cold weather

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3 Winter Survival Gadgets Everyone Should Have In Their Car

By Kevin Danielsen – Off The Grid News

Indeed, the temperature has dropped. We’ve noticed.

This means now would be a good time to reevaluate your winter preparedness – specifically, what’s currently stashed in your vehicle to break out in case of a blizzard?

Have you stocked and loaded your favorite emergency duffle? Well, if you haven’t, then here are a few interesting ideas that might turn some gear to keep you warm. Now I won’t be discussing general winter survival or gear in this post, simply because those are some rather inexhaustible topics in themselves, but we will cover a few items that really make sense to carry during the coldest months of the year.

Continue reading at off The Grid News: 3 Winter Survival Gadgets Everyone Should Have In Their Vehicle

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By Suspicious0bservers

Alerts Heighten, Big News Day | S0 News Dec.16.2016

Published on Dec 16, 2016

You don't have to be a bunker-dwelling, camo-clad prepper to see the logic behind prepping for a blizzard if you live in a climate where they occur.:

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Few can deny the common sense behind preparing for something that is definitely going to happen, yet every year, an impending winter storm sends people rushing out to the store at the last minute, prepping for a blizzard that is due to hit in mere hours. Every winter, if you live in certain climates, blizzards are going to occur. Usually, at least one storm will hit that will cause you to be snowed in. Often, those storms mean you will also lose power. There is the inevitable rush to the store for milk and bread, during which people battle it out for the last supplies left on the shelves.

But you can avoid all that. You don’t have to be a bunker-dwelling, MRE-chomping, camo-clad prepper to see the logic behind keeping some extra food and other supplies on hand for something that happens every single year.

This year, avoid the last minute panic and the discomfort of being unprepared. This article is full of links to previous articles that will help you in prepping for a blizzard. Put together a at least the bare minimum kit for riding out the storm.  (Camo is optional.)

Water

Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a blizzard and power outage, the water may not run from the taps.  The pipes could freeze, or, in the event of grid failure, an electrically driven pump will not work.

“I’ll just eat snow.” No, this is a horrible idea. First of all, snow is mostly air, and you’d have to eat 20 quarts of it to equal 2 quarts of water. Secondly, if you eat that much snow you will lower your core temperature and put yourself at risk for hypothermia. If you already don’t have water, you have enough problems. You don’t need hypothermia. For a small amount of money, you can have a 5-gallon jug of water sitting in your closet, instead of melting snow, crouched beside a fire in the backyard, watching the pot.  You aren’t in the wilderness fending off bears. This really is not a good plan. First of all, the snow picks up all sorts of pollution as it falls through the atmosphere. The impurities can potentially make you sick. If you really get yourself in a poorly thought-out situation in which snow is your only hope for survival, boil it for 10 minutes before drinking it. Then, when the crisis is over, please store some water so you never have to do this again.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2-liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others fill the large 5-gallon jugs with filtered water from the grocery store.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well. Other filtration options are the small personal filters like the Sawyer mini or the Berkey-to-go.

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Food and a way to prepare it

Enough with the milk and bread already. Do you even consume milk and bread on a regular basis? This is really not the food you want to propel you through shoveling a driveway 17 times until the plow goes past, at which point you shovel it again.

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking. This is a good idea if you don’t have an emergency stove or wood heat.

If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.

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Heat

Freezing to death in your own home would be a terrible way to go, wouldn’t it? It’s pretty anticlimactic. There’s no grand story of adventure. You just basically didn’t have enough blankets and common sense to stay warm in a house. Don’t be that person.

During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point. If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of dry, seasoned firewood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area. If you plan to use off-grid heat methods, pick up a carbon monoxide alarm with a battery back-up. The gas has no smell, and often people who die from inhaling it simply drift off to sleep, never to awaken.

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Sanitation needs

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid scenario is the lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.  If the pipes are frozen or you have no running water for other reasons during a winter storm, you’ll need to consider sanitation needs.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.  Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)  Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handling food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for bathroom sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work  when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our old cabin, the toilet wouldn’t flush without power because the pump was electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom. At the first sign of a storm, fill the bathtub for this purpose.  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored. (Here are the complete instructions.)

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Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Candles are the first things that most people think of in the event of an emergency. While they can be a great solution, they do increase the risk of house fires. Be sure to use them safely and keep them away from children and pets.

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Other tools and supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. The good thing is, most folks already have the supplies on the “bare minimum” list. All you need to do is collect them and put them in one easily accessible container.

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  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue

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First Aid kit

You probably won’t need a field trauma kit that allows you to amputate limbs or remove a bullet, but you definitely want to have a few things on hand. It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items and over-the-counter medications.

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  • Bandages
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Disinfecting sprays
  • Pain relief capsules
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough syrup
  • Anti-nausea pills
  • Allergy medication
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • First aid book

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Special needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Prepping for a blizzard is just common sense

You can learn more about being prepared for all sorts of disasters with Tess Pennington’s fantastic and comprehensive book, The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster.

Don’t feel like you are crossing over to the tinfoil hat side by preparing for all eventualities during a winter storm.  This doesn’t mean you’re loading up on gas masks and decontamination suits. It doesn’t mean your house is stacked to the rafters with ammo and body armor. It’s just plain old-fashioned common sense to keep a naturally occurring event from becoming a crisis.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: Prepping for a Blizzard: A Practical Survival Guide

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a single mom who lives in a small village in the mountains of Northern California, where she homeschools her youngest daughter and raises veggies, chickens, and a motley assortment of dogs and cats.   She is a best-selling author who has written several books, including The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.  Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

7 Essentials You Better Be Stockpiling For Winter

Image source: Pixabay.com

By Kathy Bernier – Off The Grid News

I stay prepped pretty much all year long, but I like to turn things up a notch during winter. Where I live, the nearest major store is an hour and a half round trip. The distance to town is merely an inconvenience in summer, but winter weather can turn the commute into something stressful and even potentially dangerous.

As with many situations in life, it is the little things that can make or break the success of stockpiling for winter. Sure, whole-house generators are a nice perk—and are understandably crucial in some circumstances—but it works for me to concern myself first with the small items. The problem is that small everyday needs can be all too easily overlooked. Here is a short list of must-haves to help you start your own winter stockpile, and a few hints about fine-tuning the list for the needs of your own household.

First, remember that it is about the basics: water, food, shelter, heat, safety, hygiene and comfort for the entire household. Humans, pets and livestock will need to eat, drink and be safe and healthy. Additionally, your location or relationships might mean that neighbors and relatives will be looking to you in the event of a winter emergency, and you will want to be prepared for whatever level of sharing you are willing and able to accept.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 7 Essentials You Better Be Stockpiling For Winter

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By Kristina Pydynowski – AccuWeather

The coldest and most far-reaching arctic blast so far this season will spread across the majority of the contiguous United States next week.

Frigid air from the depths of the Arctic will plunge into the United States as the jet stream (a fast-river of air along which storms travel) drops southward.

The coldest days of next week will yield highs and lows of generally 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal from the Northwest and Rockies to the Gulf and East coasts.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Polar Plunge to Grip Majority of Contiguous US Next Week

One of the best ways to brace yourselves for the onset of cold weather, winter storms, and potential power outages is to prep your home for the season.:

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

As they say on Game of Thrones, “Brace yourselves. Winter is coming.”

One of the best ways to brace yourselves for the onset of cold weather, winter storms, and potential power outages is to prep your home for the season. And this is one of the nicest parts of prepping – quite a few of the cozy touches that you add to be more prepared are also delightful and decorative.

When summer begins to fade into fall, it’s the best time to begin preparing for the advent of winter weather. None of these tasks are particularly difficult, but they can be a little time consuming. Waiting until the last minute usually means that you’ll end up fighting the crowds who have also rushed to the store or that you’ll be going without something that could have made your power outage a lot more comfortable.

Here are a few ideas that will make you snug and safe during the cold months that lie ahead.

  1. Check your windows and doors. Make sure that they are in good condition and fit well. Drafts will not only make you uncomfortable but will let heat escape from the house. Now is the time to replace them if necessary.
  2. Reduce the draftiness of  your windows. If you can’t afford to replace your windows (or if you are a renter) you can still do several things to reduce the drafts from older windows. Caulk gaps between frames and brickwork and replace any damaged panes. If you live in an older home with single pane windows, apply window insulation film to help make them more weather tight. Finally, purchase or make fabric draft stoppers to place at the bottoms of your windows.
  3. Break out the heavy drapes.  Heavy curtains are more than just a decorative way to welcome colder weather. When you pull them shut at night, they can help to keep warm air in and keep cold air outside where it belongs.
  4. Use draft stoppers on external doors. (My favorite for doors that aren’t used all the time is this “twin” stopper that goes on both the inside and outside for double protection.)
  5. Check entrances to the attic and the basement. Treat these openings exactly like exterior doors. A great deal of heat can escape through the edges, and the cold from these unheated rooms can seep into the rest of the house if gaps are present. Seal them tightly with weatherstripping foam tape and draft blockers.
  6. Make sure you have an alternate light source in case of power outages. Solar lights charged during the day are excellent for children rooms, bathrooms, and stairways when night falls. Make sure you have a good quality flashlights for every member of the family. Headlamps are great for tasks in which you need your hands to be free.
  7. Stock up on fuel for your fireplace or woodstove. If you have a way to heat with wood, make sure you have adequate fuel,that it is cut to size, and that it is well seasoned. Dry wood produces less creosote and lessens the chance of chimney fires. I
  8. Make sure you have a secondary heat plan. If you do not have a woodstove or fireplace, be sure that you have a backup heat system. I strongly recommend the Mr. Buddy heater. It is one of the few propane devices that is rated to be used safely indoors.
  9. Get a carbon monoxide alarm.  These inexpensive devices could very well save your life. Be certain to get one that is battery-operated, because the most likely time you will need it is when the power is out. If you’re using a secondary heat method or a generator, make certain you have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  10. Do you have enough quilts and blankets? That may sound like a silly question but you would be surprised how many people move to colder regions and haven’t considered this. Take the time now to launder them so that they are fresh and clean in the event of an emergency.
  11. Make sure you have enough games and things to do. If there is a chance you will all be at home for an extended time without power, you’re going to want to keep the kiddos entertained. Children get very bored when the initial excitement of three feet of snow has worn off, especially if their usual entertainment requires electrical power or internet access. Here’s a list of 30 ways to keep them occupied. And don’t forget the grown-ups. Keep books and craft supplies on hand for the adults too!
  12. Invest in cute wooly socks and slippers. Keeping your feet toasty warm will help you maintain your body temperature in cold weather, especially if you have floors instead of carpets.
  13. Check your food supply. Do you have enough basic supplies, no-cook food, dry milk, and emergency food buckets for a couple of weeks without a trip to the store?
  14. Do you have a way to cook if the power goes out? If you have a gas-powered kitchen stove, it may still work without electrical power, but that isn’t guaranteed. Have at least one backup cooking method like a rocket stove.
  15. Make sure your snow shovel is in good condition. Repair or replace if not.(This ergonomic one is easier on the back.)
  16. Store some de-icing suppliesRock salt can help melt ice on sidewalks and driveways, and the grit provides extra traction for safer walking.
  17. Make sure you have several good sized thermoses.  You can fill a thermos with hot drinks or soup to reduce the need to reheat throughout the day.
  18. Keep lids on warm beverages. Break out the travel mugs to keep your coffee or cocoa hot for longer.
  19. Stock up on prescription and over the counter medications. Make sure you have enough necessary medications and basic OTCs to last through an extended storm. Consider also feminine hygiene products, diapers, and any special needs items that infirm family members may require.
  20. If you rely on a well, you may not have running water during a power outage. Make sure to store drinking water, and consider purchasing a water bob. These can be placed into the bathtub and you can use them to catch any of the water that might be remaining in the pipes and store it for emergency use.
  21. Check your pipes. Are pipes that are on the exterior of the house or against outer walls properly protected from the cold? If a water pipe freezes, it can rupture, causing an enormous mess (and expense) when it thaws.
  22. A power bank is invaluable to keep your cell phone charged. Not being able to communicate, especially if one parent is stuck and can’t get home, adds to the stress of the situation, especially for children. My favorite is the Jackery Bar.
  23. Make sure walkways and driveways are clear of debris. Pick up downed branches, clear off leaves, and make sure that walkways are clear. This will make your life much easier when shoveling snow.
  24. Put candles on display. Part of your fall/winter decor may include candles. While decorative, they’ll also be handy in the event of a power outage by providing immediate light. (Be sure to keep a lighter nearby.)
  25. Decorate your living areas with cozy throws. Soft, fuzzy blankets not only look inviting, but they can also help keep your heat bill down when nobody is able to resist curling up under them.

Do you have anything special that you do to make life more pleasant at your home during a winter storm or emergency? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: 25 Cozy Ways to Prep Your Home for Winter

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a single mom who lives in a small village in the mountains of Northern California, where she homeschools her youngest daughter and raises veggies, chickens, and a motley assortment of dogs and cats.   She is a best-selling author who has written several books, including The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.  Daisy is a prolific blogger who has been widely republished throughout alternative media. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health, self-reliance, personal liberty, and preparedness. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

By Suspicious0bservers

Published on Nov 7, 2016