In February 2021, snow and ice storms ravaged the state of Texas, causing at least 111 deaths and some of the worst power outages in history. That same month, the Pacific Northwest endured its own blast of ice storms that cost nearly $4.6 million in infrastructure repair costs and left thousands without power for extended periods time.
Now, after a series of recent snow blasts making land fall in Buffalo and Washington state, many are again concerned about the potential dangers that this year’s winter has in store.
It’s not possible to control the temperamental ways of the seasons, but you can prepare yourself and loved ones for potential inclement weather by having a few essentials on hand.
According to state officials, the majority of deaths that occurred in Texas were caused by hypothermia, while in Oregon, four deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from heating sources meant for outdoor spaces. Gas-fueled heating sources specifically designed for indoor use can be great investments, as well as simple items like long-burning emergency candles and backup stashes of drinkable water.
Get some peace of mind this winter and shop this list of smart and potentially lifesaving items to help you brace storm-induced power outages and subfreezing temperatures.
A powerful backup generator
The Duromax Hybrid generator can be powered by both propane and gas to provide up to 20 hours of uninterrupted essential appliance operation during power outages. This 10,500 watt all-copper winding generator is one of Home Depot's highest-rated models and contains individual breakers on the power panel and an EPA-
compliant spark arrestor.
You can also find a similar and more affordable option
with a lower wattage, also at Lowes.
A gas-powered space heater that's safe for indoor use
Powered by propane, this radiant portable heating system by Mister Heater can safely heat indoor spaces of up to 225 square feet for over five hours on the lowest setting. For added protection, a built-in safety sensor automatically shuts off the heater if it has been tipped over or if low oxygen levels are detected in the room.
A pack of space blankets that trap heat
For advanced thermal protection, these double-sided mylar space blankets provide insulation and protection from the elements by reflecting 90% of your body's heat. This pack contains four 82 x 52-inch blankets that can be layered or used alone for situations in which electrical heating systems aren't operational.
A gas-powered stove for when your electric range is down
If you need to boil hot water or heat up a meal, a portable gas-powered stove like this top-rated option by Gas One can be a lifesaving essential. This high-output stove comes with a carrying case, four cans of butane and an automatic safety shutoff.
An easy-to-hang indoor LED lamp
This lightweight and collapsable LED lamp can light up rooms when power has gone out. It can be charged by both the sun or a USB port to provide up to 24 hours of run time per charge.
A pair of LED headlamps for hands-free lighting
With a runtime of 10 hours or more on low, you don't have to worry about stumbling around a dark house to go to the bathroom or otherwise finding your way around in the middle of a power outage. Each of these AAA battery-operated LED headlamps has seven different light modes, including a red nightlight and a strobe setting that can be useful for capturing attention during an emergency.
An emergency weather radio you can crank to operate
For situations in which cell service is down or you have a dead battery, this hand-crank and battery-powered emergency radio can keep you up to date with weather advisories in your area. There's also a USB-output charging cable to keep your phone charged, as well as a loud SOS alarm for emergencies and a handy LED light.
A universally compatible backup power bank to charge your devices
Seeing your cellphone at 1% battery life can give you an uneasy feeling, especially if you are in the middle of winter storm with no power. This portable colossal-capacity phone bank can charge most phones up to six times on a charge so you can stay up to date, notify loved ones of your status or make phone calls in case of an emergency.
A large quantity of non-perishable food
This non-perishable food variety pack by ReadyWise contains 124 servings of ready-to-eat meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even includes beverages. Just add hot or cold water to enjoy items like savory beef stroganoff or apple cinnamon oatmeal.
An ice-retentive cooler for perishable goods
A refrigerator can only keep your perishable foods good for so long when the power goes out. Having a high-performance cooler on hand, like this lightweight one by RTIC, can be a great way to save you from having to dump the week's groceries in the trash. This cooler has been specifically engineered for ice retention and keeping contents cold and ice frozen for up to 10 days.
A highly rated set of jumper cables to boost a frozen battery
Freezing weather can drain a car battery fairly quickly, which isn't great news if you need to get somewhere in inclement weather. These 12-foot Energizer jumper cables are highly rated on Amazon and have a thick vinyl coating that keeps them resistant to rust and corrosion.
A two-person survival kit for disaster situations
It can be useful to have a survival kit stored in your home for dire or extreme emergency situations, even if you never have to use it. Ideal for earthquakes, winter storms or other natural disasters, this two-person pack contains a fire starter kit, a mini stove, emergency water and non-perishable meals.
A combo pack of assorted batteries for all your battery-powered devices
During a power outage, it's more than likely you will be pretty reliant on battery-powered items such as flashlights and radios. This deluxe variety pack of batteries has an impressive shelf life and will ensure that you have the correct battery size for all your devices.
A case of water bottles, for when tap water is undrinkable
If you suspect that your tap water is undrinkable because of frozen or compromised pipes, it's important to have a source of clean water on hand for drinking or even bathing. This 24-pack of Nestle 12-step purified water can be a convenient and safe place to start.
A pack of of long-burning emergency candles
Keep your home safely lit while also adding a touch of ambience with these liquid oil emergency candles by SDS. Each candle can burn for 14 days straight without creating overpowering scents, smoke or messy soot burn off. When they're no longer needed, you can simply replace the cap and store them for next time.
A three-pack of safety lighters to keep candles and stoves lit
A lighter is an essential power outage tool for lighting candles, gas stove ranges or even fireplaces. These adjustable-flame butane lighters have a long metal wand to help you light things from a safer distance and a supply window that shows you how much fuel is left in the lighter. They can also be refilled. Get it from Amazon for $6.10.
A sleeping bag that can withstand temperatures of 30 degrees
This flannel-lined sleeping bag by Coleman can keep you cozy when electrical heating systems are down and a living room slumber party is in order. It conserves heat in temperatures as low as 30 degrees and easily rolls up and fastens for space-conscious storage.
A set of anti-skid traction devices for icy roads
Slick and frozen roads are not the safest to drive on, but it may be necessary for you to leave your home during a winter storm and these anti-skid devices can add an element of safety. These durable textured straps fit tire sizes of 175 to 296 and can also you help you get your vehicle free when stuck in snow and mud.
A case of hand warmers to combat cold indoor temperatures
There's not much worse than cold extremities, but this eight-pack of safe, air-activated hand warmers may help. Just open the package and have up to 10 hours of comfortable warmth. You can pop them inside your winter gloves or socks.
A first aid kit for potential minor injuries
Disinfect wounds, bandage cuts and soothe burns with this 312-piece first aid kit. Clear plastic interior compartments keep everything organized and the soft sided zip case makes storage and transportation a breeze.