In 2016 the United States witnessed one of the most fatal blizzards ever that claimed the lives of at least 55 people and causing power outages for over 631,000 homes. This blizzard spawned at least 6 EF 2 tornadoes with destructive winds reported to be around 57 to 85 mph. There were also reports of massive snowfall such as 66 inches in North Carolina. So blizzard preparedness is something that many Americans should take seriously.
There are many causes of deaths that can be associated with blizzards. Yes, there are car accidents that could happen but a lot of times people die due to carbon monoxide poisoning when having heat sources without the proper ventilation. Others have died from hypothermia and dehydration due to water pipes freezing and preventing the flow of water.
In this post we will discuss blizzard preparedness must have gear for the home. This isn’t an extensive list but suggestions for some very helpful gear. Ultimately you of course will need to rely on your survival skills by practicing the rule of 3’s in the case that you don’t have this gear or it doesn’t work.
Blizzard Preparedness Must Have Home Gear
- Battery backup power
Now electricity isn’t essential to survival but having them will help you to produce power to some other helpful items that I will suggest. They are a good alternative to gas powered generators which are not always safe to use in enclosed areas. Thanks to advancement in technology some backup battery power sources provide enough power to use appliances such as microwaves that can be used to heat up food or water.
There are many backup battery sources on the market to choose from. However, I highly recommend Anker products because I have multiple battery chargers in my bug out bag, everyday carry bag and get home bag. Of course I have multiple Anker battery chargers at home as well.
They provide chargers from varying sizes for cellphones and tablets all the way up to larger appliances like microwaves and mini-refrigerators. The Anker PowerHouse is one beast of a battery charger that you could use to run appliances for short amounts of time. Now if your power goes out you don’t want to be hooking up everything to it all day because eventually it will run out of juice. But it should definitely get you through the storm. (Amazon)
As I mentioned gas powered generators may not be the safest option to have in an enclosed space. However, if you have a large enough space a generator will be able to provide you with enough power to ride out the storm. You again should only use this to power the essentials not your lavish luxuries such as your Xbox and 64 inch TVs so you can Netflix and chill.
Another downside of the generator is that you will eventually have to refill them. Having gallons of gas stored away is not always ideal due to storage restraints. It’s not always safe either to have gallons of gasoline stored in your garage. You should only store enough to ride you through the storm.
- Propane heater
Having an indoor propane heater is another great alternative to have with your blizzard preparedness gear. Notice I said “indoor” propane heater. There is a big difference. During a blizzard there is still the potential for house fires. Now if you have a fireplace then you should rely on that as your main source of heat just to be safe. Mr. Heater provides a great, safe option for indoor propane heaters. They provide different sizes and are portable. That way you can easily move them around to different rooms in your house. (Amazon)
- Wool Blankets
Ah the dreaded wool blanket. Our society is so pampered with the soft feeling of cotton blankets that we utterly despise the wool blanket. Many complain about the material being itchy and getting dirty easily.
However, the great thing about wool blankets is that they keep you warm. In fact they will keep you warmer than cotton blankets. They also won’t catch fire. So if you are sitting close to your fireplace trying to keep warm you don’t have to worry about embers or ashes falling onto it and burning a hole unlike cotton blankets. (Amazon)
- Fuel tablets with a folding stove
Lighting charcoal, propane or natural gas in an enclosed area is dangerous especially during a blizzard. If the grid goes down you can use small fuel tablets to cook food and heat drinks which will keep your body temperature warm. You don’t want to burn the house down just because you were craving a fat juicy steak.
Fuel tablets don’t need wood to burn. On top of that they only burn for a few minutes. So you won’t have a fire burning long after you’ve cooked your food. You should definitely have this with your blizzard preparedness home gear. (Amazon)
- Fire extinguisher
It would really suck to have your house burn down in the middle of a blizzard. Emergency services won’t be able to get to your location quickly enough to save it. That would leave you freezing in the blizzard waiting for help while watching your belongings burn to a crisp. (Amazon)
- Window insulator
During a blizzard you will want to keep the hot air inside while blocking the cold air outside. Depending on the structure of your house the windows will be the easiest way for the cold air to penetrate. (Amazon)
- Emergency Space Blankets or Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil isn’t just great for making tin foil hats but are also great at reflecting heat. Emergency space blankets have that same ability but also allow you to crawl inside of it with another blanket to keep you nice and toasty. This is ideal in case your others sources of heat go out. You can also line these on your walls inside of your house. Any light/heat that comes through your windows will reflect and build heat inside. (Amazon)
It should go without saying as a prepper you should have backup sources of light in your house let alone your blizzard preparedness gear. When the grid goes down you don’t want to be fumbling around the house desperately searching for essentials. You should have flashlights and headlamps so that you point light while using your hands and lanterns that you can place in different rooms of your house.
Having communication during a blizzard is imperative. You should have some sort of communication to check on your family and friends. This is especially true if one of them is mobile out in the storm. You will also need some sort of radio to receive communications for updates regarding the storm.
If the power grid is down during the blizzard then I would recommend having a HAM radio such as the Baofeng UV-5R. You will need to connect it to a repeater so that you can maximum connection. The great thing about the Baofeng UV-5R is that it provides a built in radio so that you can listen for updates on the storm while communicating with your friends and family. (Amazon)
- Medicine, IFAK
Again, this should go without saying but every home should have first aid kits. Especially during a blizzard you are not going to be able to make it to the hospital if someone is injured. That alone would be risking your life. It is also going to take EMT longer time to respond to emergencies.
- Carbon monoxide alarms
As I mentioned earlier, carbon monoxide poisoning is the main culprit of deaths during a blizzard. Yes, you will want to keep warm during this storm but at the same time you will want to air out your house when heating. This alarm will keep you informed of dangerous levels to keep you safe. (Amazon)
Altogether these would be my suggestions must have blizzard preparedness gear. If you have any suggestions please leave your comment in the box below. Your feedback helps the community to prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.
Photography by Matt Chan