Home Preparedness - How To Prepare Your Home For Winter
by Kelly Frohnauer
Each Fall the squirrels gather acorns and nuts, filling their nests in preparation for the coming winter. This year, while
observing nature, you will notice the squirrels have started gathering food sooner that usual.
If nature gives any indication of the coming seasons then like the squirrel, we too, should start getting prepared and be
ready for the coming season.
Being prepared increases our sense of security and can help to make difficult situations go by smoother and with less distress.
Use the following four steps to prepare yourself and your home for adverse winter weather conditions, emergencies or the usual
wintertime power outages.
1) Stock your herbal/first aid medicine cabinet.
Sometimes it is impossible to get to a doctor, whether because of extreme weather conditions, no transporation or an emergency
situation requiring immediate attention.
Having a supply of herbal remedies for times of sickness and emergencies is important. If these situations should arise you
will be able to respond immediately instead of needing to make a trip to town to get medicine or waiting for a doctors
Stock up on remedies that treat colds, flus, coughs, skin wounds, muscle wounds and intestinal upset. For a list of tried
and true remedies that you can add to your home medicine cabinet go to: http://www.naturalfamilyhome.com/medicinecab.html
Herb books are an important resource to own. They can help you make informed decisions concerning you and your families health
care. Also important is a First-Aid manual. They are indispensable for knowing how to deal with accidents such as broken bones,
electrical shock, concussions, etc. Take a first-aid class. Most hospital's offer community education first-aid/CPR classes at
reasonable prices. What you learn could save a life.
2) Stock your food pantry.
Keeping extra food on hand is a regular practise in our home. It's nice to have the food on hand and not just for emergency
purposes but also for times when the budget gets too tight!
Make it a regular habit while grocery shopping to purchase a few extra items that store well and put them away in a designated
surplus cupboard or in a box under the bed. Take note regularly of what you have stored and organize it in a manner so the food
can be easily rotated for freshness.
Purchase foods that store well, will keep for long periods of time and do not require alot of heat energy to prepare. The
following are some basic examples:
*All types of canned goods. These store the best.
*Boxed cereals and instant soup, rice, macaroni and muffin mixes.
*Grains and Legumes - the quicker cooking types like oats, couscous, tabouli, falafel, bulgur and lentils.
*Flour and cornmeal - Best stored in the freezer or air tight glass jars in a cool dark cupboard.
When storing flour and grains first put them in your freezer for at least 3 days before putting them away in your cupboard.
This will kill any meal worm or weevil eggs that would hatch during storage and ruin your food.
Purchase a hand held non-electric can opener. Paper plates and cups will also come in handy, especially when water is
unavailable or limited for washing.
Buying food in bulk through a co-op is an economical way to build up your food storage. Below are a few co-op websites that
serve different areas of the U.S. To meet their minimums you can get together with your friends and neighbors and combine an
Ozark Cooperative Warehouse
Northeast, New England, mid-Atlantic, mid-western and
For other companies that sell food storage systems, vaccume
packed and canned food, food buckets and other food storage
items go to the Family Homesteading Advocates Natural Foods
links and resources page at
3) Store water.
Water is the most important resource we can have. When water gets cut off or wells run dry it is a major setback for
everyone. In this type of situation your whole household must be diligent to conserve whatever water you have available.
Having a storage of drinking water is crucial. A general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. Personally,
I have found this to be more than enough water. In fact, when fresh running water is not available you will quickly learn to
make each drop count.
Some tips for storing your drinking water:
*Store water in clean plastic containers. Two-liter soda bottles work great. Milk jugs are not recommended because
they do not seal well and are hard to get totally free of milk residue.
*Rotate your water supply, even the commercially prepared bottled drinking water - at least every six months.
*If storing well or spring water, add two drops of liquid household bleach per gallon of water. The only active
ingredient in the bleach should be 5.25% sodium hypochlorite.
There should not be any added soap or fragrances. You do not need to do this when storing city water.
*If you are storing commercially prepared spring or drinking water, keep it in the original sealed container. Once opened,
use it. Do not store it again.
If you are forced to use a water source that you are unsure about it's purity then definitely purify the water before
consuming or storing it. To purify water, follow these steps.
*Filter the water to remove as many solids.
*Bring the water to a rolling boil for a full ten minutes.
*Let the water cool at least 30 minutes.
*Add eight drops of liquid household bleach per gallon of cool
water. (Water must be cool or the chlorine in the bleach will
not work. The only active ingredient in the bleach should be
5.25% sodium hypochlorite. There should not be any added soap
*Let the water stand 30 minutes.
*If the water smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add eight more drops of chlorine bleach,
let stand 30 minutes, and smell again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If the water does not smell of chlorine this
time, discard it and find another source.
Here are some helpful water conservation tips to use during times of water shortages:
*Keep a bowl of water in sink for everyone to wash their hands in. Use this water over and over until visibly dirty.
*Dump the dirty hand washing water into the tank of your toilet to be used for flushing.
*Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water. Then use that water to replenish your hand washing water.
*For washing your hair pour about 2 quarts of warm water into a big bowl or dish tub. Dip your head in to get wet. Go easy on
the shampoo and squeeze out excess suds directly into sink, not into the bowl. Rinse hair using the same water.
*Use leftover hair washing water for a sponge bath.
*When done bathing, dump water into toilet tank.
Several companies have water storage barrels and systems to help make storing water convenient. Go to the Family Homesteading
Advocate's Home Preparedness Links page for resources:
4) Gather non-electric sources for lighting, cooking and for
Power outages tend to be a common occurance in our area during the winter. By being prepared, these outages, instead of being
stressful and worrisome times, have created some fond memories for our family...sitting around the kitchen table playing games
by candlelight, munching on cheese and crackers and sipping cups of hot cocoa that was heated on top of our woodstove which
is radiating warmth throughout the room...
Some of those power outages continued for 5 days! Since most of our homes need electricity to function, being prepared for a
power outage is important and can help alleviate the fear and stress that these situations can create.
A) Non-electric sources for lighting.
The following are excellent sources for non-electric lighting. Put these items in an easy to get to place, one that you will
remember and be able to find safely in the dark.
*A box of matchbooks.
*Tapered candles - This type puts out alot of light.
*Batteries for the flashlight
*Kerosene lamps or Oil lamps
*Spare kerosene or lamp oil
B) Non-electric sources for cooking
Cooking without electricity can be just like cooking while camping. A Coleman campstove is a good investment. They are
fairly inexpensive and most use the disposable propane canisters which make them convenient and less messy. One will fit on the
kitchen counters nicely.
When using camp stoves in the house be sure to have a window partially open for some ventilation. When done cooking put the
stove outside right away as most tend to leak propane when not in use.
DO NOT use charcoal briquets indoors - very Toxic and dangerous!
If you have a woodstove that a pot will sit safely on, then you can use it to heat pots of food and kettles of water. keep a pot
of water on top of it to use for warming up washing (body or dishes) water.
*Coleman type table top cookstove
*Several spare Propane canisters, the one liter size. Or a 5
gallon size if your stove can be hooked up to it.
C) Non-electric sources for heating
If you have a wood stove installed in your home chances are you have a cord or more stacked and ready for use. Wood stoves are
an excellent source of non-electric heat.
If a wood stove is not applicable to you, there are other ways to keep warm when the electricity goes out. Some ways are:
*Portable alcohol heaters
*Warm clothing - long johns under clothes, stocking caps, wool
socks, slippers, etc.
Lehman's is a popular resource for all survival type needs. They have many different types of non-electic appliances, solar
powered items, food and water storage supplies and more. You can see their website at: http://www.qksrv.net/click-773076-308682
With all the candles and open flames you will have operating during a power outage it is vital that you have a fire
extinguisher. Mount one in a visible easy to reach place.
Let us take a hint from nature and take the time now to prepare our homes for winter.
(2001) Kelly is a SAHM of 5 children and is the publisher of the
Natural Family Home Newsletter. Each issue is packed with original
articles, how-to information, herbal remedies, homeschooling helps,
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