Winter is coming, this past weeks weather is proof of that.night-snow-042013-5863-1

Winter is coming. I know a lot of us enjoy winter and some don’t. However you feel about the coming season, winter in Colorado is pretty stunning. There is nothing like one of those cold mornings with a new blanket of snow under frost covered trees all illuminated by our blue bird sky. It can make you happy to be driving to work (for just a second or two).

Regardless of how you feel about the coming season being prepared is a good idea.

Keep an emergency kit in your home and your car. Be prepared for power outages or storm closed roads. If you never leave home in the winter you still need to be prepared for those hard storms that can knock out power or restrict transportation. If you are w winter enthusiast you need to be even more prepared for those contain drives when you may encounter passes clogged by avalanche, mountain roads close for some unexplained reason or just getting stuck in the parking lot of your favorite trail head.

An emergency kit is a collection of basic supplies you may need in the event of unexpected problems. The home kit should provide you with the basics if you have to ride out a long term power outage, loss of heat or inability to get to a grocery or pharmacy. It can be useful either in your home or in the event you find yourself stuck in a cabin ski condo after a storm.

The car kit should provide the necessities to keep you well in the event you get stuck in your car. You can get stuck in the car for a lot of reasons; road closure, whiteout, or simply stuck in a remote parking area.

There are a lot of items you will find in each kit but some specialized items in each.

Check out the Red Cross recommended list of emergency supplies for your home.

A basic home emergency kit should include:screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-22-50-pm

Water for drinking and sanitation to last at least 3 days; one gallon of water per person per day should suffice; sick people, children or nursing mothers may need more water.
Non-perishable food for at least 3 days; foods that make you thirsty should be avoided.
A first aid kit that may include prescription medication, scissors, tweezers, cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, non-latex gloves, etc.;
Hand crank or battery-powered radio (tuned in to NOAA Weather Radio), as well as spare batteries;
Flashlight with extra batteries. You can buy flashlights now that are high powered LEDs and can be recharged via USB. This will allow you to charge it in your car if needed.
Whistle to call for help.
Blankets jackets and warm clothes in the event of loss of heat.
Moist towelettes and garbage bags for sanitation;
A basic tool kit including pliers and an adjustable wrench to turn off utilities;
Can opener
One of those multitools is good, has a lot of functionality in a little space.
Cell phone with an extra charger. You can find external chargers now that are basically self contained batteries that will extend the life of your phone.
Extra clothes, warm blankets and sleeping bags if the climate you live in is usually cold;
An extra pair of glasses;
Infant formula and diapers;
Matches to light a fire;
Personal hygiene items
Games, books and other items to pass time.

If you are trapped in your home a lot of this stuff will be readily available but if you are heading our to spend a weekend on a condo or cabin at some winter retreat you should be prepared.
Other tips:

Put the kit in one or more containers, such as a backpack or suitcase with wheels. Keep all sensitive items in the kit in airtight plastic bags to protect them.
Keep the food in a non-humid, cool place. Replace any foods that have gone bad or cans that have swollen. Replace water and food supplies every 6 months.
Throughout the year, maintain and update your kit, according to your family’s needs.

Check out the Colorado Department of Transportation advice for winter preparedness web site here:

Here is basic list for a compact kit in your car for winter excursions:

A collapsible shovel. This can be a life saver if you find your car stuck in the snow or mud.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-8-22-16-pm
Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
Sturdy scraper and snow brush
Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
Flashlight with extra batteries. In this modern age you cab buy a compact LED flashlight at can be recharged via a USB charger off of your car battery, check out out door suppliers such as REI for these.
Survival blanket or sleeping bags
Chemical hand warmers
Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.
Gallon jug of water and nonperishable food
First Aid Kit and essential medications
Tow strap, I can’t tell you how many times I used my strap to pull some one out of a ditch during the winter.
Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
Jumper cables
Extra cloth or paper towels for cleanup if necessary
Deck of cards or board game for entertainment

Keep all this stuff in a plastic bin in the trunk or back of the vehicle.