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Winter Weather Preparations

I don't care if it's extreme heat or extreme cold.....they both suck. I have lived in Michigan basically my entire life and I have experienced some pretty cold winters. Now, I know there are places that get colder but when I can walk outside with a boiling pot of water, throw it up and watch it turn to ice......I'd say that's pretty cold. One thing I have learned in my years on this ball of life is that mother nature is a bitch and the only way to deal with her temper tantrums is you prepare for them.

Your vehicle and your home are at least two places that everybody should keep weather preps. Shelter, fire(heat), water and food. Those four things are what keeps us all going. Take one away and you can turn the strongest person into a helpless child.

First let's talk about the home. You think because you have a roof over your head, blankets, food and running water that you are safe? On the perfect day I'd say yes. Being that I have lived in both rural and city I have learned many things, one being in the city the power hardly goes out. I have lived in Grand Rapids for almost ten years and I have only lost power twice (both were due to cars hitting a ground transformer). When I lived with my parents up north we lost power almost every year (some years multiple times) due to weather. When the power goes what else goes? The furnace, well pump, and refrigerator. One of the biggest things you need to worry about in a snow/ice storm is the temperature. I have spent a few nights in front of the fireplace because we didn't have power. Do some research and find a good generator. You don't need one that runs the entire home but one that can run the furnace and If you need water you can turn the breaker off to the furnace to run the well until you need to run the furnace again. What's nice about the refrigerator is it will keep food for a good day or two as long as you limit the number of times the door is opened. If the power is out longer than a few days stick stuff into a cooler and stick it outside where (you guessed it) it is cold. Nature may be kicking your ass but as survivalists we need to adapt.

Be sure to have plenty of flash lights and batteries. One thing that my mom always had around the house was oil lamps. She had as least one in almost every room and they were always full of oil. When I moved out one of the first things I bought was an oil lamp. They work great for light and they give off a little heat. Just make sure that you are not in a small area due to the carbon monoxide that is given off. If you have a gas stove you are in luck! Natural gas will continue to flow during a power outage, all you have to do is light the flame. However, if you are stuck with an electric stove then get the camping stove out.

Now let's talk about vehicles. I read at least a couple stories a year where people get stuck, lost or ran out of gas. You spend a good chunk of your life in your vehicle (besides work) and this should be as set up for a disaster as your home. Besides your home you will not do any better than your vehicle for shelter. In a winter storm it will keep you out of the worst of it. The only thing you have to worry about is staying warm. In Episode 42 I stressed layering and that concept applies here. A list of items you should keep in your car kit are:

- Blanket(s) - FIRST AID KIT - Cyalumesticks

- MylarBlank(s) - EmergencyCandles - Flashlight(s)

- Heavy Jacket - Energy Bars - Batteries

- Heavy gloves - Water - Kitty litter, sand or salt (for traction) - Winter Hat(s) - Extra Food - Shovel

- Woolsocks - Lighters, Matches - Car phone charger

- Sleeping Bag - Sweatshirts - Heavy Winter Boots

Now this list isn't perfect, I'm sure I am forgetting something and please let me know if I am. This list is meant for your vehicle, it should stay in your vehicle. Almost everything here you can use year around and it should be tested. If you go camping take the container out and use some of it, get familiar with it. All of this stuff can be bought on amazon or in almost any store. If you use something, replace it. Your water will eventually freeze being in your vehicle, keeping it in a separate cooler will keep unfrozen a little longer than normal.

Whether you are at home or in your car, surviving a winter storm is pretty straight forward black and white. It's up to you to be prepared and take care of yourself and your family. Figure out where you are lacking and fix it. Don't wait on others to help you, be self reliant. Be an asset to your family. - Andrew

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