Survival Tips: How Some Families in Texas Could Have Been Better Prepared

Is there anything Texas homeowners could have done to be prepared for the freak weather and power outages that happened? Preppers would be ready with these six things:

1. Generator

Propane generators are less likely to freeze in winter weather, and propane is usually cheaper than gasoline. Generators can keep power going for your furnace and stove, and keep your water heater running. Remember to keep the unit outside, with the exhaust facing away from any entry points. This way, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide problems.

2. Heating Fuel or Firewood

Make sure you have some kind of non-electric method of heating your home. Gas heating helps your family stay warm if electric power disappears. That doesn’t mean you can’t use electric heat at all. Some modern HVAC systems are hybrids, offering the option to run on both electricity and natural gas. Firewood can also work if your home has a fireplace and chimney. Don’t forget to fill up your home’s tank with propane, natural gas or fuel oil in preparation for winter.

3. Full Gas Tank for Your Vehicle

It’s always a good idea to have enough gas in your tank for emergencies, but especially during winter weather. Gas pumps operate using electricity, so trying to fill up your truck during a blackout isn’t going to work. A full tank of gas can help you warm up and let you recharge your phone.

4. Water

When people think of disaster prep, they often think about food but not how important water is. “But the water in my tap is fine,” they say. Yeah, maybe until water pipes break because of freezing temperatures.

You need one gallon of water per person per day. The authorities recommend having enough for three days, but we like to prep beyond what the so-called “experts” think. We recommend being ready for at least a week without drinkable water and preferably two weeks (55 gallons is plenty).

5. Food You Don’t Need To Cook

Don’t get us wrong — you should absolutely cook meals if possible. It’s all about the psychological effects of survival. Something warm heats you up and helps your family feel safer. It brings a degree of “normal” to a crazy situation.

That said, good survival strategy involves preparing for what-if moments. What if a severe winter storm lasts weeks instead of days? You’ll be happy to have non-perishable goods that don’t require any cooking: trail mix, dried fruit, beef jerky, protein bars, crackers, canned beans and tuna.

One thing to remember about canned foods in winter weather is that the liquid inside can freeze and expand. Broken cans aren’t safe to eat later. Keep canned goods (during a power outage) wherever your family gathers to stay warm. Or, stock up on dehydrated cold weather rations (MCW or RCW).

6. Insulating Materials

To stay warm in an emergency, choose one room (preferably one without windows or one that has a fireplace) and use thick blankets to insulate entry points such as windows. Duct tape is amazing for sealing leaks. You also need a stockpile of blankets and heavy clothing just for this type of emergency. Thermal underwear, sweaters, gloves, hats and insulated coats can make a huge difference inside and outside.

Did we miss anything? If you live in Michigan, Minnesota or another cold climate, share some of your winter-weather survival wisdom with fellow preppers down south.