A checklist of the most essential items in case of a winter storm
You'll find an excellent blizzard survival guide at AccuWeather, which urges families to maintain a winter storm survival kit inside their homes. In the case of a storm or blizzard watch, a few essential supplies can help to keep your family warm and safe.
The AccuWeather list is directly below. It includes fundamentals such as a flashlight, radio, and first-aid supplies. Here at Preparation Concierge, we spend our time buying and field testing equipment that you can rely on in an emergency situation. We've taken AccuWeather's list and paired it with specific brand models that we trust. It's the same stuff we use in our own homes.
1. Flashlight, extra batteries. 2. Charged cell phone; backup battery charger. 3. Battery/hand-crank radio. 4. Extra food, water, and medicine. 5. First aid supplies. 6. Heating fuel. 7. Emergency heating source. 8. Fire extinguishers. 9. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
With heavy winds and snow comes power outages, so it's critical to have reliable lighting options. Our top flashlight pick is the 5.11 EDC PL 2AAA penlight. This mighty light is incredibly bright, and just the right size to sit at your bedside. A good headlamp is also a wise consideration, as it leaves your hands free. The Black Diamond Storm is waterproof, tough, and comfortable enough to wear for long periods.
Both units take AAA batteries. Have extra ones handy. We recommend Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAA Batteries. The new-age lithium batteries operate more efficiently in extreme cold and have a shelf life of decades.
2. Power for your cell phone
If your area is on a Storm Watch, you should immediately charge up your phone. Still, it's nice to have backup power. The Anker PowerCore 13000 Phone Charger Power is the size of a pack of playing cards, has two USB ports, and can recharge a smart phone three to four times.
3. Hand-crank radio.
If your cell phone service and internet go down in a blizzard, you'll still need to keep informed about the latest weather conditions. The iRonsnow Solar Emergency NOAA Weather Radio tunes in to the National Weather Service's "All Hazards" network, which broadcasts warnings, watches, and hazards 24 hours a day. (See here for your local broadcast frequency.) The iRonsnow has a rechargeable battery, but it can also be juiced up using the included hand-crank. It even charges a cell phone using this method.
4. Water and food
When pipes break and electricity fails, water and food become priorities. In case of a sudden storm, you may not have time to go out and buy bottled water or groceries. Storing both staples is a very good notion. In the case of water, you'll want a minimum of one gallon per person, per day. The plastic containers used in bottled water aren't highly durable and take up extra space. We suggest a longtime storage option such as the 1.6-gallon WaterBrick. Each tough container has a handle, and when bought in multiples, they are designed to be stacked. Ideal for small spaces.
It's great to have snacks like Cliff Bars, RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bars, and That’s It Fruit Bars (which have no nuts). But you'll truly be thankful for a hot meal of chilli or penne pasta. Good To-Go meals are some of the healthiest and best tasting ready-to-eat meals on the market. Add boiling water to the bag, wait 15 minutes, and manja.
5. First aid kit
Few organizations know more about giving aid than the Red Cross, and its Family First Aid Kit is meant for a family for four. The hard carrying case is appropriate for home and the road. It includes antibiotic cream, a large selection of bandages, and a Red Cross first aid guide. And purchases go to a good cause. We suggest supplementing all first aid kits with additional items. See here for those items.
6. Heating fuel.
Be sure to fill up your oil/propane/etc tanks early in the season.
7. Emergency heating source.
If your heat goes out, it's nice to have a source to heat up small rooms. The Mr. Heater Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater connects to a propane tank, either a one-pound throwaway that connects directly, or up to 20-pound tank, which must be kept outside. Note: Any source of heat like propane can be dangerous because of both fire and carbon monoxide risks. Follow all manufacturer instructions, and make sure that there is a source of fresh air in your space in case of a malfunction.
8. Fire extinguishers
During storms and emergencies, it is often secondary causes which cause injuries and fatalities. Home fires are a leading cause. Fire extinguishers should be placed throughout your home. First Alert offers a four-pack of its Home1 extinguisher. It is rated to put out electrical and grease fires, and is slim enough to easily store in the kitchen. It also offers a pressure gauge to ensure that it is adequately charged.
9. Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
Being able to detect a fire or carbon monoxide early is key. We suggest having a unit that sniffs out both. The First Alert Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector is battery operated, and helpfully uses double AAs rather than the more standard 9 volt. (Change the batteries once a year.) You can also opt for a model that is hardwired into the home's electrical system, with a battery system as a backup.
About us: Preparation Concierge is devoted to emergency planning and disaster preparation. We offer our users information and advice, and a smartly curated list of gear, food, and water solutions. We do not accept advertising, so the products we recommend come from unbiased reviews. Learn more about how we test gear.