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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Emergency Preparedness - Winter Preps To Do BEFORE You Need Them

After Fukushima I Created A "Bug In" Kit.    It took about a week to pull everything together.   This was primarily started as a radiation emergency kit, should Fukushima 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed.    In 2013 I reviewed the kit and replenished things with expiration dates, add new batteries, put the duct tape into shop use and added new duct tape.

I just did the same routine again this last week.    It is actually not a box, but 2 large boxes that seal up well.    There was no damage or problem to anything.   I store the batteries in a separate zip lock from the device they will power, in case they leak.

By the way, a nuclear reactor in Norway just had a large radioactive iodine leak.    As a precaution, I will dose myself with about 1800 micrograms iodine per day.

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So on the topic of preparedness, those who live in a freezing climate, should look at vehicle safety as one of the most important preps you can make.    Sure, cancer might get you someday, but for most people the vehicle is in the top 3 things that could kill you this year.   Especially if you are in  a freezing climate and have to drive in bad conditions.

So consider these preps.    Do them early, in case you get an early snow.    Historically, the first few snowfalls see the most bad accidents.   People have forgotten how bad snow can make traction, and they are sloppy.    This can create multiple car accidents, such as this one.
This list originally from Liz at beforeitsnews. I adapted, modified, added

In a snowstorm, sliding off the road or getting stuck in the road are both very dangerous.    These are your number one risks.    You can mitigate this risk for $600 to $1200 dollars.    There are several types of Snow/Ice tires available, I like Blizzak since I am familiar with them.   These are not your Daddy's snow tires, this is relatively new technology with many cuts in the tire surface that magically make them grab, even on black ice.  

So I bought a new set of rims (wheels) for my F150 FX-4, a beast of a truck, but absolutely terrible on snow and ice, without winter tires.     These are 18" aluminum wheels, quite pricey, but I found some used in California, a set of 4 for $225, and another $135 to ship to Wisconsin.    $360 is not bad.     The Blizzak tire in that size is around $200 each, so for under $1200 I greatly mitigated my winter risk.     My fall project is to also retrofit my Jeep Grand Cherokee, but these are 20 inch Wheels, and not as plentiful as the F150, so still looking for that "deal".



  • A shovel preferably a strong but lightweight folding one.
  • An electric blanket, 12V plug-in, these are great, even in normal use.
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or dynamo/wind up flashlight
  • Here is one you never see in any prepper type scenario, but it could save your life.     Caffeine pills.     You may have to stay up for an extended time, and falling asleep could end your life.  You may have to really physically perform.    Caffeine pills could be the difference between life and death.    Better yet, if you can get your doctor to prescribe some "speed" ---just make sure you know your reaction to it, try a small portion in advance, and don't take too much.
  • Battery powered radio or dynamo/battery radio
  • Tow chains and/ropes
  • Tire chains if allowed in your area -- in most areas chains are illegal for normal use, but authorized in an emergency.
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency reflective triangle or sign
  • Flares
  • Full first aid kit
  • Rock salt/grit/cat litter for putting under wheels to aid traction.
  • Distress flag/ bright bandana to attract attention.
  • Whistle to attract attention
  • A largish card with your name and cell number written on it. If you leave the vehicle add your direction of travel, the date and the time you left the vehicle. Leave this in the car
  • Matches, lighter and small tea light candles packed into a small wide necked jar. The candle can be put into the bottom of the jar and stood on the dashboard to give a gentle light that can be seen from a considerable distance. Have your window open just a crack to make sure no fumes build up. This also applies if you run the engine for even just a few minutes.
  • Keep the gas tank topped up.   Always important in winter, empty space in the tank has air, which has moisture, which can condense out and eventually stall your car with no re-start.
  • Any daily required prescription medications.
  • Phone comparable power pack capable of at least 3 full charges of your phone.   And make sure it won't be damaged by freezing temperatures.
  • Baby wipes for personal hygiene.
  • A few freezer gallon zip lock bags big enough to ‘go’ in if the call of nature can’t be stalled any longer.
  • A  dozen bright strips of fabric with your name and cell number written on them in permanent marker: If you are in a remote area and have to leave your vehicle there are decent markers and can be tied to tree branches alerting rescuers to the fact that you are there and your direction of travel.
  • A couple of thick fleece blankets and/or a sleeping bag.
  • Sweat top and sweat pants big enough to go over your regular clothes.   All upper body wear should have zippers all the way, or at least at the top.    When exerting yourself, you must be able to bleed off heat immediately upon stopping, or you will sweat, and this is the worst thing you can do in freezing weather.
  • Wool or Alpaca socks
  • Hat preferably with ear flaps, mittens and scarf
  • Boots
  • Water and pouch fruit juice drinks [These could freeze and breech the container]
  • Trail mix, some chocolate bars to keep your spirits up, and granola bars.   Avoid nuts, in case you have people with you that are allergic.

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