We know it's scary to think about, but with the Pacific Northwest winters, it's a possibility for you and your vehicle to become stranded in a winter storm if you aren't careful. Actually, even if you are careful, there's still that chance when living in Washington.
How would you stay warm with a raging winter storm taking place right outside while you're trapped in your Subaru? Preparation is key. If you're well prepared, even being trapped during a storm can be doable instead of life threatening. You may not have a blast, but you'll be much more secure and calm in the situation.
Here are our tips on how to stay alive in a winter storm, just in case!
Invest in a cooler and a storage tub
Having these two key items will help you prepare immensely for any unplanned mishaps. A cooler will allow you to store food items and water, protecting them from harsh outside temperatures so they will be ready to use when needed.
A storage tub will be perfect for the rest of your supplies. Be sure to have one that seals tightly, so you can safely move it in and out of your vehicle regardless of the outdoor weather.
Stock up on items for staying warm
The most important part to surviving a winter storm, is keeping warm. Hypothermia is a serious threat and only takes 2-3 degrees drop in body temperature. Keep extra clothes, gloves, hats, scarves, socks, winter boots, hand warmers, and wool blankets in your storage tub to help keep you warm in an emergency.
Make sure you keep enough pairs of each item in your vehicle for each person that usually travels with you.
Keep hydration in mind
Hydration is slightly more important than food, since you can only survive three days without water. However, depending on how many people you typically travel with, it may be unrealistic to store as much water as each person would need.
Instead, store 64oz/person for one full day, and resort to melting snow afterwards, if needed. All you'll need is an empty coffee can or another metal container with a lid, candles and waterproof matches.
Store the appropriate foods
Food is one of the best ways to warm up your body from the inside out. Naturally providing fuel to your organs and metabolism, the calories will instantly be put to heating use. Really, the colder it is, the more food you should eat.
To save space and money, you'll want to buy high calorie, non-perishable foods such as trail mix, nuts, energy bars, beef jerky, canned foods. High protein options also tend to heat you up a little quicker - hence "meat sweats". Just make sure you check expiration dates.
Additional supplies to help
Beyond what we suggest to keep in your Subaru at all times (link previous article?), there are a few items to add to your "stranded storage container".
- A piece of bright red material, four or more feet in size. Spread this out when stranded to help any helicopters or sky searchers to find you.
- A battery powered radio to stay updated on weather, as well as aid in boredom.
- Snow shovel
- Tow rope to get your vehicle unstuck
- A bag of sand/salt to help weigh down your subaru for traction
- Emergency medicine for each person involved
- A pair of waterproof boots
- A knife
- A can opener
- Trash bags, tissues, toilet paper, feminine products - you'll appreciate having these!
- Any baby products (diapers, formula, etc) if applies
Hopefully, you'll never need this advice! But if you do, you'll be so thankful you prepared. Washington winters are not something to take lightly. Always pay attention to the weather forecast and stay updated - weather changes quickly and unexpectedly.
Know your limits, if you feel hesitant about going out, it may be better to listen to your intuition and reschedule your plans. No matter what, we are always here for questions and more ways to help you prepare. Click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Service, or call (206) 705-8695 to reach our Seattle location.