In many places around the country, winter is a brutal affair. Freezing cold temperatures, slick surfaces and unpredictable storms make winter living challenging—and oftentimes dangerous. When it’s possible to see a winter storm coming, stocking up on supplies becomes an issue. People swarm the stores and grab whatever they can find.
Winter comes every year, and even though this year may not be the same as last year (it could possibly be a lot worse), that doesn’t mean preparing for the cold weather has to be a chaotic event. Knowing what winter essentials are necessary will ensure that you have them on hand when the snow or below-freezing temperatures trap you in your house.
1. Bottled Water
Water is one of the most essential items you need to live. Thus, if the weather turns nasty and your pipes freeze, you still need to be able to get this important element. Keeping a supply of bottled water on hand will ensure that you have what you need to survive. It’s recommended that you stock enough water for 3 days and have one gallon of water per person.
2. Nonperishable Food
After water, food is the next most important element of survival. When it comes to winter essentials, you want to stock up on items that will last for a long time. This will include items such as jerky, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts and canned goods, including plenty of soup to keep you warm. If you’re so inclined, you might even consider getting nonperishable packaged meals. This will ensure you have the nutrition and energy you need to outlast even the worst winter storms.
In addition to having nonperishable foods, it’s also a good idea to stock your cupboards with other options. If you know a storm is coming, run to the store and grab some fresh bread, fruits, peanut butter and oatmeal. These will keep you full and healthy until you can get out of the house again.
You might even consider getting ingredients to bake cookies or other treats. This might seem like an unnecessary addition to your food stores, but using the oven to bake these items is a great way to add some extra heat to your house—as well as pass the time while you are trapped inside.
3. Flashlight and Batteries
If the storm gets bad enough, it might knock out the power. Since the days are shorter during the winter, they get darker sooner. Thus, having at least one flashlight and extra batteries is a great way to ensure that you have the light you need to navigate through your space. In addition, this can also be used to signal your location to rescue teams, if that becomes necessary.
You might also consider stocking up on candles during this time of year. Like flashlights, these will provide necessary light, as well as a small amount of warmth. Don’t forget to have matches or lighters handy to keep these candles lit.
4. Extra Warmth
If a winter storm does happen to knock out the electricity, you aren’t going to have your furnace to keep you warm. Thus, it’s a good idea to stock up on extra blankets, as well as space heaters that run on propane. You might also consider getting a gas-powered generator to keep your home warm.
5. First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen unexpectedly at any time. If you are trapped in your house with no way to get medical attention, then having a first aid kit can help. Getting one that has all of the essentials, including gloves, antiseptic spray, gauze pads, Ace bandages, scissors, ibuprofen and tweezers, is recommended. You have the option of buying these kits pre-made, or you can put one together on your own.
6. Wireless Radio
If you have no electricity in your home, then you won’t be able to turn on your TV or use your radio—unless you have a battery-powered or crank radio. This will ensure that you know what’s going on outside of your home.
7. Phone Chargers
Just because the electricity is out, that doesn’t mean your mobile phones won’t work. As another way to stay informed about what’s happening, or to call for help if necessary, make sure you have extra chargers for your phones. It’s a good idea to keep these charged and ready to go, so you might consider having a set that is used for emergencies only so that their power doesn’t get drained.
When it comes to entertainment, you’ll want to stock up on things that you can use if the power stays on and if it goes off. Things you can do if the power stays on include watching shows and/ or movies on TV or playing on your phone or other devices.
If the power goes off, then having a deck of cards, some board games and a stack of books will come in handy. You can also make up your own forms of entertainment, including creating stories with your family or friends, where each person tells a part, or you could even ask “would you rather” questions.
You should also consider doing some exercises while trapped in the house. This will ensure that you stay warm and keep active, both of which are important to get you through the cold.
9. A Cuddle Buddy
Having someone to cuddle with during the winter not only gives you comfort, but it allows you to share body heat. Your cuddle buddy could be a member of your family, a close friend or even the family pet. Having a buddy around can help you stay sane when trapped inside during the winter.
In many places, winter can be an incredibly trying time. If you find that you get trapped inside, you need to make sure you have the essentials to get you through until you are able to venture out. These items will also keep you warm and sane during the coldest time of the year.