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Steps to Prepare for & Survive an Ice Storm | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Steps to Prepare for & Survive an Ice Storm

Two years ago, we survived an ice storm, spending 2 days in our home without power, with a tree limb crashed through my daughter’s ceiling. Our power was restored 2 days later. When an ice storm was forecast for later this week, I went through what I had learned and what would help us prepare if God forbid we had to manage that again:

Before the storm:

  • Fuel: Fill your car tanks, your propane tanks, and your kerosene heaters. Make sure you have batteries for your weather radio.
  • Charge: Charge all phones and laptops.
  • Gather: Get candles and flashlights together in a convenient location, along with backup batteries.
  • Clean: Wash all dishes, finish all laundry, and clear clutter from living areas.
  • Stock: have ready to eat food items plus staples. Shelf stable is good. So is variety. You will want bread and milk.
  • Review: safety procedures for any indoor heat or cooking sources. Carbon monoxide kills. Print safety guidelines if needed.

If you lose power:

When we lost power, tree limbs covered our yard, our roof, and our street. There was no way to drive in or out of our street the first day. Plus a tree limb went through our roof, our attic, and our daughter’s bedroom.  Here are steps we took to survive:

  • Simplify: We rearranged our living room as our living quarters with sleeping space for all. Our goal was to conserve heat in one room.
  • Insulate: We gathered every blanket, throw, comforter, sleeping bag, and large towel from our entire house. We covered every window with towels, closed all doors in the house and the basement, closed all blinds, and covered both doorways to the living room with makeshift blankets.
  • Heat: We do not have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. However, we did have a kerosene heater in our disaster plan. We placed it in the kitchen, next to the living room, and used it for brief periods of time in the daytime when all were awake. We ventilated the kitchen to ensure against carbon monoxide. When the kerosene heater was running, I kept a pan of water on it to humidify the air – moister air feels warmer.  We followed the same procedure with a mini propane stove, only keeping it on long enough to heat and eat food.
  • Refrigerate: We opened the refrigerator door once and put food we would need into a cooler which we kept outside the kitchen door.  We did not open freezer doors, managing on canned convenience foods and sandwiches.
  • Illuminate: candles can provide some heat, but do not leave them on overnight. Though the bathroom doors were closed, we kept a flashlight in there.
  • Entertain: once we had done what we could to survive, we read books aloud. In late evenings in the dark, we watched DVD movies on laptops on battery. I knit a scarf during that ice storm.
  • Communicate: if you can, talk with the outside world. We were grateful we still had a landline phone so we could conserve our cell phone batteries.
  • Evacuate: if you have a way out and your home is a risk, leave. When our house fell below 40 degrees, we left until power was restored.

My memories of our survival hang with me such that warnings of an ice storm give me chills. But we got over the chills and begin the business of caring for ourselves and those we love.

3 Responses to “Steps to Prepare for & Survive an Ice Storm”

  1. Kevin December 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Another idea might be to buy an extra car battery with a charging device, or portable car battery charger, and a power inverter to run (short-term) regular household items. Power inverters (DC to AC) can be found in the electrical section o…f an automotive department or store.

    A computer UPS (backup power unit), if used conservatively, can be a temporary source of power too.

    Placing frozen or refrigerated items in a cooler outside (with the cover open), could extend your refrigeration for quite sometime, depending on outside temperatures. Oddly we lost everything refrigerated and frozen in January 2009, 7 days without power. The inside temperature of the house dipped to 45 degrees F. (Watch out for raccoons and other scavengers.)

  2. Kevin December 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Purchase MRE (meals ready-to-eat – like the military carries). These are available commercially, and some are manufactured very close to Evansville.

    Survival and military surplus stores probably carry them too.


  1. Steps to Prepare for & Survive an Ice Storm « Real Life in River City - January 30, 2011

    […] blog is now at http://www.marybiever.com. This ice storm blog can be found there at http://www.marybiever.com/steps-to-prepare-for-survive-an-ice-storm/.  Stay […]

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