be expected or at home. If you end up in the ditch or stuck on the road, please let someone know. They may worry about you, but someone will know that you are still alive and awaiting help.

3. Keep an eye on the gas tank. This is winter and your gas tank should always be above half full, but sometimes that doesn't happen. You should make sure you have enough gas to keep the car running and stay warm. 

4. Run the car at intervals to stay warm. You should run the car at 15 minute intervals to stay warm. Always crack a window when running the car to avoid any carbon monoxide poisoning due to a plugged or blocked exhaust on the car. 

5. Do not leave the car unless help has arrived or is just across the road. Do not try to get help on your own unless you are very close (within 200 feet) to a house or farm place. You can easily get stranded in the snow if the snow is too high or you are on unfamiliar ground, risking hypothermia and frostbite. If you are in danger, use your best common sense. Leaving the car could put you at risk also.

6. Use your hazard lights on your car to signal for help. You should keep some roadside flares in your car to signal for help also. 

7. Do not use your cell phone more than you need to. Unless you can keep charging your phone in your car without wearing down your battery or carry a portable charger, keep the phone use limited. You want to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and help. Keep some word search puzzle books and reading material in the car with you to keep you entertained and off your phone.

8. Stay warm. Do what you can to stay warm while waiting for help. Use a blanket, keep a hat on your head, gloves on your hands, and use hand warmers and foot warmers to stay warm. Run the heat on the car for 15 minutes on/15 minutes off to stay warm. Keep boots in the vehicle if you are not already wearing them to keep your feet warmer.

9. Keep hydrated. When you leave home, you should have a full water bottle with you. Keep sipping on the water and stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to bad decision making, health issues, and other problems which you can not afford to have in a situation like this. 

10. While you may only be stranded for 1-2 hours, plan on being stranded for longer. Tow bans can and do occur when the weather is bad enough and travel is not advised. If you are traveling and know the roads are closed, find a place to stay in town or stay at home/work. If you are traveling on closed roads, they will not come for you until the next morning or at their convenience. You could be stranded for several hours even with no tow bans. If you do decide to travel in bad weather, fill your tank with gas, buy some bottles of water, and grab some snacks. You may need them further on down the road. 

11. Use your vehicle emergency kit if you need to. You may need all those things or you may not need anything, but please use it. 

12. Stay aware and be ready to defend yourself. While most people are well-meaning and want to help you, there are people who just like to prey on the helpless. While you are in a situation needing help, you are not helpless. Be ready to defend yourself against those who would do you harm and be weary of anyone you do not know. Your life could depend on it. 

13. Do not try to dig yourself out or get yourself out of the ditch. Even with 4x4 or all-wheel drive, you may end up getting yourself even more stuck. Snow is pretty soft and you can sink in the ditch pretty far trying to get yourself out. If you get stuck on a drift, you may be able to back off of it. However, most people are "hung up" on the drift because they lack the tire traction to get back off the drift. If you are stuck in snow too high, you will need to wait for the snow plow to go by and still might need a tow truck to pull you out. Either way, wait for help and have them help you get out instead of getting more stuck. 

These are the main things you need to do to survive being stranded in your vehicle during a storm. Your top priorities to stay alive are to stay safe, warm, dry, and hydrated. You don't know how long you will be stranded and you need to be ready for anything. As always, use your best judgment and common sense to stay alive!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 15, 2016

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere!)


Winter can be brutal in the Midwest. The wind blows like crazy, the temperature drops with only an overnight notice, and the snow can really mess things up! 

For example, this is today's and this weekend's forecast:




Just lovely, eh?

However, I am here to help you stay warm, dry, and hopefully safe. Winter can catch people off guard. They aren't dressed properly, do not have the right gear with them, and can totally underestimate how cold they can get. Some people can get caught in these conditions by taking going in the ditch during bad road conditions, having a vehicle break down on the side of the road, or having a car not even start due to the cold conditions. 

20 Tips For Surviving Winter in the Midwest (or Anywhere):

1. Always have and wear insulated gloves, a hat that covers your ears, and a scarf. These three things go a long ways towards staying warm.

2. Wear a good heavy coat. This should go without saying, but I see so many people without them!

3. Wear layers. It is easier to peel off layers when you are warm then to put them on when you have to in an emergency. Today I am wearing a tank top under a long sleeve shirt with a fleece vest over the top. I am pretty cozy right now. Think about adding a thermal, another long sleeve shirt, or a sweatshirt would work too. 

4. Wear good, warm, heavy socks. Warm socks can make all the difference in keeping your feet warm and keeping your body temperature up. What kind of socks you wear is your choice. I like a good cotton pair, but wool is also very good. If your feet are still cold, there is no shame to wearing two pairs of socks. 

5. Wear a good pair of boots or insulated shoes. Really, warm feet help keep the rest of your body warm!

6. Take care of your skin. This might sound girly, but dry, cracked lips, hands, and feet are no fun in the winter. You feel even more miserable and the cold will just makes things worse. Use a good lip balm, thick lotion for the hands, and petroleum jelly or heavy foot cream for your feet. Taking care of your feet will also make your socks last longer! 

7. Use flannel sheets on the beds. Trust me on this one. A warm bed is great in the winter! You can turn down the thermostat at night and everyone can stay toasty warm. If people are getting cold, add blankets to the beds and tell them to wear more layers!

8. Use blankets. To keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, get out the blankets. Have 1-2 blankets on every piece of furniture that can be sat on or laid on so people can cover up. Also, put on some layers of clothes. Winter is not the time to run around wearing shorts in the house!

9. Have a vehicle emergency kit in the car. Weatherize it for winter. Always keep a blanket (or 3) in the car. Be prepared in case you are stranded anywhere. Always carry water and snacks with you. 

10. Keep an eye on the fluid levels in your vehicle. Use windshield wiper fluid designed for freezing temperatures. Do not ever let your anti-freeze get low. Get regular on the oil changes. By keeping the fluid levels in your vehicle up, your vehicle will run better and your risk of being stranded goes down considerably.

11. Develop some indoor hobbies and tackle the indoor DIYs. Really, for me, winter is the most boring time of the year. So I tackle the indoor stuff. By keeping busy, time goes faster, your mood will be better, and you will feel great getting some stuff accomplished!

12. Know where your indoor emergency supplies are and how to use them. We rarely lose power for longer than eight hours, but some people can lose power for days. Knowing where our heater is, keeping the propane cylinders full,  and being able to use our camp stove for cooking helps make life more comfortable when we do lose power. 

13. Keep some containers filled with water. The last thing you want to do is to melt snow for water if the power goes out. I keep 2-3 five gallon containers filled with water. I also keep some miscellaneous containers filled for flushing toilets and whatnot. Just remember to check the containers and refresh the water every year. 

14. Always let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. Cell phones are a wonderful thing until they run out of battery. If you are going shopping an hour away, let someone know. If you get stranded, someone will know because they will realize you aren't back yet. 

15. Now is the time for hot, hearty meals and drinks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are always good warmers. Beef stew, chili, and casseroles make good, filling meals that will keep you warm inside. Prop the oven door open when you are done cooking to add heat to the house while the oven is cooling.

16. Keep up on the vitamins. Keeping up on the vitamins and supplements in the winter will be very beneficial to you. For example, Vitamin D helps the immune system, helps with winter blues, and keeps your body strong and healthy. Vitamin C helps the immune system and keeps your body healthy also. 

17. Pay attention to the weather forecasts. I know there are wrong sometimes, but they can be scarily accurate too. People can be so brave and say things like "it's just a little snow" or "the weatherman never gets anything right". However, there is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the highway or in a ditch because you are stuck and there is a towing ban until morning. Pay attention to the forecast and give it the caution it deserves. 

18. Keep the house stocked up on food. So many people make last minute runs to the grocery store before a big storm. While it is good to get a few essentials, keeping the house stocked on food means you don't need to run to the store. You are ready to be stuck at home for a few days or weeks without having to go anywhere. Another tip: keep easily re-heatable food on hand like canned soup. 

19. Keep the vehicle's gas tank full. Do not let your gas tank get less than half. If you are stuck anywhere, then you should have enough gas to run the vehicle until help arrives. 

20. Spend time with others. Seriously, the winter seems never ending in the Midwest. We know Spring is coming, but in December that seems a long ways off. Spend time with friends and family. The conversation and the laughter is a very good mood booster which will help greatly with the Winter blues. 

What do you do to cope with the Winter? How do you survive the Winter?

Thank for reading,
Erica


Monday, October 31, 2016

16 Ways To Stay Warm This Winter & Not Have To Crank Up The Thermostat


Winter is barreling down the tracks as we speak! Since it always promises to be a cold winter here in the Midwest, I thought I would share some tips and tricks to stay warm this winter and not have to crank up that thermostat!

Saving money is more important than ever now so if you can find ways to keep the bills low, you can save even more money! Before you start these tips though, you and your family need to agree on a minimum and maximum temperature you are willing to keep the house. Make a sign to put by the thermostat and set the settings in the thermostat. This will help keep your heating bill consistent.

16 Ways To Stay Warm This Winter & Not Have To Crank Up The Thermostat

1. Wear clothes! I know this is a given, but I know people who can't understand why their heat bill is so high. They are wearing shorts and a tank top in the house with their heat at 80 degrees! What?!?! Wear some layers, put on some socks, and you will stay much warmer without having the heat so high.

2. Get your furnace and heat system checked out. Just like you, your heating system needs a good check-up every 1-2 years to make sure it is running smoothly and efficiently! If you have a propane system, make sure you get a leak check done on your tank and regulators so you are not losing propane in the air. Be sure to always change your filters on a regular basis. 

3. Layer up your beds. Make sure you have blankets and quilts for the beds so you can add more layers to the bed to stay warm without having to turn up the thermostat.

4. Turn down the thermostat overnight. Most people sleep better in a cooler environment anyway but keeping the thermostat turned down also saves you money. See #3 and wear some more clothes to bed to stay warm!

5. Shut off the rooms you are not using. If you have rooms that you are clearly not using and nothing in them will freeze, close off those rooms. Turn the registers to close and keep the doors closed so you are not heating those rooms.

6. Put plastic on the windows. This saves us a tremendous amount of money. I recommend doing the north and west facing windows for certain, but we try to do all the windows if we can. We have a bay window that is just a drafty pain in the neck so it has plastic almost all year around.

7. Use extra heaters or baseboard heat. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out. If you have rooms that you are using that the heat does not reach well through the vents, shutting off those vents and putting a heater or electric baseboard heat in the room will keep it warmer. Your furnace will not have to work so hard to heat that room thus saving you money.

8. Keep moving! We get rather sedentary in the winter. We sit on the couch, covered in blankets, and wonder why we are so cold! Time to get moving! Working out, keeping the house clean, and taking care of those indoor projects will help get the blood moving and keep you warmer!

9. Eat hot food and drink hot drinks. It makes sense, doesn't it? If you eat warm, hearty foods, you will get warm. If you drink hot drinks to warm up, you will stay warm.

10. Light some candles. They add warmth to the air, great ambiance, and cover up the funky air smell in the house. You can also make some clay pot warmers to add some more warmth to the room.

11. Wear a hat in the house. You will stay warmer if the head is covered. You really do lose body heat when you have your skin or head uncovered. Wear a hat and you will stay warmer.

12. Make sure the windows are closed and the doors stay close! We have storm windows and we use those babies all summer. The breeze is great! However, money will just go out the window if the windows are properly closed. Make sure the storm windows are closed and the windows are closed/locked in the proper position.

And yell at the kids for not closing the door. You have my permission!

13. Fill in the gaps and block the drafts. On a breezy day this fall, take a walk around your house inside and out. If you see some gaps outside, fill them in with caulk or expandable foam. Inside the house, look for fluttering curtains. Take a match along the outside walls inside your house and look for the flame to flicker or go out. Address the drafts. Either do #6 or fill in the gaps if you can. Also, using a draft blocker on the bottom of your doors will keep the house warmer too.

14. Hang heavy insulated curtains that are designed to block drafts and keep the house warmer. They really do help to keep the house warmer.

15. Use hot water bottles and hot bricks covered in towels to help warm up beds and bodies at bedtime. Getting into a warm cozy bed is the best thing ever. Getting into bed with cold sheets is not the best thing ever. Waiting for those sheets to warm is torture! Putting a hot water bottle or a hot brick covered with a towel into the bed to warm up will help you stay warm!

16. Snuggle with the one you love! Cuddling with another person helps you both warm up and create more body heat! Some of you are very anti-cuddling (and I get that, trust me!), but winter is the time to put aside your personal preferences and help your partner stay warmer. You will also be saving money which might help this idea seem like a better one!

I know some of you are going to say "put in a wood burner!" which is a lovely thing, but some people cannot put them in. Apartments, rentals, and some insurances are completely against the idea. However, if you can, do consider it!

These are all ways we use to save money while staying warm in the winter. What do you do to stay warm in the winter?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Printfriendly