Build Your Own Winter Emergency Kit

by on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM
Build Your Own Winter Emergency Kit

Regardless of how well-organized your home may be, it's important to recognize that winter brings with it a range of new seasonal challenges that you must be prepared to face. Taking the time to review your level of preparedness now could be essential to keeping your family safe, comfortable, and healthy during the colder months.

Although the level of threat you can expect to face from winter environment can vary from one State to the next, most Americans will experience some manner of extreme weather. Winter storms are capable of destroying heat, demolishing power, and cutting out communications services for hours, or even days, at a time. Having your own winter emergency kit could ensure that your family remains warm, cozy, and secure during those dangerous, and often unpredictable, winter blizzards. Following are just some of the tools you should keep around the house to mitigate disaster, and reduce risk.

1. Invest In a Sump Pump

Though sump pumps may not be the most-well known solution for preventing home-based disasters, they do form an important factor in protecting your most important asset from damage and destruction. These effective tools work by draining the water from home sub-levels and basements, ensuring that moisture doesn't have the opportunity to build and create significant levels of rot, and water damage. During the winter, periods of snowfall and heavy rain can raise the water level within residential areas, leading to an increased risk of flooding for home owners. Having a high-quality sump pump installed can provide an unbeatable form of protection.

When the weather drops to freezing temperatures, it's not impossible for pipes to burst under the pressure - leading to flooding within the basement. However, in these instances, a sump pump will immediately begin moving the water away from your foundation - keeping your home sturdy and secure.

2. Ensure There's an Alternative Heat Source

Dealing with the frustration of a power outage at any time of the year can be an annoying event, however - in the winter months, being without power or heat can be detrimental to your family, and your health. In creating a winter emergency kit, it's crucial to have a source of emergency heat available that can keep you, your family, and your pets comfortable. Some alternative heating methods include:

  • Fuel for a manual furnace
  • An Electrical space Heater
  • Dry firewood or kerosene

Regardless of what you use to keep your home warm during the winter months, it is important to practice good safety measures. For instance, kerosene space heaters can lead to damage from carbon monoxide fumes when over-used. When burning firewood, ensure that you take the proper precautions to keep your home secure and free from fire damage, by using a fireguard, and when using an electrical heater, try to opt for one with an automatic shut off, so it doesn't overheat when you and your family fall asleep. The lowest temperature you should be aiming for will be somewhere in the mid 40s, as this will ensure your pipes don't freeze, and you won't suffer from frostbite.

3. Collect Vital Supplies

An important step in preparing for any emergency situation is ensuring that you have the right collection of supplies on hand. Often, if a disaster takes place, you may need to survive on your own, and this means having a collection of food, water, and other supplies in your home.

Bad weather can easily trap people indoors, so before winter approaches, try to add some of the following supplies to your emergency kit:

  • Snow removal equipment such as shovels, and sand or kitty litter to improve wheel traction
  • Heating fuel for alternative sources (firewood, kerosene, a generator for electric heat)
  • Blankets and clothing to keep you and your family warm
  • Non-perishable foods to stock within the pantry, and plenty of bottled water
  • Batteries for flashlights, and gas for your vehicle

It's also useful to have tools on hand to make repairs when disaster strikes. You may not be able to keep all of the equipment you need around to repair a broken window if a tree branch cracks the glass during a storm, but you can have some duct-tape and plastic sheeting available to help keep cold air out, and hot air in.

Plan Ahead

Remember, one of the most beneficial things you can do in preparing for the winter is to assess your home and think about the various risks or threats that you may face if the weather becomes particularly dangerous. Once you've assessed the potential problems, you can create a plan of action to help you overcome them in a worse-case scenario, and ensure that you've stocked all of the emergency equipment you might need to care for yourself, and your family. 

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