Surviving Winter Storms: A How To Guide

Snowy and cold has been the forecast for my state this year, with the Northern part of Utah digging out from under 28 inches of the greatest snow on earth,  even as I type.  We are at about 150% of average snow fall here, with more on the way.  This is a big change from the last several years of drought,  prompting me to compile a list of the best posts on Simply Preparing on the topic of  Surviving Winter Storms.

Surviving Winter Storms Safely

Clothing

I always have to grin when recent transplants from warm weather states realize that they are actually going to need a warm coat to survive winter storms with below zero temperatures.

1.  Learning how to dress in layers for winter weather is a must.

2. Don’t let your body heat escape into thin air.   These behind the head earmuffs are my favorite and don’t make me feel like a five year old when I’m out in the winter weather.    But you may be more of a beanie sort of person.

3.Gloves  You’ll need winter gloves that are warm,  water proof, moisture wicking and will allow you to work out doors too.

4. Winter Boots   I have a pair of KEENS that I adore.  They give my feet the support they need, while keeping them warm too.

5.  Insulated snow pants.  Maybe a pair of thermals to go underneath.

6.  Wool Socks  I remember first thinking that wool socks would be so uncomfortable.  The first thing I think of when I think of wool is rough and scratchy.  Plus, who wants to hand wash wool socks.  Then I found Smartwool.  Soft.  Warm.  Machine washable.  Your goal of surviving winter storms will be much more comfortable when your feet are dry and warm.

The Ultimate Guide To Surving Winter Storms

Surviving Winter Storms Without Electricity.

1. Your chances of losing power during a winter storm are pretty high.  Having a Propane Space Heater will allow you to heat the inside of your home safely.

2.  Firewood.  If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove,  make sure you keep an extra cord of wood available to burn.  You’ll also need a good axe for splitting wood and chopping kindling.

3.  Wool Blankets.   Far superior to cotton or fleece at keeping you warm, wool blankets are a must have for surviving winter storms without electricity.

4. Hand Warmers.  I buy these by the box and stash them everywhere.  Little bits of bliss, I’ll tell ya.

Food

Surviving winter storms requires  you having a stock of non-perishable food items to last for a while.  Granola bars and shelf stable milk for breakfast.  Peanut butter and whole grain crackers.  A can of black beans mixed with a jar of salsa scooped up with tortilla chips.

If you heat with a fire or a wood stove you can heat up canned soups and stews.  In a real pinch, you can even eat these foods straight out of the can.  Just make sure you have a good can opener on hand!

You can also purchase MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) that come with their own single meal use heaters.

Don’t forget the bottled water.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.

Sanitation

At the first sign of a winter storm, fill the bathtub up with water to use for flushing toilets. Add the water to the tank so that, if necessary, you can flush.

Another option is to get a box of the black contractor grade garbage bags. Place a bag in your drained toilet. Sprinkle some kitty litter into the bottom of the bag. Every time someone makes a ‘deposit’ into the black bag, add another scoop of kitty litter. You’ll be able to tie the bag securely and then store it outside until your services are restored.

A Guide To Surviving Winter Storms

Let There Be Light

The last thing you want is to be caught in the dark while surviving winter storm. Fortunately there are a lot of lighting options to choose from.

Camping Lanterns

Flashlights    At the price of this top rated Outlite A100, you can afford for each member of your family to have their own light source!

Candles   Don’t forget the matches!

Staying Safe Outside

1.  I’ve seen many people trying to remove snow from their roofs after a snow storm.  Make the job easier and safer with a roof rake.

2.  Ice Melt  Used for porches and sidewalks to keep them free from ice.

3.  Kitty Litter.  Yup.  Plain old non-clumping, non-scoopable, gravel kitty litter will help provide traction under your car’s wheels and down those front steps.  Can’t find this type of kitty litter?  Grab a couple of bags of sand.

4.  Snow Shovel/Pusher.

5.  Snow Scraper with Brush

 

Preparing for any possibility during a winter storm is simple common sense.  Don’t be part of the herd racing out to the grocery store in hopes of grabbing a loaf of bread and a carton of milk before the flurry flies.   Take the fear of of winter storms by being prepared before hand.

What things to you to do to prepare to survive winter storms?

 

Don’t forget to review Simply Preparing’s List of 11 Things To Do Before A Winter Storm!

 

Plan on traveling during the winter months?  We’ve got you covered. Check out our post on   Last Minute Winter Emergency Road Trip List

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Top 10 Oils For Prepping

If you don’t yet have a stash (or a hoard) of essential oils, now is the time to start stocking up. Things are changing in our ability to access health care and you want to be able to take care of your family in non traditional ways. To that end, here is the top 10 oils for prepping and how to start building your stockpile of essential oils. Unfortunately there are so many things that I am not allowed to share about oils due to regulations. So it is my hope that using what I can say below leads you to peak your curiosity about oils and starts you on your research journey.

top 10 oils for prepping

Thieves Essential Oil

I add 1 drop of Thieves to a cup of warm water as part of my wellness regimen.*

Top 10 Oils for Prepping: Thieves Essential Oil

RC Essential Oil Blend

I diffuse R.C. to create a comforting aroma.

Top 10 Oils for Prepping: RC Essential Oil Blend

Panaway Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Panaway Essential Oils

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is great when used as a dietary supplement to support healthy digestion*. It’s so perfect and convenient to just add 2–3 drops to my water.

Oils for Prepping: Peppermint Essential OIls

Stress Away Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Stress Away Essential Oils

Frankincense

I apply Frankincense topically to help smooth the appearance of healthy-looking skin.

Oils for Prepping: Frankincense essential oil

Copiaba Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Copiaba Essential Oil

Digize Essential Oil Blend

Oils for Prepping: Digize Essential Oil Blend

Lavender Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Lavender Essential Oil

Lemon Essential Oil

Oils for Prepping: Lemon Essential OIl

All of the above oils are available in Premium Starter Kit that includes a diffuser. While the diffuser is not practical in an emergency situation the oils can all be used on their own and are small enough to pack in your Bug Out Bag, ESPECIALLY the sample sizes. Oils are not inexpensive but when you know how to use them the cost is more than justified in your prepping. Please do not buy “cheap” oils that you find in big box stores or possibly adulterated versions online. This is your family you are investing in.

THE 2015 YOUNG LIVING PREMIUM STARTER KIT CONTAINS:

    • Young Living Diffuser-you get a choice between the Home, Dewdrop Diffuser, Bamboo Diffuser, Raindrop or Aria Diffuser (price ranges but starts at $160-Home diffuser may be substituted for the Dewdrop based on availability). Hint: if you have problems with your hands opening items it may be best to choose one other than the Dewdrop. I have the Home, Bamboo and Aria and I love them all. If you want a basic one to get you started the Dewdrop or Home is a great choice. If you want a beautiful show piece for your home, you are looking for either the Raindrop or Aria.
    • Lavender Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Young Living Thieves Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Copaiba Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Purification Essential Oil 5 ml
    • DiGize Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Peppermint Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Frankinscence Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Young Living Lemon Essential Oil 5 ml
    • R.C. Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Panaway Essential Oil 5 ml
    • Stress Away Essential Oil 5 ml
    • 10 Samples packets of essential oils which are perfect for traveling or your purse!
    • Ningxia Red sample packs so you can taste this Wolfberry blend for yourself.
    • Young Living Product Guide

Get $25 back When You Purchase a Young Living Premium Starter Kit

Because I feel so strongly that you need to buy yourself some books or apps for your phone to learn how to really use your oils I will give you a $25 refund via paypal when you buy a kit so you can buy more educational materials or additional oils. All of that information is below. Once you buy your kit, you automatically become a wholesale member which gives you the ability to buy all your oils at 24% off retail.

Additional Oils You May Want To Use Your Refund On:

  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree
  • Manuka
  • Helichrysum
  • Hyssop
  • Myrrh
  • Lemongrass
  • Valor
  • Peace and Calming
  • Cedarwood
  • Deep Relief Roll-on (the roll-on blends are perfect for Bug Out Bags)
  • Breathe Again Roll-on
  • Tranquil Roll-on

young living dewdrop diffuser kit

HOW TO GET A DISCOUNT ON YOUNG LIVING PREMIUM STARTER KIT

If you are ready to buy a Young Living Starter Kit all you have to do is click the button to order your new kit below! Then email me (address in picture above) with your paypal address and I will send you the $25 within 72 hours-easiest Young Living sale ever! You MUST use this button (and buy the kit the same month you sign up) or make sure that my referral information (1926067) is in the boxes as shown:

How to sign up for Young Living

Buy Young Living

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Preparing for the Outdoors: The Ten Essentials

If you are planning to spend any amount of time outdoors, it is critical that you make sure you are prepared for anything. Recreational activities like camping, hiking, and backpacking are great in order to get out and enjoy nature, and they can be fun for the whole family! However, emergency situations can and do happen in the wilderness, and if you are miles from civilization, the chances of survival largely depend on you and your gear. In order to be prepared for a trip out into the woods, make sure that you are familiar with the Ten Outdoor Essentials.

ten outdoor essentials when preparing for the outdoors

The Ten Outdoor Essentials is a list of items you need in order to enhance your chances of survival if an emergency situation occurs. Ideally, these items need to be brought on every outdoors excursion. After all, being prepared is better than being sorry. However, as you grow more familiar with the list, you can modify it to fit your needs. The Ten Essentials is helpful to approach as a number of different systems. When preparing for the outdoors the Ten Outdoor Essentials are:

  • Navigation – A map is a must have on any hiking or camping adventure. You need to know where you are going and how to find your way back. It is also helpful to take a compass and know how to use it to orient yourself. Topographic maps are extremely useful for backpacking and going off-trail. A GPS can be a helpful tool, although it should not be relied on only. *We have a great post on how to prep a map for your family for you to follow up with.

  • Sun Protection – Sunscreen and sunglasses will protect your skin and eyes from the harmful effects of spending time outdoors. Be sure to reapply sunscreen often and pick one that has a SPF of at least 30.

  • Insulation – Even if you don’t plan to be outside for a long period of time, it is always helpful to bring an extra layer of clothes like an insulating jacket and hat. The weather can change rapidly in the wilderness, and hypothermia is a real threat, even in the summer.

  • Illumination – A headlamp or flashlight can come in handy in just about every situation. Headlamps are preferred because they are lighter, use LEDs, and free up your hands. Just be sure to pack extra batteries. *We love this little tactical flashlight.

  • First Aid Supplies – A good first aid kit should include supplies to treat everything from blisters, scrapes, upset stomachs, bug bites, and aches and pains. You might even want to include a splint and latex gloves for broken bones or other serious injuries. First aid kits come preassembled or you can build your own emergency kit.

  • Fire – If you find yourself stranded in the woods, building a fire could save your life. Invest in some waterproof matches and be sure to include some sort of tinder or firestarter like dryer lint. *Make sure you teach your kids how to start a fire as well.

  • Repair Kit and Tools – Handy if your gear is in need of repair, a knife or multi-tool is a must. They can also be good for food preparation and a variety of other things. A good repair kit also includes sewing needles and thread, patches, adhesive, and safety pins.

  • Nutrition – Be sure to bring extra food so you can give your body the energy it needs. Jerky, energy bars, and dried fruit are all easy-to-carry items. *Dehydrated apples are a tasty choice that you can make inexpensively at home.

  • Hydration – Keep your body hydrated by making sure you have extra water. Bring a water bottle or hydration reservoir in order to have plenty. If you are going to be in the wilderness for an extended period of time, you will also need to find water sources and a way to treat water.

  • Emergency Shelter – Recommended even for day trips, an emergency shelter can keep you warm if you find yourself having to spend the night in the woods. Emergency shelters include space blankets or a bivy sack (Amazon affiliate link).

What are your essential items when preparing for the outdoors? What items did we miss? 

*Notes with additional resources added by Barb.

How To Make An Emergency Road Trip Kit

An emergency road trip kit can make or break a family trip. Besides the essentials for a mechanical or health emergency, an emergency road trip kit should contain things that make your family comfortable and happy in case of the little bumps along the road, like unexpected delays or fun side stops. Remember: prepping is about preparing for both the little things and the big ones.

State Farm sent me a tote bag containing a Road Trip Safety Emergency kit for a recent road trip I took. It sure saved the day as our 2 hour drive turned into an unexpected 6 hour drive. Here is how you can replicate this.

How To Make An Emergency Road Trip Kit

emergency road trip kit

 

  1. State Farm suggests drivers keep a an emergency car kit like the one pictured here that is good for all purposes Road_Side_Emergency_Kit
    • A reflective hazard warning sign (this one’s a carrying case)
    • Jumper cables
    • Ice scraper
    • Tire pressure gauge
    • Ratchet set
    • Pliers
    • Screwdrivers
    • Electrical tape
    • Automotive fuses
    • Work gloves
  2. You don’t need to have something as fancy as this Hadaki bag, but it sure is fun! Any tote that zippers and holds all the contents of your kit is just fine.
  3. Sunblock and Bug Spray. Great for those unexpected side trips that can occur!
  4. First Aid Kit
  5. Roadside Emergency Kit
  6. Flashlight 
  7. Bottled water. I like to keep a whole case in the trunk as well.
  8. Snacks. Some with higher protein and some just to keep your spirits up.
  9. Baby wipes.
  10. External battery pack for your charger.
  11. Road Atlas. See how I plan to use maps in an emergency. This is a great time to make notes on what’s around you when you travel.

For tips on how to winterize your emergency road trip kit please visit this post.

There are many other great road trip safety tips available but I want to hear from you. What’s in your emergency road trip kit? 

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Emergency Radio Review: Ambient Weather WR-111A

An emergency radio is an essential part of every households disaster and emergency preparedness supplies. I decided to do a video review of my new favorite emergency radio after purchasing the Ambient Weather WR-111A from Amazon. I hope it helps some of you looking for a new model or gets you thinking about buying your first! For roughly $40 this one can’t be beat in my opinion.  This little guy is perfect for a bug out bag, a car and any household. I love that it can be charged by both a hand crank or solar power, serves as an emergency phone charger and has a 3-LED flashlight.

The link above does provide a really small commission to the site if you purchase it but I don’t have any relationship with the company. Just was really impressed with it for the price and hope if you don’t get this one, you do at least have one model for your family.

Do You Need a Tactical Flashlight For Your Bug Out Bag?

I’ll admit it. I didn’t get the hype on buying special tactical flashlights for emergency use. My house is stocked full of the big plastic ones with the D cell batteries. After reviewing this Nebo 5160 SE Redline, I am a total convert! Everyone needs to have a tactical flashlight in their Bug Out Bag and as a part of their survival gear. Instead of boring you with all the details in writing, I decided to just bite the bullet and show you how the Nebo 5160 works.  Presenting my first video review here on Simply Preparing:

As I mentioned in the video the folks at Gunner Security were awesome in helping me. They sent over the flashlight for me to check out and have one for a lucky reader here to win. I had no idea that they sold things like flashlights, holsters, knives and lasers. I will be getting my CCW in a few weeks and I plan to check out their holsters a little more seriously then. A little birdie told me pink range bags may be coming soon!

So, would you like to win one of these for your Bug Out Bag? Here is how (This giveaway is closed):

At $34.49 these would make excellent holiday stocking stuffers. I know you love to support small family business as much as I do so consider buying one of these tactical flashlights from Gunner Security for someone you love and want to be safe!