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A Blizzard Kit For Home And Vehicle

Snowstorms and blizzards are common in northern states, and blizzards are most likely to appear where there is the possibility of extreme cold and high winds.  Blizzards differ from ordinary snowstorms in several respects – the temperature will be very low, zero or less, the wind speed will be above 35 miles per hour, whiteout conditions mean that visibility is below one quarter of a mile, and blizzards last for more than 3 hours, often going on for days, in fact.  These are dangerous storms, and can present hazards whether you are on the road or at home.

What You Will Need At Home

The high winds accompanying blizzards can often knock down electric lines, with the result that there will be no central heating and the lights will be out.  This is a time when it is important to have emergency supplies available.  Your stored water will be important now, as will emergency food. As some source of heat should be available to prevent hypothermia.  If you have a wood burning stove, even a small one, this can be used to keep the house warm.  However, a kerosene heater is another alternative heating source that can be used during a power outage.  There are no installation issues with a kerosene stove, unlike a wood stove.  Make sure that you have enough kerosene stored to keep the heater going for the duration of the storm and until electric service is restored.

Whiteout conditions will mean that it is dangerous to leave your home at all during a blizzard.  If you anticipate that you will need to go to an outbuilding during a blizzard, for supplies or to take care of animals, use a rope stretched between the house and the barn or shed to make certain that you will be able to find your way back again.  A significant number of people have frozen to death in their own back yards during a blizzard.

Your Car Kit

While some blizzards give warning before they strike, often a regular snowstorm will expand into a blizzard.  Most people work away from home, so there is a good chance that you can be caught on the road during a blizzard.  In some cases, it will be possible to proceed to your home, but very often a lack of visibility or sliding off the road into a ditch will mean that you will be stranded in your car.  The first thing to remember is never to leave the car – it is very easy to get lost during a blizzard. 

Hopefully, you will have a blizzard kit in the car to help see you through the wait.  The kit should contain water and high energy food such as emergency bars or candy bars are best.  As the temperatures will be very cold, you should have a blanket or two in the car and warm clothing.  A cell phone would be very handy so that you can call out to indicate that you need assistance.

In order to keep warm while waiting for help, you can run the car for 15 minutes out of every hour, but make sure you keep a window cracked to provide adequate ventilation.  Also check that the snow is not blocking the tailpipe, and clear it away if it is.  Tie a cloth to the car’s antenna to signal that you need help.