Cade's Corner: Winter Blackout Preparedness

Winter is upon us, and with this change of season comes a change of mindset and preparation. Many of us live or will travel in an area that will have an extreme change of weather from summer to winter.

It's time to ask yourself a few questions...

Have you prepared for a possible prolonged power loss at your home?

Do you have the gear and training needed if you find yourself in a ditch during a sub-zero blizzard?

Are you familiar with the signs of hypothermia and frostbite?

Well let's get into it...

How to prep your home for a winter blackout

The best way to approach any preparation plan is from a "worst case scenario."

Today let's assume the worst is 30 days without power. The purpose of this is not to scare you; rather to help you prepare in advance should we as Americans ever find ourselves facing such a catastrophic event, especially during a harsh winter environment.

Use this as a checklist so you will be totally prepared.

Food: Based on the 30 day scenario you need to be able to feed every individual in your household at least 2 meals a day. Understand that anything you may have in the refrigerator at the time of a loss of power is considered perishable.

The clock is ticking and while this should be consumed first I would recommend you prepare for winter survival as if your refrigerator is empty.

For this I highly recommend the 4Patriots 4-Week Survival Food Kit. With this Kit you'll get delicious food that is easily stored, designed to last 25 years, and only requires water to prepare.

If you already have your survival food, take an inventory.

Water: Again, given the "worst case scenario" of 30 days of no power I can tell you that water may be the biggest challenge you will encounter. You can live for over 3 weeks without food, but maybe only 3 days without water.

You should plan on 1 liter of consumption per day per person, and 1 liter of water per day for food prep. Assuming the total loss of power you will not be able to simply turn on the faucet.

But you do have options:

1. Most people don't realize that your home's hot water heater stores 40-50 gallons of potable (drinkable) water. Use this last.

2. As soon as you experience a loss of power, start collecting water from your faucet. There will be pressure in the lines. Take advantage of this while it lasts.

3. The water that is in your toilet collection tank is relatively safe and can be consumed.

4. If there is snow outside it can be collected, melted, and consumed. HIGHLY recommend using the Patriot Pure Ultimate Water Filtration System in conjunction with the Sun Kettle (to melt) in this circumstance.

5. Water storage – I am a big fan of the water storage bricks. It may be just the thing to get you to that 30 day mark given the vital importance of water for human survival. These should be stored in a location like a basement where they won't freeze and should be cleaned and changed out every 6 months. It's a simple add to your survival plan that could mean the difference between life and death.

Shelter: Your home is your castle and may very well be your Ft. Knox given a national loss of power. Treat it that way. Are you prepared to live there with no power, heat, light?

1. How will you augment power? Get a Patriot Power Generator 1800. This solar generator will provide enough power for a space heater, light, and critical devices and electronics. And it is easily charged using solar panels and the FREE power of the sun.

2. Ensure you have sleeping bags, blankets, and a small mattress. You will want to choose an inner room and live in it. Close off all other rooms to maintain a "heating boundary." This is where you may be living for the next 30 days so mentally prepare for this possibility.

3. Move all supplies to this location.

Security: In this scenario you will have people that were not prepared and will become increasingly desperate as the days go by. You need to account for this as well.

1. Close all blinds/window coverings to maintain what we call in the SEAL Teams light discipline. You are trying to keep a very small footprint to the outside world so as to not invite trouble.

2. Mount external motion detection lights at all key/vulnerable points of your house. This should include the front door, back door, and other dark external areas of home. Solar Sentry Security Lights are perfect and are again powered by the sun.

3. Consider reinforcing primary entry points to your home using double door bolts or throw hasps. If you find yourself in this situation you can also create makeshift barricades using furniture. Ensure you always have an emergency exit.

4. Self-defense is important. If you have trained with a firearm and are going to be willing to use it in a life-threatening situation, this is a good option. Ensure safe handling/storage especially if there are children in the home. Another great, but non-lethal option is bear spray. Know how to use it (how to release the safety).

Again, I'm creating this as a guide to survive. And the best way to prepare for a blackout is to have a backup power solution at the ready.

Preparation is 90% of surviving any life-threatening situation, so take the time to review this and identify deficiencies or areas that you need to augment supplies & equipment.

When doing this, make sure to account for the total number of people you will be sheltering with to include any special needs (allergies/medications required).

Additionally, I would suggest you think about what your mental status might be after 15 days or more without power in the cold of winter. I can tell you that it will be significantly better if you've taken the steps ahead of time to be prepared.

Be a survivor, not a statistic,

Cade Courtley
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor

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