Things You Need to Prep for a Storm
Things happen - like us getting a crazy amount of snow. What if that happened, and you lost power or couldn't leave the house for a few days? It's happened to people all over the world. Hopefully, we'll be fine. But, it's better to be prepared if the worst happens.
You know you need the basics: food, lots of bottled/gallons of water, etc. There are certain things people typically grab, that aren't actually the best item for this situation. Men's Health did an article on it. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Bad idea:Camp stoves
Better idea:Protein bars and canned stews
You might be thinking, “But I cook on my gas range every night!” The difference: Fuel is piped in from outside your house, which minimizes the risk of a gas leak from storage tanks. Plus, camp stoves are designed for outdoor use. The engineers didn’t worry about carbon monoxide buildup—and it’s a real concern if you use a camp stove in an enclosed space. “Get food you don’t have to reheat or don’t mind snacking on cold,” says Sheridan. If you must heat a meal, the Sterno heaters used by catering companies use denatured alcohol to produce a flame without any toxic fumes.
Bad idea:Flashlights and battery powered lanterns
Better idea:A candle
“In a survival situation, a flame is going to be much more psychologically beneficial than an electric light,” says Christiaan Wind, store manager and outdoor gear expert at REI. Just don’t fill the room with candles like you’re in the Vatican—one is enough to provide light and even a little heat. If you want to see around your home in the dark, invest in some LED headlamps. You should be able to find a good one for around $20. They may look a little silly, but they keep both your hands free, and the low-voltage LED light ensures long battery life.
Bad idea:Kerosene heaters
The smarter choice: A tent
If your power goes out, staying warm will become important. But you’ll be fighting a losing battle to heat your whole house with a space heater, even if it’s cranked all the way up. And without ventilation, any space heater that burns fuel can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, according to the EPA. So why a tent? Snuggling together in a tent in the living room is going to keep everyone warmer by conserving body heat, says Sheridan. You’ve been wanting to go camping, right?
Bad idea:Expedition-weight sleeping bags, or heavy blankets
The smarter choice:A lightweight sleeping bag
A sleeping bag traps body heat better than your sheets and comforter. But even with the power out, you’re still in your home, not ascending K2. Pay attention to the rating of sleeping bags—a number that refers to the lowest outside air temperature you could sleep in comfortably. The lower the temperature, the more expensive the bag generally is. “You can get away with a summer bag or even a sleeping bag liner that is only expected to boost the temperature rating between 5 and 15 degrees, under your normal blanket,” says Wind. They’re cheaper, and have the advantage of storing very compact.
Bad idea:Mega-packs of toilet paper
The smarter choice:Sanitizing wipes
There’s only so much toilet paper you can go through in a day, so don’t buy more than you would on a normal grocery store trip. But not being able to wash your hands can create a genuine risk of bacterial infections. “Just because we live in a first-world country, it doesn’t mean we can’t have third-world problems if we’re living in third-world conditions,” Sheridan says. Pick up large wipes or rinse-free soap and shampoo to clean your whole body in lieu of a hot shower.