Surviving a Winter Storm Without Power

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

One of the toughest and most difficult experiences you can face is a power outage during a winter storm. We often don't realize just how much we depend on electricity until it's suddenly cut out of our lives. However, if you’re prepared and have the right emergency supplies on hand during a winter storm power outage, you'll be able to stay in your home relatively comfortably, and you might even make a good time out of it. Remember, even if you live in a warmer climate like El Paso or San Antonio instead of upstate New York, winter weather can still bring freezing temperatures or unusually cold weather - especially as climate change causes more severe weather across the United States. Having your own emergency management plan in place can make a big difference when the time comes.

Preparing for a Winter Power Interruption

The best protection against having no power during heavy snow or an ice storm is to be prepared. This means you must have all of the essentials for survival, including the following:

  • Food and water: If you think you may be trapped in your home or unable to drive, you should have at least a five-day supply of water and food. Plan to have at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day, and the food should require only minimal preparation.
  • Light: Darkness can totally incapacitate you, so it’s essential to have at least three reliable light sources. This includes battery-operated lanterns, headlamps, and flashlights.
  • AM/FM/weather radio: In inclement weather, a battery-powered or crank-powered emergency radio will keep you up-to-date with the latest weather and safety reports from the National Weather Service. And it can help keep boredom at bay.
  • Two-way radio: If the phones are down and cell phones aren’t working, a two-way CB radio may provide the best chance of contact with the outside world in emergency situations.
  • Stay warm: You should try to conserve body heat. Wear warm clothing and try not to go outside.

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

Even if you’ve made all the proper preparations for a winter power outage, you still have to take several steps to ensure the safety and comfort of you and your family.

  • Operate your generator safely: A generator can provide all the electricity you need as long it’s operated sparingly and safely. Always keep gas or propane-operated generators outside or in a well-ventilated area. Other options include Goal Zero generators, which can be used safely and silently indoors.
  • Protect your plumbing: Let each faucet run slightly to help prevent freezing pipes.
  • Keep perishable food cold: If possible, put food that may spoil into a separate cooler with plenty of ice. However, you can also place your food outside in a sturdy container out of the sun. SOS Survival Products also offers a wide range of freeze-dried foods and food bars for emergencies, with a five- to 25-year shelf life.
  • Use your fireplace: If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, start a fire to keep warm. Your fireplace can also be used to boil hot water.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detectors: It’s important that your carbon monoxide detectors are functioning. This means keeping extra batteries available and making sure their batteries are always working.

Power outages during winter storms that bring extreme cold or snow are not only inconvenient and uncomfortable but also dangerous and life threatening. However, if you have the right emergency equipment and supplies and are prepared for this situation, you’ll experience few problems until electricity can be restored. To learn more, contact us at SOS Survival Products.