Winter is on its way, and a majority of the United States will face at least a snowstorm or two. Massive winter storms aren’t uncommon; being prepared should be your goal. The worst time to prepare and stockpile for the next snowstorm is as it approaches.
All of the shoppers will be heading to the stores, trying to buy everything from batteries to soup cans. Instead, preparation means you will be snug at home, ready for whatever comes your way, ready to survive it.
The first thing on everyone’s stockpile list should be water. Chances are you won’t be trapped for weeks because of snow, but you want to have several days of water stored. People in snowstorm areas should be prepared to stay at home for several days.
Remember, the rule is at least one gallon per person per day. Each family should have a two week supply of water, including pets!
#2. Non-Perishable Foods
You need food for a blizzard party. It is impossible to tell if you will have electricity or not, so non-perishable foods will be your friend. Always remember to have a manual can opener on hand as well! What are good choices?
- Oatmeal packets
- Cans of Soup
- Canned beans
- Rice Packets
- Salmon or Tuna Packets
- Protein bars and powder
- Cans of Vegetables
- Powdered Milk
- Peanut butter (jelly is a great extra)
- Instant coffee and tea
#3. Camping Stove or Grill
If you don’t have a gas powered stove that would work without power, a camping stove is a great investment. You can use it while camping, so it has other uses!
If you have an electric stove, a camping stove is a necessity. Remember, the area must have good ventilation, along with additional backup fuel. You have no idea how long you will need to use it!
#4. Necessary Medications
Do you have any medications you take on a regular basis? You want to make sure that you have extra on hand if you cannot make it to the pharmacy for several days.
#5. First Aid Kit
Another item that goes along with medication is a first aid kit. You never know what emergencies you might face while stuck in your house. Some items you want to have with you are:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Cold medicine
- Cough Syrup
- Anti-nausea medication
- Allergy medication
- Anti-diarrhea medications
#6. Diapers and Baby Formula
Babies need tending during a snowstorm as well. Babies must be kept warm, and one of the most important factors is wetness.
A baby that has a wet butt may not feel as warm as he should. You need at least a week of diapers on hand. If you use formula, it is best to keep a can or two on hand during the winter.
#7. Pet Food
Don’t forget those little critters that depend on you for survival. You want to make sure you are well stocked with enough pet food for at least a week.
#8. Shovels and Snow Removal Tools
Some snowstorms can throw snow as high as your doorway. Eventually, you will need to dig out. The pressure of the snow against your door and windows isn’t safe, just like the pressure from the snow on your roof. Shovels will dig you out, and provide some needed exercise.
A snow blower is a fantastic investment. Don’t try to purchase one right the storm because the price will skyrocket. Heavy duty work gloves can also protect your hands while clearing snow.
#10. Rock Salt
You also need to have some salt on hand to keep your sidewalks and porches clear. Once you shovel off the snow, the cold weather can turn the wet sidewalks into pavements of ice.
#11. Flashlights and Batteries
In case the power goes out, you will need flashlights to see during the nighttime. Grab a few extra packs of batteries; you never know how long you will be without power!
Some lamps can charge your cell phone at the same time. Even better, how about some hand-crank flashlights, so you never have to worry about dead batteries?
Candles aren’t typically the recommended choice during a blackout to light up a room. A large percentage of house fires start because of candles. However, you might want to keep some on hand as a backup.
Make sure that you keep your candles in safe holders and that you never leave them unattended, especially with children in the house.
#13. A Form of Heat
In the best case scenario, your power will stay on during the entire snowstorm. Best scenarios don’t always play out, so be prepared to find extra sources of heat. Heat is especially vital if you have young kids in the house.
During the first 24 to 48 hours, you can keep parts of your house warm by blocking off rooms in the house for everyone. Keep the doors closed, fold blankets along the doors and cover windows.
After this period, you need a form of backup heat. You might be lucky enough to have a fireplace or a wood stove. You should keep a stockpile of dry, seasoned firewood.
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Another choice is a portable propane heater or an oil heater. However, you do need to be careful with these forms of backup heat because they could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It is essential that you keep the area well-ventilated and keep a carbon monoxide detector on hand in the room.
#14. Blankets and Warm Clothing
If the power goes out and you need to stay warm, blankets and warm clothes are a necessity. While you probably have some extras laying around, your plan should be to keep warm solely with those items.
Hooded sweatshirts, wool socks, mittens, hats, and sweatpants should be on your list, along with several blankets for each person.
#15. Matches and Lighters
You need a way to light those candles and gas-powered stoves. Lighters are the easiest choice, but always keep a few boxes of matches on hand.
#16. Fire Extinguisher
These types of situations can become dangerous quickly. A candle could tip over, or a wood stove could send embers flying.
Keeping a fire extinguisher on hand is essential. Set a reminder on your phone for the expiration date. An old fire extinguisher will not work as well!
#17. Landline Phones
Something that many people don’t consider is keeping a landline phone. If your cell phone is without service or not charged, a landline phone will still work, even during power outages! The power comes from the phone company! However, the phone must be corded. Our family has a corded, landline phone in the basement, for emergency use.
#18. Hand-Crank Operated Radio
When you want updates about the storm and relief, battery operated radio works great. Relying on wireless connections during a massive winter storm is not a wise idea.
Radio allows you to connect to the news stations without any power. Make sure that you also keep extra batteries for the radio on hand, or at least get a hand-crank one.
If you are planning in advanced, a generator is a wise investment. It can be used throughout multiple scenarios, from simple power outages to long-term Generators cost anywhere from $400 to over $5,000.
You have to consider the features you want the most. Generators must be ran outdoors; the fumes could be dangerous. Also, you will need to keep plenty of fuel on hand to keep it going.
With the power out, you have hours to sit in your home. Keep a stockpile of things for entertainment, even if you don’t have kids. Sitting for hours for anyone is boring! Card games are cheap and fun for all ages, from Go Fish to Crazy Eights.
Stores sell a plethora of board games for families and adults. Keep a stocked bookshelf with a variety of choices, along with a stock of handicrafts. Art projects keep kids entertained for hours.
#21. Hygiene Supplies
A stockpile of paper plates, paper towels, flatware, and disposable cups help to reduce the need to wash things. Without power, you want to make sure bacteria doesn’t spread.
Disinfecting cleaning sprays and wipes help to clean up the house. You also will want hand sanitizers in the bathroom and kitchen. Germs are no one’s friend!
Another thing you want to consider is if your toilets will flush without electricity; many do not! If the pump is electric, you have to consider storing water just to flush the toilet. As soon as the storm starts to majorly hit, fill up your bathtub, giving you the ability to add water to the tank.
There is another choice aside from storing water…
A heavy duty garbage bag and kitty litter can create a makeshift toilet. Kitty litter should be sprinkled at the bottom of the bag and added each time someone uses the garbage bag for a toilet. Don’t let it get too heavy, otherwise, it could rip when you lift it up.
#22. Car Supplies
Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle is essential, with items like:
- Hats and gloves for everyone in the family
- Extra socks
- Snow pants and coats
- Non-perishable food
- Water bottles
- Tire chains
- Backpacks if you need to walk and carry items
- Matches or a lighter
- Space heating blankets – mylar takes up very little room and holds heat well.
- Bag of sand
- Salt or sand to help you get unstuck
- First aid kit
- Windshield scraper
- Items for your children such as formula and diapers
Other Items to Stockpile
These items might not be considered essential, but having them on hand is beneficial. They can make clearing snow and debris easier.
- A chainsaw with extra blades – in case a tree falls in your yard
- Duct tape
- Weathering tape
- Clear plastic for windows
Snowstorms don’t last forever. Your goal is to prepare yourself ahead of time. Preparing for a storm is best done before the storm hits or even projected!
If you wait to prepare when the storm hits, chances are the stores will be filled with people in the same situation. Once the storm hits, icy road conditions make it dangerous for anyone to be out on the streets.
Bethany Hayes is a mother of three kids who has a small, suburban homestead. When she isn’t homeschooling or gardening, she might be focusing on building up their homestead or preserving the harvest.