Wise Food Storage Blog

Preparing for Snow and Ice Emergencies

Advanced weather prediction technology is pretty good at helping us know when winter weather may turn severe. However, history shows that it’s not very good at predicting just how all that snow and ice will affect infrastructure. Residents in New England weren’t surprised to get a foot of snow last winter, but they were surprised when the storm knocked out power to thousands of households for more than a week. The time to prepare for winter storms is before they strike.

If you live in a region that has any possibility of snow or ice, read through our top tips and take action now. If you live in a region that rarely gets ice or snow, pay special attention: Warm climates simply don’t have the infrastructure to deal with rare winter storms and as a result you may be on your own much longer than you think should severe weather strike.

Have an alternative heat source

Hypothermia is the largest winter storm danger when the power goes out and the elderly are especially vulnerable to freezing temperatures over an extended period.

Access to water

Having access to clean water is the next most critical thing to consider. Click to check out these Red Cross tips on preventing and thawing frozen pipes. Be sure to boil or filter any snow or ice you use for drinking or cooking.

Emergency Food & Medicine

Keep a minimum two-week supply of non-perishable emergency food for each person and pet in the household (of course, we know where you can find tasty, easy-to-store and use emergency food with a 25-year shelf life – at least for humans :-). If you require daily medication, ask your doctor for 90-day prescriptions that are refillable every 60 days so you always have a good supply on hand.


If outdoor pets can’t come in the house, make sure they are in a dry, draft-free outbuilding with access to a warm box raised off the floor and small enough to keep in their body heat. Insulate the box with old wool sweaters or blankets. Cover the door with a plastic or fabric flap.  If you use salt or chemicals to melt snow, keep your pet’s paws away from it. Antifreeze should also be kept away from pets; they can find the taste appealing but is extremely poisonous. Be sure to clean up any spilled or leaked antifreeze outside to ensure pets and wildlife aren’t accidently exposed.

Car Kits

During a winter storm it’s best to only go out in an emergency. If you do have to venture out, the Ready.gov website recommends that you keep these items in your vehicle at all times during winter months:

Winter weather can turn deadly fast. Check your emergency supplies far in advance of bad weather to be sure you aren’t caught unprepared if storms prohibit driving or affect power infrastructure.