While everyone has already gone through a series of heavy winter months in Washington State, we are still preparing for some final weeks. February is always the most brutal month of winter and as such we’d like to give a few tips as to how to prepare your home, your family and your person.
When and What to Prepare
We have an ongoing program of Disaster Preparedness in Washington State, and one aspect of that is dealing with winter problems. Taking the right precautions is key for anybody, but especially crucial for anybody that fits any of the following roles:
- Has a Mountain Home
- Goes Hiking/Skiing
- Any Offtrail 4-Wheeling or Other Activities
- Livings More than 30 Minutes from a City Center
In any of these sitatuions it can become dangerous if a winter storm separates you from civilization. Food, water, and heating can become problematic in those sitatuions, which makes proper preparation absolutely crucial. Let’s cover a few of the these in moderate detail:
While food isn’t as crucial as water or heating, it’s still important in order to maintain a positive attitude. Having canned foods that are easily opened and eaten can be the difference between a miserable time and a moderately enjoyable time. Canned and dried foods, while not luxury cuisine, can actually make for some enjoyable snacks and meals. Consider some of the following:
Dried Fruits and Nuts (Mango and Peaches dry very well)
Canned Beans (Good source of protein)
Besides heating, water is probably the most important element for holing out a snow storm/loss of power. Each person should have at least 1/2 gallon of drinking water for each day, and you should add onto that for use in hygiene/etc.
Using that simple math can make preparation easy, just take the number of people in your home, multiple it by the number of days to prepare for (say 7 for good measure) and multiple that by 1/2 gallon.
For a 3 person home, that would be equal to:
3 Persons X 7 days X 0.5 Gallons = 1o.5 Gallons
To be adequately prepared for a week long drought of water supply you should have 10.5 gallons stocked in your home. This may seem like a lot, but it’s really just 2 five gallon drums, which are available in many supermarkets.
For winter, problems such as hypothermia are much more pressing issues than dehydration or starvation. Hence taking precautions with your heating situation is crucial. This usually comes in two forms, proper clothing and proper backup heat sources.
Being prepared with proper clothes is crucial. While many people think they are prepared, actually surviving in the clothes they have is not often ideal (womens winter coats, for example, are often light, these should be supplemented by additional layers or a more winter-ready coat would be on hand). Making sure you have clothing that is made specifically for prolonged outdoors wear is a necessity.
Trying to heat your home when the power goes out can often be the cause for tragedy if not done correctly. Carbon monoxide poisoning and a killer during the winter months, as people make the mistake of either blocks a cars exhaust as they sit in it, or having a generator too close to a home (letting fumes into it). Be sure you take care to not let any fumes accumulate in your home.