The United States government website on emergency preparedness recommends three key things: (1) get an emergency supply kit, (2) make a family emergency plan, and (3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. It is further recommended that you keep an emergency supply kit at home and one in each car.A minimum of three days worth of water, nonperishable survival food, a first aid kit, and clothing are among the emergency preparedness supplies you should have on hand, and they should be updated for the seasons. With winter quickly approaching, now is a good time to make sure you have supplies readily available for freezing temperatures. Add these items to your survival kits to prepare for severe weather and blizzards.
- •Rock salt to melt snow and ice•Sand for traction on ice•Snow shovel•Alternate heat source such as wood for fireplace or space heater•Fire extinguisher, as the risk of fire increases with alternate heat sources•Blankets, wool socks, hats and mittens•Warm change of clothing in case clothes get wet•Flashlight, radio, lantern and backup batteries for each
If you are using a combustible heat source indoors, ensure that there is adequate ventilation. Burning any type of fuel releases carbon monoxide, a deadly and odorless gas. Installing a CO detector is an inexpensive way to guard against accidental poisoning, and they run on battery power if you are without electricity. If using a space heater, find the type that do not have a glowing element when hot as these increase the risk of fire.
- •Studded tires or chains for traction •Drinking water•High calorie snacks•Flashlight, radio and backup batteries for each•Matches•Warm gear such as wool socks, hat, mittens and blankets•Change of clothing in case clothes get wet•First aid kit with hand warmer packets•Rope or chain for towing•Small shovel•Jumper cables•Flares and emergency flag•Sand for traction
Further prepare your car for the winter months by topping off the antifreeze mixture. It should be about 50/50 water to antifreeze, and most service stations are willing to check this for free. Replace your wiper blades and fill the windshield washer reservoir. Check your oil level, and test the charge on your battery. Keeping your car in top running condition will decrease your odds of getting stranded.Severe winter storms can cut off power and water supplies for extended periods of time, so adding extra water and food to your emergency food storage is wise. Being over-prepared is better than being hungry or thirsty.Emergency preparedness is an ongoing process. It requires maintaining and refreshing your supplies, along with attention to updating for the current season. Set some time aside before the weather gets too rough to bring your survival kits current.-Gary Jenkins-Gary Jenkins is a father and husband living in Oregon who is a wildlife rehabilitation and outdoor adventure enthusiast.