8 Tips for Survival Prepping for Winter Blackouts

Be prepared and know what to do when power goes out for prolonged periods during the winter

Survival Preparedness for Winter Power Outages

How prepared are you for a long-term power outage in the winter? Do you have a winter power outage survival kit to keep you and your family warm? We’ve put these tips together to help our readers prepare.

For about a couple of years now, we have all observed rising gas prices. Recently, rumors began to circulate that various nations are experiencing a shortage of fuel that could provide homes with the necessary warmth and comfort to endure the winter.

At this time, gas supplies are already low, preventing some families from heating their homes as they normally would. In New England for example, the operators of the power grid have already warned that rolling blackouts will be necessary to conserve energy during the harsh winter.

Add to this the impending depletion of diesel supplies, which will further restrict the availability of fuel transportation, and you have a recipe for disaster that has many survivalists concerned.

Government officials and corporations have left consumers essentially on their own to figure out how to survive cold winter months without heat or electricity – telling everyone to simply conserve energy.

Therefore, you must be prepared for the worst this winter, and now is the time to stock up on supplies that will not only help you survive but also provide you and your loved ones with the comfort you need to maintain a positive mindset. Will we lose power this winter? I don’t know but it’s better to be prepared and what to do if your power goes out in an ice storm.

Anticipate Being Without Power

While many energy operators have no trouble keeping the lights on at an athletic stadium, they will not hesitate to instantly cut power to millions of American homes.

You should never rely on the CEO of a company or a government official to make a decision that will keep your home connected to the grid – not even in the most extreme weather conditions.

You should anticipate that the power will be cut off at some point during the winter. You are unsure of the duration. There could be 15 minutes or three hours. Even days may pass if the grid is incapacitated by demand.

Typically, the coldest months are December through the end of February, not October or November. This is the time when you are most likely to experience a grid failure or a forced blackout.

Certain hours will present a greater risk than others. Daytime is typically less important than evening and nighttime. This is not only when the temperature begins to drop, but also when people return from work and begin to use more electricity at home.

Therefore, you should be especially prepared to take action between the hours of 4 PM and 9 PM. Due to the earlier onset of darkness, you must have immediate access to some form of lighting in order to implement your winter blackout preparation plan.

This could involve the use of candles, flashlights, or even solar lamps that are fully charged and ready for immediate use. You should also keep your phone charged at all times, as it will have an integrated flashlight that can be used in an emergency.

Consider Everything You Will No Longer Be Able to Use.

Being prepared requires examining everything you will be unable to utilize. In harsh winter climates, heating is frequently the most pressing concern, but this is not the only issue. If the grid is disabled or shut down, you will lose much more than the ability to stay warm.

As previously discussed, you will not have any lights. In addition, you will be unable to cook with electric appliances such as your oven, stove, microwave, etc. You will also lose access to a washing machine, washer, and dryer.

It will be impossible to bathe because there will be no hot water, and it would be unwise to take a cold shower without being able to warm up afterward. In fact, some homes have their water supply connected to their electrical supply, so you may also lose running water.

During this time, there will be limited communication. You will not be able to turn on the television and watch the news to learn when the grid is expected to be restored. You will be unable to access the Internet and conduct any online research on the topic.

You may be able to use your phone, but if you do not have a solar charger, you will run out of battery quickly, rendering it useless. If you have a medical condition that requires oxygen or a machine to survive, you may be excluded from a blackout; however, if it is unplanned, you may not receive any assistance.

If you go out driving anywhere, expect it to be more dangerous. Your traffic lights will not be operational. There will be a significant strain on first responders and law enforcement, so they may not be immediately accessible.

Don’t expect to be able to swipe your card at the store or even use an ATM to withdraw cash if you need to buy groceries. You must have cash on hand or you will be unable to purchase anything to help you through the rough patch.

Start by Winterizing Your Dwelling.

Depending on the season, your home should always be in the proper condition to keep it cool or warm. The first step in weatherizing, or in this case winterizing, your home involves securing all doors and windows to prevent heat loss.

You can have insulated windows installed, but you can also install thermal window products to keep the heat inside and the cold outside.

As can simple weather stripping and caulk. However, you may want to purchase a kit that will help keep the heat inside your home. You can also find cellular shades and thermal-lined drapes to help keep warm air in and cold air out during the winter.

If you are on a tight budget, you might consider purchasing bubble wrap to place over the window and frame during a power outage to prevent the cold from entering the room.

You can also find a film that can be applied to your window to regulate the temperature inside. While this is commonly used to block out the sun, it can also be used to trap heat inside your home and maintain a stable temperature for a longer period of time.

Make sure that the weather stripping on your doors is not falling apart. If there is a gap between the door and the floor, you can also purchase a draught guard that can be placed below the door to prevent air from escaping or entering your home.

Determine how long it has been since you last installed insulation in your attic. This can help prevent heat from escaping through your roof, keeping your home cool during the summer months.

Not only should you conserve the heat you have before the power goes out, but you should also have a method of re-establishing heat in the home if the temperature drops to an uncomfortable level.

Try to discourage family members from opening and closing the door to enter and exit the home, as this is when warm air escapes and cold air rushes in to replace it.

This is also the time to conduct a safety inspection of your fireplace. You do not want to rely on your fireplace for warmth only to discover that it is inoperable when you need it most.

Ensure that you safeguard your pipes prior to the possibility of a grid failure. If your water is powered by electricity, you might not be able to slightly open the faucet to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.

Gather the Supplies Required to Operate Without Power

The next step is to stock up on supplies you might need if the power goes out. This is distinct from the food supplies, which will be discussed in the next section. You must consider what supplies will be useful in the absence of electricity.

If you have the means, you may wish to purchase a home generator. Both fuel and solar generators are available for purchase. The larger the generator, the greater your ability to power your appliances.

When dangerous weather conditions, such as a blizzard or freezing temperatures, are predicted, generators frequently sell out quickly.

You should also ensure that you have an ample supply of batteries for anything that requires them. Whether you need batteries for flashlights, a radio, or something else, you want to find good deals on batteries of various sizes so that you are well-stocked.

During a winter hazard, you may lack energy, but you have the sun in most cases. Even when the sun is not shining brightly, a solar charger can provide power to small electronic devices such as a smartphone.

There are additional solar tools you may wish to have on hand, such as a solar oven or solar cooker, which will allow you to cook food in the absence of electricity.

You should also acquire a radio so that you can listen to communications regarding the winter weather and any efforts to restore power to the grid. A survival radio can be powered by batteries, and solar energy, as well as a manual crank.

In order to see at night, you will need a variety of options, including a kerosene lamp, a solar lamp that can be charged during the day so that it can be used at night, and even candles, so long as they are used safely and properly.

Ensure that you and your loved ones, in addition to your pets, have ample blankets for warmth. You may want to purchase a winter sleeping bag rated for subzero temperatures.

Ensure that you purchase one for each member of the family. You will also have a better chance of surviving if you have an indoor tent that you can erect so that the entire family can fit inside and use their body heat to keep the area warm.

Don’t forget to stock your fireplace with wood. It is best to always have a cord of firewood on hand in case you need it, as you may not be able to find any or even leave your driveway to go get some.

Stockpile Foods That Can Be Consumed Without Electricity

The next step in preparing for winter blackouts is to stock up on foods that can be consumed without electricity or even going outside to cook. One thing you may wish to stock up on is ready-to-eat foods (MREs).

These survival kits include a flameless ration heater (FRH) that heats and keeps foods warm without the need to start a fire.

For these, you simply add water to your food and let the heating element do the rest until your food is fully heated. These are harmless and can provide you and your loved ones with a boost of warmth during a miserable situation.

You should also stock up on soups and hearty stews that can be re-heated using tools such as canned heat or even a makeshift tea light oven. If you have the proper equipment, you can cook food in your fireplace if you have a fireplace.

Ensure that you have an abundance of foods that do not require cooking. For instance, you can buy fruit already packaged in its own juices. Breakfast bars or protein bars can be useful for maintaining energy levels.

You should have nut butter, bread, and a variety of snacks on hand. Additionally, you can stock up on cereal and use milk powder mixed with water. Meat is available in cans and pouches for protein consumption.

Warm oatmeal or cereals that can be heated may also be appreciated by family members who desire a hot meal to warm them from the inside out. Any hot meal will suffice.

Be sure to also consider the beverages that your family will require and desire during a winter emergency. Warm beverages such as cocoa, coffee, and even tea can provide comfort and pleasure during otherwise difficult circumstances.

While some individuals may reach for a bottle of liquor because it provides instantaneous warmth, you should avoid alcohol when the power goes out. In freezing temperatures, it actually lowers your body temperature and can cause more harm than good.

Keep in mind that you cannot use an electric can opener if you stock up on canned goods. You must have a manually operated can opener to consume these items.

If you have an outdoor grill or smoker, you can also cook some of your perishable frozen goods so that your family can consume them before they spoil.

Don’t be afraid to feed your family simple foods that will satisfy their hunger and sustain their energy, even if they aren’t the healthiest options. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich or peanut butter and crackers can perform miraculous feats.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

If you commute or drive anyplace during the winter, it is always a good idea to keep your gas tank full. You don’t want to break down because you ran out of gas when it’s freezing outside.

However, it is also prudent to keep your gas tank full even if you are hunkered down at home and have no plans to leave. If there is a grid-down situation, you never know if and when you’ll need to make a quick trip to the store or even travel in an emergency.

If you are at home, you can utilize your vehicle to survive the harsh winter conditions. For instance, if the temperature inside your home has dropped significantly, you can hop in your car and turn on the heater.

Even though it may take a few minutes to warm up, you and your family can get a brief reprieve from the freezing conditions that are making life miserable indoors and out.

If you have a gas-powered vehicle that can be started, you can also charge your phone app. If you haven’t had the opportunity to acquire a backup charger or solar charger, you may have a phone charger in your vehicle that you can use to fully charge your phone.

The ability to start your vehicle during a blackout will also allow you to listen to the radio. If you have not purchased an NOAA weather radio for emergency purposes, you will be able to start your car and listen to local AM stations that will provide updates on the electric company’s progress in restoring your power.

Ensure that you do not start your car in the garage and then sit inside it. It must be located outside or beneath a carport to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Conserve Warmth and Hunker Down for a Cold Spell

Once you have all of your supplies, you should immediately learn how to conserve heat in your home and prepare for an extended period without electricity. You want to be able to put your plan into action as soon as you get a notice that there will be a blackout or the minute the electricity shuts off.

Ensure you have a list of all the items you must collect at that time. Begin by gathering a tent large enough to accommodate your family and pets. It should be placed on top of some warm blankets or even a large bed.

Bring your sleeping bags for cold weather and any other items, such as books and games, into the tent. These will prevent the family from becoming bored and anxious as the situation continues.

If you have not yet winterized your windows and doors, use bubble wrap to prevent draughts from allowing heat to escape through your doors or allowing cold air to enter.

You should seal off and keep as warm as possible your winter survival area as from the rest of the house. You should not strategically place your tent in the middle of a large living room in an open space home, but rather in a small room, such as a bedroom, where the heat will remain trapped for longer.

If you have an upper level in your home, you should go there to avoid the winter weather. This situation will be warmer than staying downstairs or in a basement because the heat rises.

If you have some rooms with carpet and others with wood floors, select a carpeted room so that you have an additional layer of insulation beneath the tent.

If you have received notice that the grid will be out of service for an extended period of time, such as hours or days, you may wish to start your grill or other outdoor cooking method and begin cooking the meat that thaws.

Make sure you have quick access to the snacks and foods that you will want to eat so that you don’t have to continually open and close the door to the tent that your family is staying in.

Get up and move around to keep the blood flowing and to raise the temperature of your body. It doesn’t take much – some jumping jacks or running in place is fine, or you could even play a game that involves exercise.

Make sure everyone has layers of clothing to put on. You want to be able to remove clothes if you get too hot so that you aren’t sweating and then freezing, and you also want to be able to add layers if you start to feel a chill.

You only have about 8 to 10 hours of warmth in your home once the electricity fully goes out. That’s not much time to get everything ready. Get your generator ready, but make sure it is kept outdoors so that it does not cause a buildup of carbon monoxide.

What to Do Once the Power Is Restored

Check for damaged and spoiled items once the power comes back on. You don’t want to simply continue eating foods that were in the refrigerator or freezer, even if it felt cold in your home.

Unless it was freezing inside, your food may have spoiled and you will need to replace anything that has gone bad. Keep in mind that your home may have stayed warm for up to 10 or more hours, and in that time, some of your food may have spoiled.

You should immediately go and restock all of the supplies that you went through during the winter weather. This may include survival foods that kept you fed, but it can also include things like batteries that you used, candles, and so on.

Also, take time to recharge your solar gadgets. You want everything to be charged up and ready to be used again. Typically, during winter weather spells, these winter blackouts will not just happen once, but multiple times over the course of the season.

Make sure all of your appliances are in working order, including your hot water heater. If you notice any issues in that or in your plumbing and pipes, you need to immediately call a professional to check on it so that you don’t incur long-term damage.

If anyone in your family suffered any sort of health condition from the outage, make sure you get them to a medical center immediately. Hypothermia and frostbite can come on quickly, so you may need to seek help quickly, even before the grid is restored if first responders can get to you.

Clean out your fireplace if it was used during the outage so that it will be ready for the next blackout or even a simple evening of enjoyment. Restock any of the wood supplies that you went through.

Make a list of supplies that you wish you had had during the power outage. Sometimes, you will be in the middle of a situation and then have an eye-opening experience that you were not prepared for in some way.

Immediately make a list of supplies that you need to get or actions that you need to take in case this were to happen again, and make plans to take care of those items as soon as possible so that you are well prepared before the next winter blackout.

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