Winter can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year. From sipping on hot chocolate to playing in the snow, winter has so much to offer. While it can be fun, the threat of snowstorms and blizzards is still a reality. If you ever find yourself outside when the snow begins to pile up, here are some great tips on how to survive.
Before you leave:
Always leave prepared.
Before you go outside to hike, camp, or explore nature, make sure to pack everything you might need. Bring a working flashlight with you in case it gets dark. Pack a first aid kit, extra water, and food. If you are going on a longer excursion, bring a battery-powered radio so you can be aware of what is going on with the weather. Charge your phone all the way before leaving, and bring a charger if you can. Be sure you have enough gas in your car in case you end up using your car for shelter.
Going along with being prepared, make sure to dress properly. Wear layers of clothing and warm winter boots. It is always better to bring too many layers, than not enough. These extra layers will come in handy if you get stuck in a blizzard.
Watch the weather.
Before leaving the house, check the weather. Make sure that there will not be any storms in the area you plan on visiting. If you notice that there will be storms or potential blizzards, consider postponing your trip, or at least making sure you are extra prepared.
If you are caught outside:
Find shelter immediately.
If the snow starts to fall heavily, make sure to find a dry shelter as soon as you can. Your shelter should be able to cover your entire body. If you cannot find shelter, make one. You can make a lean-to shelter with a windbreak, or use the snow to create a snow shelter. Send out signals periodically so that others can find you
Build a fire.
After you have secured a shelter, build a fire. This will give you heat to stay warm, and will help others find you. To trap more heat, place rocks around the fire. The rocks will absorb and reflect the heat so you can stay warm. You can also use your fire to dry your clothes if they are wet since it’s important to stay as dry as possible.
Don’t eat the snow.
It is important to stay hydrated, but melt snow before using it as a source for water. Eating snow will lower your body temperature and make you more cold. If you don’t have a fire going and can’t melt the snow, you can put some in a sealable container and put it close to your body. Your body heat will eventually melt it.
If you are stuck in a vehicle:
Stay in the vehicle.
If you are stranded in a vehicle, don’t leave. Stay in the car and let the engine run for about ten minutes each hour to maintain heat. Make sure to attach something brightly colored to the antenna of your car so you can be easily spotted. Turn on your hazard lights as well. While in the car, try to exercise to keep blood circulating and avoid frostbite. Of course, if there’s a building nearby, feel free to go check it out.
Clear the exterior exhaust.
To make sure that you don’t get carbon monoxide poisoning while stranded in a blizzard, clear the exterior exhaust on the car. Continue checking the tailpipe while you are in the car. This may seem simple, but it is a key survival tip.
When caught in a blizzard, whether in a vehicle or outside, call for help. Try calling loved ones or emergency numbers to alert others of your situation. Make sure you stay hydrated, and keep as dry as possible to stay warm. Try to avoid having to use these tips though, and simply check the weather before you leave. To learn about more survival tips, check out Prepper’s Base.