The news is full of articles about the current winter storm that is gripping much of the country. Deep snow and unprecedented cold, with low-temperature records being broken almost daily. It’s set to last a few more days with another blast of cold blowing in before the weather warms slightly.
Could you cope with this level of cold for a month? Or for three months without respite?
Could you survive a storm or bitterly cold conditions that lasted for months at a time?
We all think we would cope, albeit with a little difficulty. As preppers we have stocked up, stored food and water and have a plentiful fuel supply. But how plentiful is plentiful enough ?
Winter storms often result in power outages that can last until the worst of the storm is over, and the supply can be fixed. There is a possibility that if the bad weather lasted for a couple of months or even longer, that the supply would not be reconnected during that time.
Still think you have enough alternative fuel?
As an example, if you burned just one log an hour, for six months a year, and NOTHING for the rest of the year you will need 4,368 logs to get through the winter.
That’s a lot of wood, and that is the amount you need if you burn ONE log an hour to take the frigid chill off the room. Heating water for drinks, cooking or having a room warm enough for the old, infirm or babies will require much, much more.
I’ve used wood as an example, but regardless of which alternative heat source you chose you are going to need a great deal of it, probably much more than you anticipated.
You can store as much food and water as you like, but it won’t stop you freezing to death.
Dependent on the conditions it’s stored in wood can take up to three years to dry out completely, and we all know that the drier the wood a higher heat output is achieved, something that can make the difference between life and death when the temperature outside is 30 below.
Many of you will be used to dealing with open fires and even off grid living, but those new to prepping, or those who are just starting out with open fires and/or wood burners will have no idea of how much fuel it takes to heat a room or boil enough water for the whole family to have a hot drink.
If you are new to alternative fuel usage I urge you to note how much fuel you use and stockpile accordingly, then triple the amount you have worked out you will need. If you have no idea because you are lucky enough to keep your power supply this winter I strongly suggest you have a practice run. Turn off the heating and use your chosen alternative method for 24 hours.
Underestimating how much fuel it takes to keep warm will kill thousands in a prolonged winter power outage. Many will die of cold and some will succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Every winter we read stories about the unprepared dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. So desperate for heat they have used BBQ’s indoors, or shut off all ventilation routes in an attempt to maximize the heat from the fuel they have. Deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning will continue to rise as the winter wears on, and in the protracted, bitterly cold winters that many climate scientists are convinced are on the way the numbers will continue to increase.
Just as you check and increase your food supplies then you should check and increase your fuel supplies. Underestimation could quite literally be the death of you, and the rest of your family.