Snow Emergency Kit for the Home: How to Put it Together

Winter storms often bring power outages and people being somewhat trapped in their homes. Let’s face it – the National Weather Service doesn’t always get it right. When you hear of a winter storm brewing, it is a good idea to prepare for it. One way to prepare is by creating a snow emergency kit. Read on to learn how to do this and what to put in it.

How to Put Together a Snow Emergency Kit for the Home article cover image

How to Put Together a Snow Emergency Kit for the Home

Non-perishable foods

Canned and boxed foods do not go bad very fast and may become your only food during a winter emergency, so stock up on them! Some meats are sold in cans as well as vegetables and fruits. Boxed items could include granola/energy bars and, of course, cereal.

Dry cereal is better than nothing. You might want to consider getting a small portable grill or camping cookstove. These items run on propane or charcoal, so you will also want to stock up on whatever the grill/stove needs.

Water for your snow emergency kit

Keep plenty of fresh bottled water for emergencies at all times. It is so important to keep yourself and family members hydrated all the time, and especially during emergencies.

During the winter months, people do not always think about having drinking water at home. The truth is during a winter storm; pipes can freeze and burst, leaving you with no running water. Being stuck at home in a blizzard, for example, without running water, can become a real issue. Water is also necessary for flushing toilets and cooking.


It is wise to stock up on all sizes of batteries that your items need before winter weather begins. Check batteries for the date and rotate out older batteries for immediate use and retain the fresh batteries for your emergency kit. The last thing you want is to be caught in a power outage with dead batteries and useless flashlights and other essential battery-operated items.


Keep a flashlight for each person in your family, in your emergency kit. Flashlights come in handy to see within the dark and can also provide entertainment!


Keep plenty of warm blankets in your home kit. This way, you do not have to scramble to find them after the storm hits or when the power goes out. Blankets will help keep you warm as well as offer a little bit of comfort to snuggle up while waiting out the storm.

Warm clothing

Have plenty of warm clothing like sweatshirts, heavy socks, coats, and thermal underwear. Wearing thermal pants and shirts underclothing can help you retain your body heat.


No snow emergency kit would be complete without these. Make sure to have plenty of candles and heatproof holders on hand in case the power goes out. Candlelight is better than being stuck in the dark at night!

A word of warning: never leave a candle burning unattended, so snuff them out before going to bed. Candles do put off a little bit of heat, not enough to heat a room, but enough to keep your hands warm. The beautiful thing about candlelight is that it is somewhat calming, and that can be so important during a bad storm.

Source of heat

It is a good idea to try and find a couple of battery-operated heaters to heat the main rooms people occupy during the storm. Go online or to a local store and see what they have to offer.

Some space heaters have battery backup, and some are solely powered by batteries or by an electrical cord, so pay attention to what you are buying. Temperatures can drop drastically indoors when the power goes out, so having a reliable heat source can be a lifesaver! One more thing to keep in your kit is matches, kitchen matches come in large boxes and have a dozen practical uses.

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First-aid kit

This is a must for any emergency kit. During severe storms, people can panic and/or go into shock, plus if the electricity goes out, accidents can happen while moving around in the dark.


It is always important to include these and not just in your snow emergency kit! This includes medication, insulin (if applicable), baby food, diapers, toiletries, and anything else that is necessary during a typical day.

The reason you want to make sure you have these items because once the storm hits, you may not be able to get out to get them. For example, the medication that was prescribed by a doctor is vital to have, and during a storm, you probably will not be able to get it.

Another essential item to keep for emergency use is a phone that does not require electricity (cordless house phones use electricity for the base). If you choose to have an emergency cell phone, be sure to keep the battery charged and have a fully charged spare.

No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios during the winter. People tend to assume they will be just fine as long as they are at home when a winter storm hits their area. To a degree, it is better to be at home instead of out in the blowing snow, but you must prepare at home for power outages or for being stuck indoors for days at a time. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry.”

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Tips for Grilling in the Winter

You don’t have to say goodbye to the grill once winter gets here. Really if you’re willing to brave the elements, then there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to grill outdoors all year long! This tip comes in handy if there is an emergency situation. Here are some grilling in the winter if you are going to try to cook outdoors.

Tips for Grilling in the Winter

Make sure you have a good quality grill.

While grilling with coals really gives food a unique taste, you’re better off for winter grilling going with a gas grill that has a cast iron grate and the highest BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating you can afford. You need something that will heat up fast and retain that heat because you’re going to lose a lot of heat every time you open the lid.

Get the tips that you need for grilling this winter from the people who know grills- Weber!

Be prepared for longer cooking times in the winter.

If you position your grill at a 90-degree angle to the wind, then you will have better temperature control. And remember, patience is a virtue when it comes to winter grilling.

Clear any snow and ice from the grill’s surface before you start cooking.

Letting it melt off will take longer for it to get to temperature. Plus, it will make for a very slippery surface later when it freezes over. So clear that area of snow to make sure you can safely get to your grill the next time you want to use it.

grilling in the winter

Grills can be harder to start in the cold winter months.

Don’t turn the propane all the way on; instead, give the wheel one turn to make starting easier.

Make sure the gas lines are clear too for proper gas flow.

Checking the gas lines, burners, and jets for blockages is a good idea year-round, really to stay safe when grilling.

Make sure your grill is not near anything combustible.

Also, a place that is sheltered from those cold winter winds is a good idea.

Dress for the weather.

But be careful that you don’t have any dangling fabric that can light on fire. So skip that scarf and any tie closures that you might accidentally lean into the grill and start a fire.

When you’re all done grilling outdoors, make sure you correctly shut down your grill.

Cool completely and clean the grease trap. Make sure you protect it with a proper cover.

When all else fails, bring the grilling indoors.

No, not with your outdoor grill, but with an indoor grilling machine like a George Foreman grill. Some newer ranges even come with an onboard grill. So if by chance you’re in the market for a new stove, check out one of those if you can’t resist grilling and would like to keep it going year long without freezing your fingertips off outdoors.

Ultimately grilling in the winter isn’t too much different than cooking in the summer. It’s just colder, and you have some challenging elements to contend with. If you can get past all of that and stay safe while you’re outdoors grilling, then you can truly enjoy your favorite grilled foods all year round.

If you are looking for a good cookbook to help a beginner – try How to Grill for Beginners on Amazon. While I am usually a huge fan of Steven Raichlen for grilling books, the one I suggest will help the starter chef from burgers and beyond!

After an introduction to best practices, common terminology, and tools, this grilling cookbook helps you get started by teaching the four main techniques that will serve as the foundation for your outdoor cooking journey. Once you master the fundamentals, you’ll be amazed at the range of dishes you can tackle with relative ease, including Classic Burgers, Kansas City Style-Smoked Baby Back Ribs, and Garlic and Lime Shrimp.

How to Grill for Beginners: A Grilling Cookbook for Mastering Techniques and Recipes

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How to Build an Emergency Snow Shelter

Hypothermia is the most immediate danger among those lost or stranded in the wilderness. In winter, loss of body heat can set in within minutes. Knowing how to build an emergency snow shelter to protect yourself from the cold can make the difference between life and death.

How to Build an Emergency Snow Shelter article featured image

How to Build an Emergency Snow Shelter

There are three different types of emergency snow shelters: snow and brush shelter, a snow cave, and an igloo. An igloo is a specialized build that requires a woodsman’s knife and more hardened snow than most places have so that this article will describe only the snow cave and the snow and brush shelter.

If you are in the mountains, watch out for signs that your location is subject to avalanches, such as snapped trees or a rough pile of snow near the bottom. Safe valleys will have lots of trees and saplings and have a shallow slope. The slope is too steep if you have difficulty climbing up and down in standard snow boots.

Snow and brush shelter

In this kind of emergency snow shelter, the brush is used as the skeleton of the shelter, and the snow is added for insulation. It is the best type of shelter to use in wooded areas.

How to Build an Emergency Snow Shelter snow and brush shelter

Start by finding a small thicket of bushes or saplings on the lee side of a valley. This thicket will anchor your snow and brush shelter. If you can’t find a thicket, use a log or a tree trunk to anchor your thicket. A tree in a small copse of trees is perfect.

Use a few large bushy branches from the thicket to create the framework of your brush shelter. Secure the base of these branches firmly in the snow a few feet away from your anchor. They should form a curve or V towards your anchor.

Leave an opening on the lee side of your shelter. This opening will become your entrance. Weave smaller branches into your framework horizontally, working from bottom to top until you have closed off the roof area, and most of the area is covered.

Now that you have your framework start piling on the snow. Make the walls nice and thick, until there is no place you can see out except your entrance. All that snow will be your insulation.

NO special tools are needed to build an emergency snow winter shelter as this video shows.

Place more leafy branches on the floor to insulate yourself from the ground. Set aside another large, leafy branch to serve as a door. Don’t worry about plugging those spaces. They will provide you with fresh air.

Snow Cave

A snow cave is the best form of emergency shelter to build when there is nothing but snow to work with. It is easiest to make a snow cave using a shovel, but in an emergency, even your gloved hands will do.

Start by finding some good, deep snow on the lee side of a valley. Ideally, the snow should be nearly as deep as you. If you don’t have a convenient snow base, snowbank, or snowdrift, you will have to pile up the snow until it is high enough, but this only works if it is not granular snow. Use more snow than you think you will need. At worst, you will have some extra insulation.

If you had to pile together snow to get enough, you would have to let it sit undisturbed for at least an hour. This time is needed so that it can start bonding together. Otherwise, all you have is a pile of loose snow, which will collapse when you start digging into it. It can even collapse entirely so that you can’t dig your way out again.

Once you have enough deep snow and it has had a chance to settle, start tunneling. If you are working in deep snow, dig a trench down into the snow first. Then pile the snow on top of what is going to be the roof of your snow cave.

Once you get a trench deep down enough so that the snow is at head level, start tunneling in at about knee level. The tunnel should be large enough for you to crawl in, but not much larger. Push the excavated snow out behind you with your feet. Work your way slightly upwards as you dig the tunnel. This will keep the warm air inside.

nice and detailed video about building a snow cave for survival

Shape the inside of your snow cave so that it is dome-shaped and smooth. This shape will keep water from dripping down on you as the temperature inside your snow cave rises. Over time, your ceiling will settle by a few inches a day as the snowpack settles above you. This settling is not a problem. Just keep reshaping it each time.

If time is very short, skip all that and dig a compartment into the lee of the drift or pile that is large enough for you to fit if you are sitting down. Once you are inside, you can make the inside a little larger, piling the excess snow at the lip of the compartment. Use garbage bags, your pack, or whatever else you have to insulate you from the ground and make a door.

Tips for all snow emergency shelters

Build your emergency shelter as small as possible.

The smaller and snugger you build your shelter, the better it will hold your body heat, and the more stable the walls will be. The highest point of your shelter should not be more than 3-4 feet, roughly the same size as a pup tent. This size should give you enough space to sleep comfortably and not too much more.

For extra heat, build a small fire outside your shelter, then bring the warmed rocks inside and wrap them in a cloth to hold the heat. In a snow cave, you can light a candle inside, but no more than that. Set your heat source deep into the shelter, but be careful not to knock it over. You can build a small snow shelf to hold your candle, but not for fire-warmed rocks.

Always make a ventilation hole to the lee of your shelter and keep it clear. You may have to clear it repeatedly if the snow outside is falling thickly and drifting. This is especially important if you use a candle.

Snow muffles sound.

You won’t be able to hear people looking for you, so make it easy for them to see you. A bright-colored garbage bag on the outside, anchored with branches, rocks, or heavy snow and ice, makes it easy for searchers to find you.

Daylight is valuable.

The colder it gets at night, the sooner daylight fades. For this reason, you should start building your emergency shelter immediately upon realizing that you are not going to make it to a safe area in time. After you have finished creating your emergency snow shelter, crawl inside and get a good night’s sleep, so that you can evaluate your situation in the morning with fresh eyes.

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How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit

How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit? Winter is a time that almost everyone fears because of what generally happens…everything freezes! It is often what you do and how you prepare for the weather that determines the outcome.

How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit

The preparation process can be comfortable or cumbersome depending on where you live, the impending weather, or the size of your home. However, the items you use to prepare are most times lying around the house, and a little is all you need to get to work.

How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit

During a winter storm, you have to “expect the unexpected” as there is no telling what can happen. But, your organization is essential to making the perfect emergency winter kit.

Many people are up for creating only the “stay warm and survive” kit while others prepare for “an apocalypse.”. Whichever way, it is safer to make than to be sorry. When you set out to make an emergency kit, you may consider putting it into a few categories. These include:

Emergency Items

These emergency items vary, and depending on your needs, the size of the kit may differ. Before the brunt of the winter weather hits, you should consider putting these items together:

* Plastic Bag or Water-proof bags/container

The winter season can get wet from all the snow and potential rain that may fall. As such, securing your relevant documents and valuables from the excess moist is necessary.

* Medication

This is one of the essential items to have in your kit. A lot of people tend to forget it, when the need arises, they are left confused and pondering what to do. Also, you should secure your prescription in this kit, as well.

* Medical Items

These items include alcohol, bandage tape, hydrogen peroxide, skin sprays (for insects, etc.), and other essential things you will need for emergency aid.

* Extra Set of Car & House Keys

When an emergency hits, you have no time to run around to get to necessary tools you need but to grab your emergency kit and head out. The extra pair of keys will help you become mobile quickly.

* Flashlight & Extra Batteries

Natural light might not be available, and you need to get around, so having a flashlight will help you. You will also need some extra batteries as the power outage may be lengthy.

* Battery-powered or Crank Radio

There will be no electricity, so you need to have a media source that will keep you informed. A good hand-crank weather radio is what you need. If it has a solar charging option? Even better.

* Hand Tools

Many people will wonder what these are doing in an emergency kit, but as the winter season comes on and the snow crawls in, you will need to get out. This list includes items like a small pocket knife, scissors, pliers, hammer, and screwdriver. You may also need to add a shovel as you never know what can happen with the extra snow.

* Toiletries

These items include paper towels, napkins, and pampers (both adult and children sizes). You also need to add sanitizers, soap, mouthwash, and other deodorizing essentials. If you have to leave and stay out for a while, you have to keep fresh.

* Petty Cash

A little cash on hand is helpful if you have to run out fast.

How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit


Food is essential and needs to be a part of your preparation kit for the winter holidays. You never know when the weather strikes, you cannot go, and you get pretty hungry. You have to stock up on non-perishable food items like tin food, biscuits, and more.

However, it is not safe to store foods that go in the refrigerator as you never know if the power will go out at any time. Bear in mind, the meal does not only include adults but also kids, so adding a few formulas is necessary.


Have enough water to last for a few weeks if possible to clean, cook, and drink. If needed, you can also store water for showering as the pipelines can get bad in the intense weather.

How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit


The time is cold, and the only way to feel at ease is to warm your body the way you know how to. You have to equip yourself with ideal clothing (preferably wool), socks, gloves, and headgear.

Sleeping Gear

You need somewhere to sleep, and sleeping bags and sponges are essential to have in times of emergency. You may have to move out, and a portable bed is necessary if you have kids. You will also need to stock up on a few warm blankets to wrap.

Alternative Heating

One of the main things the winter season calls for is heat, and the more you have, the better. There is the possibility of the power going out, and you may have to find alternative sources for warming your body.

Believe it or not, heat sources are a part of the emergency kit because the cold can cause health problems like frostbite and other issues. Your heat sources may include candles, match, wood and coal stoves, your outdoor grill, or a portable fuel-run indoor generator.

Sources of Communication

You may need to contact your friends and family to check if they are okay. Fully charge your cellphone ahead of time in case the power goes out. Also, add a car charger just in case the battery runs out.

Your car is a means of communicating with those near and far as you can travel across town (if possible). Full your tanks a few days in advance of any potential winter storms.

Your life is worth protecting, and the little you do can help you go a far way. Many people do not see it fit to put away all these items but rather scamper around when it is too late. Of course, we don’t expect all these items to be in the same location, but briefing the entire family on the easiest way to access them is essential.

The weather is on to us, and we wish you a safe one and do stay warm. We hope that How To Prepare A Winter Home Safety Kit helps you do just that.

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Alternative Heat Sources for Power Outages

Alternative Heat Sources for Power Outages? Winter is already here, and long before now, you made plans to get a heat-energy in case there was a power outage. However, you just realized the power is out, and you did not get an alternative to supplying your home with the much-needed heat for the winter storm?

What do you do? Not to worry, there are several emergency methods you can use to warm out without putting yourself at risk for frostbite or any other winter-related issues.

Emergency Heating Options For Winter Power Outages

We have compiled a few survival tips you can use to keep you and your family warm during this time.

Before The Power Goes Out

While you may still have power, here are a few ways to prepare yourself before the worst strikes:

Check on your generator

You may want to stock up on additional fuel for a few days to weeks as there is no sure way of telling how long your power may be out. You also need to check it is functioning effectively. However, if you do not have a generator, you may want to consider getting a dual-fuel generator (you can shop around for some affordable ones).

Invest in a propane heater

There is a wide variety of propane heaters you can choose from (such as propane-fueled buddy heaters), which are tested and proven safe for indoor use.

Alter your doors and windows

You want to prevent heat loss as well as preventing cold air from seeping in. You can purchase insulating shades or become creative with your heat sealers.

Stock Up on the basics

Ensure your family has enough warm blankets, comforters, and winter clothing to last for up to a few weeks.In addition to the noted tips above, you may also want to try a few of the following:

  • If the weather forecast notes an impending power outage, you may want to increase the temperature in your home so there will be enough heat to last. The warmer your home is at the beginning, the longer it will take to cool down. You can also add extra warmth to unused rooms in the house, so there will be a higher chance of thermal mass.
  • Fill your bathtub with hot water
  • Stock up on enough firewood and coal

During The Power Outage

You are indoors, and before long, you realize the power has been shut off. You need to move swiftly in doing the following:

Eliminate All Chances of Heat Loss

Now is not the time to be wasting much-needed heat as your body will need it. You can start by avoiding the opening and closing of exterior doors as cold air can allow the temperature to fall rapidly by up to 10 degrees. There is no way to get that wasted heat back!

If you need to go outside, try doing so through the garage, porch, or other areas where the cold air will not be able to enter the living space. Also, ensure you keep all interior doors closed.

Share Living Space

Have one separate room in the home where the family sleep. This room should be closed at all times and only opened when the family is entering. You can always use the living room as the central area where the family gathers for daily activities.

Seal Draft Areas

Your doors and windows may have draft areas above and below them, so sealing with a towel or draft blocker is necessary. This procedure will allow air from seeping in and clouding the trapped heat. You can either order custom-made or get creative. You can also close your blinds and curtains to help insulate your windows.

Move To The Basement

While the power is still on, you can consider putting extra heat in the basement and seal it. Once the heat inside is losing out, you can consider moving with the family to the basement.

There are alternative ways of getting heat in the home when there is a power outage. Aside from trapping heat that you saved, you can also create heat from:

Alternative Heat Sources for Power Outages

Wood or Coal Stoves

You can light your stove in a central area of the home and leave the internal doors open so the temperature can travel to other areas of the house. However, if you have limited wood, you can light the stove at specified intervals, then trap the heat. Don’t have a coal stove? No Worries, you can take your grills inside, and while adding some heat, you are making some sumptuous meals.

Alternative Heat Sources for Power Outages

Indoor Propane Heaters

Before purchasing these heaters, you need to research whether they are safe for indoor use as not all of them are. Once it is, you can power on once the stored heat is exhausted.

Open Flame

You need to use this option with caution and with a fire extinguisher in close range. You can use candles, lanterns, and other lamps but under strict supervision. Be careful of open flames like candles as they can eventually ignite other items close to them. Also, do not place it on a table (wood or plastic) but instead on a metal surface.


Every home needs to have a thermos where they can store hot water for further use. You can use the water to make tea, porridge, or soup, which can serve as an excellent body-warming tactic.

Other Alternative Heat Sources for Power Outages

In addition to the previously highlighted forms of heat production, you can find different ways of staying warm. Ever heard of the “camping inside” trick? This method will see you setting up a tent in your home, and while it is creating a haven for warmth, it is a perfect distraction for the kids from the cold weather.

Also, it is best to have a set of winter clothing that will help to regulate the body’s temperature and keep you warm. These items of clothing include wool jackets, socks, gloves, and can be doubled if needs be.

Amidst the cold weather you might be experiencing, there is still some good to come out of it. You can use this time to keep your refrigerated foods fresh. Move the food items to an open area (porch or driveway) and let them build up some ice.

But in the end, there are so many ways to keep warm during a winter power outage, and how you deal with it depends on you. You can use these tips to help you go a far way. 

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