One of the reasons we decided to live in northern Idaho is that there are so few potential disasters that we have to worry about preparing for. Part of prepping is to avoid as many disasters as possible to begin with. However, we do still have to deal with the possibility of forest fires and the inevitability of snow storms, and we are rapidly approaching snow season. I don’t call it winter, I call it snow season because every year we deal with snow storms and every year we have to dig tunnels to get to our vehicles. I don’t know what the record snow accumulation was in our area but our neighbors have told us that one year the total depth at one point was 8 feet! Imagine walls of snow 2 feet or more above your head! This could most definitely turn into a disaster if you are not prepared.
Here are a few things we do and are doing to be prepared
- Our home has a metal roof, this allows the snow to slide off more easily. This year we will be purchasing a snow rake with a long handle so I don’t have to risk climbing up to the roof to push the snow off and possibly sliding off with it. If you rake the snow off, be sure to stand back far enough that the snow doesn’t land on you. There is much more weight there than you might think and you could be severely injured or buried and killed if a large amount of snow falls on you. (If your roof has been constructed to withstand an enormous snow load removing the snow may not be a big deal as long as there isn’t danger of people walking under a part of the roof where snow can fall, the snow can actually act as insulation retaining more heat inside your home. I don’t want to chance our roof being damaged so I try to remove as much as possible)
- We keep a heavy duty high quality snow shovel inside our mudroom. You don’t want to mess with a cheap one. If it breaks and you get snowed in your home you may find yourself using kitchen utensils to dig yourself out.
- Use caution when shoveling snow. When using a snow shovel always keep one foot forward and one foot back. Use both hands and center your weight. Don’t heave the snow over your shoulder, push it forward and to the side. Never push so much snow that it strains you. This will greatly reduce the risk of back injury or slips and falls. Take frequent breaks and go inside to warm up. Never over work yourself in the cold. The cold will constrict your blood vessels and normally you wont realize how hard you are working and could risk heart attack.
- Our home is well stocked with food. As preppers we’ve already made sure of this. Wife and I have over a years worth of food stored if we ration it properly…Or we can eat well and make it through the whole winter.
- We have a wood stove and firewood. One thing that is common in a snow storm in our area is power outages. If the power goes out we’re going to stay warm
- People in our neighborhood check on each other. After a snow storm you may need to work with neighbors to dig each other out. It could be days before the county road workers to clear your roads depending on how rural you are and the severity of the storm.
- All of our neighbors either have snow plows or snow blowers. Make sure your equipment runs has plenty of fuel and is working properly.
- Always keep your fuel tanks on your vehicle full. This is good prepping advice no matter what season it is. If SHTF you’re going to need all the fuel you’ve got. Money might be tight, but remember it doesn’t cost any more money too keep adding $10 to a full tank than to keep adding $10 to an empty one. Running empty all the time will also cause your fuel filter to clog up sooner with particles.
- We always have good tread on our winter tires. Studded tires only seem to work well on packed snow and ice, but in deep snow you’re going to want good deep tread on your tires, bald tires will get you nowhere. Even with good snow tires it’s also good to carry tire chains for all 4 tires, you never know when you’ll need them. Some states have laws against tire chains. I’d carry them anyway in case I found myself stuck on a rural road with lots of snow and had to use them (check your state or county laws and make up your own mind).
- Keep extra weight in the bed of your pickup or the trunk of your car if your car is rear wheel drive. The extra weight creates more traction on your drive tires reducing spin out. We use sand bags.
- We always bring a snow shovel in our vehicles in case we find ourselves stuck or high centered in snow. (The best tip is to stay at home until the roads have been cleared. My wife has even stayed in town before rather than drive home in deep snow.)
- We keep extra layers of clothes or blankets in our vehicles in case we get stranded somewhere
- Always dress warm and in layers when you go outside or on a trip.
- And of course make sure you always bring your bug out bag, updated it be more specific for winter survival, include extra food and candles. A candle can generate enough heat to keep you warm in your car if you get stranded. Also, bring water. Eating snow for hydration will lower your body temperature.