Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Survival Tips - Winter Survival Tips

Winter will soon be upon us and it is time to get ready. Severe winter storms can cause problems both at home or while traveling. Heavy snows can shut down roads and highways. Car and truck accidents increase as a result of icy conditions and slippery roads. Snow_storms , high winds and blizzard conditions can leave you stranded in your vehicle. Snow, when combined with high winds and extremely low temperatures, can leave you isolated in your own home. Ice storms frequently knock out utility services and can make travel next to impossible. The simple act of walking outdoors for even short periods will be more dangerous during winter storms. Winter storms are a serious threat to anyone who fails to be prepared.

Winter Survival Tips

1.) Have emergency supplies for your home and vehicle.

2.) Have an alternate heating source for your home that does not require electricity.

3.) Have sufficient fresh water and food for your family for at least a week.

4.) Stay informed about local weather conditions. Check the radio or TV for special weather bulletins and emergency information.

5.) Exercise caution when using alternate heating sources. Avoid possible carbon_monoxide poisoning by using proper ventilation.

6.) If you do have to travel during a severe winter storm be sure to check weather conditions for the route you are traveling. If you don’t have to travel – stay home!

7.) Make sure you inform a friend or relative of the route you will be traveling and an approximate time for your arrival. Inform them of any stops you might be making along the way and remember to call and let them know you’ve made the trip safely when you reach your destination.

8.) Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical shape and your gas tank is full.

9.) Try to limit your travel to daylight hours and stay on main highways. Avoid taking shortcuts or roads that were not in your travel plans. If you become stranded nobody can find you if they don’t know where you went!

10.) Be prepared for the possibility that you may have to turn back or cancel your travel plans altogether if conditions become too severe.

11.) Keep your gas tank as full as possible. This will help prevent ice in the fuel line and tank which may leave you stranded.

12.) Make sure you keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.

At a minimum your emergency kit should include:

A. First Aid Kit

B. Lighters, matches, candles or firestarter

C. Blankets or sleeping bags and extra clothing

D. A small can or pot for melting snow

E. A large can for sanitary purposes / wet-wipes / hand sanitizer

F. Container for water and water for drinking

G. A good tool kit and windshield scraper to remove snow and ice

H. Tow rope or chain, battery jumper cables, and a shovel

I. Maps, cell phone, and a compass

J. Large, brightly colored cloth that can be attached to your antenna

K. Sand or cat litter as a traction aid for your tires

L. A supply of high calorie, non-perishable food items

M. A good knife or multi-tool

While snow storms are not normally a problem in my area, we quite frequently have severe ice storms that create very hazardous traveling conditions and sometimes a lack of power due to electrical lines being down. This list is not all inclusive. You may have other things that you have done to be prepared and may have other items in your winter emergency kit. The best thing you can do is to be prepared ahead of time!

Staying above the water line!



Wretha said...

Gloves, sneakers and a blanket.

I always keep a pair of work gloves in the car, especially in the winter, something that doesn't matter if they get messed up (greasy, dirty, torn...). These came in handy when doing anything outside the car, getting fuel, checking under the hood, changing tires... kept my hands safer, cleaner, warmer and dry.

Another thing I always did was keep a blanket in my back seat, if you get stranded and have to wait in your car, you'll be glad you have it.

Ladies, this is aimed at you, but it's also a good idea for everyone. I always keep a spare pair of shoes (sneakers) in my car, if you break down somewhere and have to walk, or change a tire or do anything outside your car in a less than desirable situation, you don't want to be doing this in your best shoes or worse, in your high heeled pumps/dainty flats or some other uncomfortable, fancy shoes. Ever try to push a car wearing a 2 inch sling back pump? Nuff said. :)


Patricia said...

Hey RW, I lived in upstate NY for many years. Being stuck in your vehicle in a bad snowstorm was not rare. Smart folk carry blankets, warm socks and boots, water, peanut butter, sardines, and other oil/fat foods, hats, gloves, scarfs, handwarmers, flashlights and a host of other stuff that will help ease one through such an event. Many times there were motorists stuck on on the Thruways, which were closed due to blizzards. Many times other folk on snowmobiles had to go out and rescue motorists because they weren't prepared at all and were freezing to death. Winter is not kind, but it can be endured if you prepare.

Good post!

riverwalker said...

To: wretha

Yeah I forgot to mention gloves and good boots or shoes.
Thanks for the reminder.


riverwalker said...

To: patricia

Been to New York quite a few times, although most of my trvel took me to Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Too cold for me! South Texas gets too cold for me sometimes.


Brigid said...

Another tip, if you are able, is the automobile equivalent of a "flight plan". Being single, there's the chance that if I go off into the gigglebushes in a snowstorm, not only would no one go to look for me, there would be no one to feed Barkley. I try and limit travel after dark in bad weather but if I can't, I call a friend or a neighbor who live within a mile of my place and let them know what route I'm driving and when I am leaving. That way, should I not check in by phone on arrival, they know that's something's amiss. I also keep extra blankets, food (peanut butter, pouched tuna in oil, protein bars) and enough water for three days. I keep it IN the car. If the car is damaged where I can't open a door, having it in the trunk will do little good.

riverwalker said...

To: brigid

Don't get many blizzard type conditions here, mainly ice storms and those are bad enough. One other thing that might work is a 40 or 50 foot piece of rope - tie it to the door handle and you can follow it back to the vehicle even if you can't see it! I keep a 75 foot rope in the truck just incase I get washed off the road - floods are a bigger problem in my area at all times of the year. Also keep a couple of those long foam tube thingy's for buoyancy - floods waters are almost impossible to swin in. Thanks for dropping by.So far it's been the ladies keeing me busy with the comments. That's great!


Grumpyunk said...

Very good post on a very important subject. I got stranded once as a dumbass kid and learned my lesson. Frostbite hurts.

Marie said...

I love all these tips--both in your post and in the comments--I think they're brilliant, particularly the one about the rope. I wouldn't have thought about that, and some of the other things (keeping the food/water in the car itself) just make good sense, though I'm not sure I would have thought of those either.... :) Thanks very much!

riverwalker said...

To: grumpyunk

Serious OUCH on the frostbite! I plan to do a separate piece on frostbite as it is one of the most common and dangerous of cold weather injuries. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: marie

Great tips both in the comments and my e-mail. Plans are for a post with all these great tips in them. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

river walker,
great site, and post. the only thing i disagree with is the cat litter. i'm guilty of recomending it too, just like thousands of other preppers, but it doesn't do any good, unless you're off to rescue someone with a cat. if the cat litter gets wet, it reverts to mud. i know this from bitter experience. cat litter: bad. sand, good. chains: best.

riverwalker said...

To: irishdutchuncle

Duly noted. Your tip will be included in an update.

Cat Litter = BAD


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