Winter mortality rates have been dramatically on the rise since the last few decades. Almost half of excess deaths during cold weather happen because of coronary thrombosis. The rate rises as soon as two days after symptoms escalate due to a cold spell. Half of the other winter deaths result from respiratory diseases.
Exposure to cold rapidly increases the risk of contracting such diseases. It is important that you prioritize health and safety to survive cold weather. Stocking several essential items in advance can help you adjust to the winter months. Some of these items are listed below:
1. Food: Store food that is rich in calories and has nutritional value. It is also vital to stock foods which do not require electricity or gas to be prepared. Dehydrated meats like jerky are flavorful and a good source of protein. Canned products like vegetables and legumes provide necessary vitamins and minerals.
Make sure to stack power bars, dried fruit, and nuts so you can munch on something while stuck. Dried fruit can last for a long time when stored in an airtight container.
2. Water: Ensure that you have access to drinking water. Water shortage problems are common in areas that are affected by power loss in the winter. Large water containers are available at low prices online and can be more useful than plastic water bottles that are for single use only.
If you are traveling, do not keep your water containers in the trunk since they will freeze. To make tea or coffee, carry insulated water bottles which are easy to stack.
3. First Aid Box: If you haven’t already, prioritize getting a first aid kit prior to the arrival of winter. It is useful both for indoors and while traveling. Some essential items which should be there in your first aid kit include plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointments, safety pins, and disposable gloves.
4. Medicines: Evaluate medicine needs of your family members and purchase non-perishable ones for your winter survival kit. When weather conditions are extremely bad, it may be difficult to procure medicines.
Medicines include allergy medication, cough medicine, painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol, and others depending on your personal needs. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers in case of a medical emergency like a stroke, accident, or a heart attack.
5. Toiletries: Basic toiletries are first to sell out before any disaster strikes which is all the more reason you should get them in advance. Stack enough toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and personal hygiene products for yourself and your family in your survival kit.
6. Power Source: Most places that experience heavy snow or blizzard may encounter power failures. In such cases, it is good to invest in an alternate power source. A backup generator can be found in many homes.
You could also keep a power cord which you can connect to your vehicle’s electricity. You may also have a backup battery to power your phone or use a device which helps you generate your own power.
7. Blankets: You need an adequate number of blankets to keep you and your family members warm. Consider getting a Mylar blanket. These are lightweight and portable blankets which can be folded and kept in tight spaces. Mylar blankets are made of plastic sheets which can retain nearly 90% of our body’s heat. They are also affordable and will be very handy if you are snowed in.
8. Warm clothes: When faced with damaging winter weather like a blizzard, you cannot only rely on your fleece jacket. Get yourself a heavy parka or fur coat. Invest in a pair of durable and waterproof boots. Use mittens and scarves to protects your hands and neck.
9. Shovel: Stack a shovel for cleaning out snow. Buy one that is lightweight and has a length comfortable for you to use. Keep one in your house and one in your car for cleaning when you are at home or on the road. Make sure you are buying one that will easily allow you to lift and remove snow.
A quick tip before using a snow shovel: spray the top of the shovel with nonstick cooking spray. This will help the snow to slide right off after being picked instead of getting stuck at the tip.
10. Light sources and batteries: Flashlights operated by batteries or cranks are useful additions for your winter survival kit. They are portable and can help you see in the dark in case there is a power outage. Flashlights are also safer to use than candles.
Make sure your flashlights have batteries installed. Keep extra sets of batteries since natural light will be your only source of light in a power outage.
11. Radio: Radios can provide you with updates on the weather and other announcements that will keep you in the loop of what is happening around you. A radio is also a source of entertainment which you can use to survive hours of boredom. Get a radio that is powered by batteries or solar energy. Check your car’s radio intermittently to make sure that it is operational.
12. Tools: When you are stuck at home for a long time due to hazardous weather conditions, you may have no help in getting repairs done. It is helpful to stack a set of tools which will come in handy should you need to fix things around the house. You can get a toolbox or one device containing different tools which can be easily carried around.
Essential tools which you want to keep are pliers, duct tape, tarp, and a knife. Pliers, bottle openers, and screwdrivers are also helpful.13. Freeze alarm: Having a freeze alarm handy will alert you if your home has lost power before you walk into it. A freeze alarm sounds a few times to tell you if the temperature in your home has dropped lower than your surroundings. It will also indicate if the power has gone out. It will help you strategize on how you can equip yourself to deal with the challenges inside the home.