On the Road
Wintertime calls for outings in the great outdoors where the weather is harsh. Even if you don’t face a large scale emergency, a day hike or a trip skiing can quickly become dangerous without a few provisions on hand. Obviously, making sure you have extra clothing, blankets, gloves, and hats are essential. Remember, your hands, feet, and head lose heat very quickly, so keep those extremities as covered as possible.
You should also keep a winter emergency kit in your car and make sure you have matches, fire starters, and backup heat sources such as hand warmers to stave off frost bitten fingers. One of the most important things is keeping dry, so a poncho is an excellent choice to keep in your backpack. Another item that you should have is an emergency blanket or bag. They are made of material that will reflect up to 90 percent of your radiated body heat!
In the Home
What if there is a power outage or your furnace goes out during those cold days ahead? If your home has a fireplace or wood stove, be sure to have plenty of wood and fire starting materials on hand.
The first thing you can do is conserve warmth by creating your own indoor shelter. Use thick, insulating items such as blankets, mattresses, and other materials to create a small space. Imagine you are a child making a fort in the living room! If you have no other source of heat, just your body heat will help keep you warm. Drinking warm liquids will also help keep everyone feeling comfortable.
Again, having emergency blankets and wool blankets on hand will be helpful even indoors. Wool blankets are great because they are excellent insulation and don’t absorb moisture.
If you would like a second source of heat for your home, you can purchase a portable heater. Be aware that you must purchase a heater that is certified safe for indoor use. They are usually powered by propane, and will be designed to shut off should the oxygen levels become too low. As always, you need to ensure proper ventilation when using these heaters. If you have electric heaters on hand and wish to use them, a generator is something you might want to invest in.
With a little extra thought and attention, your winter can be a warm wonderland no matter what Old Man Winter has in store!