Prepping for Extreme Cold

Here’s the story at Arctic Cold Blast Continues; Wind Chill Alerts For Over Half U.S. Population

The combination of wind and cold air is leading to dangerous and potentially life-threatening wind chills Wednesday over a large part of the Midwest. Wind chills have dipped as low as 54 degrees below zero in Grand Marais, Minnesota, Wednesday morning.

Unlike the arctic chill that ended 2014, this cold blast will bypass the West and plunge south and east, bringing below-freezing temperatures all the way to the Gulf Coast by Thursday morning.

Some tips on prepping for extremely cold weather:

The most dangerous time to be without electrical power is during winter, especially when the temperatures are particularly low. If your house loses power and heat, the interior temperature falls gradually. So you’ll be OK for a number of hours, but not a number of days. The house might be able to maintain a temperature of ten degrees or so above the exterior temperature, but not much more than that.

If the power grid goes down, call the power company on your cell phone and report it. They might not know about your outage if the source of the outage affects relatively few houses.

Another cause of lost home heat is a problem with your home’s heating system. It may be worth the price to have the company that installed the system do a routine maintenance and cleaning, to reduce the likelihood that the system will stop working in winter.

For sleeping, you should have a cold-weather rated sleeping bag for every member of the family. Bags are rated based on the outdoor temperature range at which the bag will keep you warm, supposing that you are fully closed in the bag and in a tent. So you have an advantage in using the bag indoors, but you still should wear warm clothes in the sleeping bag. The bag I keep at the ready is a Coleman, rated at 20 to 40 degrees F. Where I live, temperatures in winter usually hover just above or below freezing. I can always add a blanket or comforter on top of the sleeping bag. But if you live in a colder clime, consider a bag rated for lower temperatures.

A tent can be set up indoors, during the day, to help keep warm. Body heat and the warmth of your breath builds up, making the tent warmer than the surrounding room. Using a tent indoors to keep warm.

Obviously, a fireplace and a cord of dried wood would be an excellent resource. If your home has no fireplace, you might want to consider adding a free-standing wood burning stove. The old Franklin stoves (with modern improvements) are still available for purchase. Some models have a burner for cooking food, boiling water, etc. This prepping item is expensive and should be professionally-installed. But we are not talking here about prepping for an apocalyptic event. The power can go out in winter for a number of reasons, even for an extended period of time, without any long-term disaster as the cause.

But what if you are stranded away from home, in your car, during a cold snap? Something as simple as keeping your gas tank filled can better your chances of survival. You can run the car to provide heat. You have to be concerned about the possibility of carbon monoxide gas in the vehicle cabin, but a recent model car that is well-maintained should not leak exhaust into the cab. Make certain that snow does not build up and block the exhaust pipe.

Items to keep in a car survival kit: wool blanket, non-perishable food items, road flares, snaplights (glow sticks), a backup battery device for a cellphone.

– Thoreau

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