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Are You Ready Series: Extreme Winter Storms


It wasn’t so long ago that storms such as the 2011 Snowpocalypse or the 2012 winter Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the U.S. east coast and midwest states and emphasized how important it was to be ready for extended disasters. It seems that winter storms are becoming more and more unpredictable, sometimes they are mild and sometimes they arrive in a violent fury.

Those that are unprepared to bug in [2] for days on end will have a very difficult road ahead of them. With the average household only having 3 days of food in their homes, if they find themselves ill-equipped to ride out the storm or are snowed in due to a blizzard and cannot access food or other basic needs, then they are gambling with their life. When these basic needs are not met on a massive scale, society begins to break down [3]. We saw this first hand during Hurricane Sandy when Staten Island residents were begging elected officials to help them. “We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”

Have the Basics

No one is immune from inclement weather occurring in their communities. If you live in a highly populated area, understand that resources will diminish quickly, so preparing beforehand can circumvent this. Here is a list of supplies that disappear first [4].  You can always start out with the basic 10 preparedness items you will need to skirt through a disaster:

  1. Food [5] and alternative ways of preparing food
  2. Water [6]
  3. Fuel [7] for generators, cooking stoves, and mantels, charcoal for outdoor grills
  4. Batteries
  5. Generator
  6. Emergency lighting [8]
  7. Seasonal clothing
  8. Medical supply [9]
  9. Baby formula
  10. Sanitation [10] supplies

Or, if you want a more comprehensive supply, take a look at the 52-Weeks to Preparedness [11] series. To make matters worse, the grid could go down [12]. In this case, having extra winter clothing layers [13] on hand to maintain body heat could be a lifesaver.

In case I haven’t stressed the importance of preparing before a disaster is imminent, on February 9, 2010, the Northeast was hit with a major snowstorm; and this is what the store shelves looked like then.


Source [14]

Checklists For Your Preparedness Needs

I have found that checklists are very helpful when preparing for these types of disasters. They help you visually see what you need and organize your supplies.

Family-Based Survival Plan [15]

Short Term Emergency List [16]

Winterizing Your Home [17]

Winter Items to Add to Your Vehicle  [18]

Suggestions for Preparing for a Severe Winter Storm

Let’s hope that we have already learned the important lesson of preparing for disasters before a storm threatens the area. Stay warm and stay prepared!