The United States has averaged nearly 20 blizzards per year since 1995. These are intense weather events, which can leave entire communities without water and power for days. It’s also not always clear when exactly a blizzard is going to strike.
That’s why it’s so important to keep yourself prepared for blizzards if you live in an area that’s impacted by them. We created this article to help you do that, regardless of whether you’re at home or on the road.
Keep reading to learn more about how to prepare for a blizzard.
We’ll dive into each of the following points in more depth throughout the article. But, for now, here’s a high-level look at the most effective things you can do to get yourself ready for a blizzard.
- Stock up on essentials
- Invest in a reliable backup source of power
- Create a family emergency plan
- Keep your vehicle prepared for winter weather
- Stormproof your home
- Put together a car safety kit
- Know what to do when a blizzard arrives
A key part of your preparation for blizzards is making sure that you have enough of what you need to survive in the event that you can’t get to a store. A blizzard survival kit should include non-perishable food, drinking water (since your pipes may freeze), and basic medical supplies.
Here are some good food items to keep on hand for a blizzard:
- 3-day supply of drinking water
- Trail mix
- Canned soup
- Peanut butter
- Protein bars
- Dry pasta
- Hot chocolate mix
- Canned beans (great for protein)
- Pet food
On top of food and drinking water, you will also want to have some basic supplies at home. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Prescription medications
- Ibuprofen or aspirin
- Personal hygiene products
Keep these things at home and your family will be well on its way to being ready for a blizzard.
While preparing for a blizzard, the goal is to give yourself the ability to be completely self-sufficient for a few days if you need to be. A big part of that is making sure that you have a reliable source for backup power.
Our power stations are available in lots of different sizes, so you can pick one that satisfies your energy requirements.
For example, our Explorer 1500 will power a mini cooler for 26 hours or an electric grill for 75 minutes. So keeping one charged at home (or in your car) could let you continue enjoying your favorite foods even during a blizzard.
When something serious like a blizzard happens, it can be difficult in the moment to wrap your head around exactly what your family should be doing to stay safe. That’s why the federal government recommends that families create an emergency plan.
Your emergency plan should detail:
- How you will receive emergency alerts and warnings
- What your shelter plan is
- How you will evacuate your home if necessary
- How you’ll communicate with your family members if some aren’t with you
- What you plan on keeping in your emergency preparedness kit
Thinking ahead like this is important because it gives you a clear playbook to follow when a blizzard happens. That way, the decisions that you make are logical and well-planned instead of spontaneous and driven by emotions.
Keep Your Vehicle Prepared for Winter Weather
Part of preparing for blizzards is making sure that your vehicle is reliable enough to make it through one. You may not end up needing to use it if you can hunker down at home. But blizzards are unpredictable. You could be on the road or need to go pick up a family member somewhere when one strikes.
So as you think about how to prepare for a blizzard at home, don’t forget your car. Take it in for a winter tune-up at the start of the snow season. Make sure your defroster and heater are working. And create a second winter preparedness pack for your vehicle (more information on what that should include is in the next section).
It’s also smart not to let your gas tank get too low during the winter. That’s because traffic during the winter months can get very slow unexpectedly. And when that happens, your gas tank could deplete faster than usual.
Winter storms can be unpredictable. So as you think about what you should do in case of a blizzard, you definitely want to make sure that you have a winter kit ready to go in your vehicle.
The Farmer’s Almanac has a great list for this. Here are their minimum requirements:
- Blankets, mittens, socks, and hats
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- First-aid kit
- Bottled water
- Road flares or reflective triangles
If you’re really worried about what effects should someone expect from a blizzard, then you can put even more items in your vehicle bag. This can include:
- Non-perishable food
- Sand (to give your car traction)
- Tow straps
- Sleeping bags
- Hand warmers
- Snow shovel
- Anything else that could be useful in the event that you get stranded in your vehicle in the snow
As you think about what to do before a blizzard, storm-proofing your home is another important step to take. There are a variety of home-improvement tasks you can do now so that you don’t have to worry about how to survive a blizzard when one comes.
Start by weatherstripping your doors and windows. You can also insulate your pipes, caulk any airflow gaps, and have your heating system inspected at the start of the winter.
Part of preparing for a blizzard is knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when one actually arrives. Here are some blizzard tips to get you started.
Being on the road during a blizzard is extremely dangerous. It increases your chances of hypothermia, accidents, and death. That’s why you should only travel during a winter storm if it’s absolutely necessary for you to do so.
Examples of necessary trips include going to a winter shelter, picking up a stranded family member, and seeking medical attention if it’s needed.
Sometimes blizzards strike unexpectedly. If you’re on the road during a winter storm, there are things that you can do to keep yourself safe.
First, don’t exit your vehicle. You will quickly become disoriented in the wind and snow. And the last thing that you want is to get lost in the middle of a blizzard.
Second, run your motor for about 10 minutes every hour for heat. You will also need to clear the snow from your exhaust pipe to avoid gas poisoning.
It’s also important for you to make yourself visible to rescuers. You can do that by keeping your interior and exterior car lights on when you’re running the engine. You can also pop your head. Or tie a bright piece of fabric to your door or antenna.
Keep room, bathroom, and other doors closed
It’s also a smart idea to keep any doors that don’t need to be open closed during a blizzard. Doing so should help to keep your house warmer by reducing the amount of space that your heater is covering.
This is a really important point for blizzard safety. Gas-powered appliances, such as generators and camping stoves, are extremely dangerous to use indoors.
These devices can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when used in enclosed spaces. If you want to be able to use your appliances indoors during a snowstorm, pick up a safer alternative (like a portable power station from Jackery).
Pipes often freeze during intense winter storms. When that happens, they won’t dispense any water. This is why it’s important to make sure that you have a lot of water on hand as you think about how to prepare for a blizzard.
But you can also potentially solve a frozen pipe issue on your own. To do so, use these steps:
- Locate where the pipes are most exposed to the harsh weather
- Remove insulation
- Open all faucets
- Pour hot water over the affected areas
Sometimes, even the most prepared family won’t be able to deal with everything that a blizzard throws at them. That’s why it’s crucial to know both where the nearest shelter is in your area and when it’s time for your family to go to it.
Your family should go to a shelter if it’s without power for an extended period of time, out of supplies, or dealing with extremely cold weather.
Blizzards can be scary. But with a little planning, your family can deal with harsh winter weather without having to leave home.
If you’re serious about getting ready for the next blizzard, Jackery can help. Our portable power generators are the safe, affordable way to power your devices and keep your family safe.