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Old Man Winter kicks off the New Year with quite a chilling. From southern Oregon, all the way to Seattle, heavy snow was the picture in the media.  Floods were soon to follow, as heavy snow turned to heavy rain. Power outages ran rampart through the region. If ever there was a time to have an emergency survival kit this was it.

A major storm system attacking the Seattle area dropped between four to six inches of snow on January 18th, 2012. To put this in perspective this region usually gets about 5.7 inches on average, calculated over the last 30 years.  The snow was followed by an ice storm, bringing down trees and power lines throughout the region. Many roads were cut off and some 200,000 homes and businesses lost power.  Puget Sound Energy was quoted on its Facebook page saying “We think it will be 3 to 4 days … maybe longer,” before power would be restored to most areas. Following the snow and ice, is the inevitable flooding that occurs during a quick melting period. Add to that the continued heavy rains funneled in by the jet stream and you have a new problem.

In the Salem, Oregon area the storm manifested itself a little differently. While snow still fell, it was not the major threat. Torturous winds gusting between 88 to 113mph were recorded. Many trees were snapped, and uprooted blocking roads, and knocking out power to many homes in the region.  This coupled with continuing moisture, brought about major flooding in coastal areas, and throughout the Willamette valley.

A proper emergency survival kit can make these situations much easier to handle. Most kits provide some kind of a flashlight, usually one with batteries that will last for a few hours. A better kit might add some long burning emergency candles. A deluxe kit however, would not only contain these items, but also some type of dynamo flashlight, or even a combo with a radio. A basic radio might keep you informed, but deluxe kits may come with a weather band radio, which can provide more detailed information about conditions, and any state of emergency, or instructions.

That takes care of light and communication, now what about staying warm? An emergency blanket is a standard item in most emergency survival kits. A better choice would be an emergency survival sleeping bag. Both of these items are made from a mylar type material that are designed to reflect your body heat back to you. Most people will also have extra clothing, and blankets around their homes that they can use, if they are stranded at home. 

Food and water are also concerns for extended situations. Those that are at home will have some food, but probably no way to heat it. But dry foods are enough to keep you going. Some emergency survival kits, or survival supplies that are available offer meals that heat themselves right in their containing bag. In other instances Coast Guard rations or MRE’s will sustain you as well. Most survival kits come with some drinking water. Many times if you’re at home the water may still be running. If not then it would be a good idea to have a filtration pump, to remove contaminates from alternate water sources. Do not confuse these with your home water filters that typically do not filter for anything other than flavor.

Good emergency survival kits will also come with some tools, and supplies that could come in very handy. Waterproof matches, in the case of flooding or inclement weather. A multi-function pocket tool, good for cutting, opening cans, pliars for gripping, and many other uses. Rope which can be used to hang things, pull things up, or across. Emergency ponchos for staying dry.  Some emergency survival kits even come with an emergency camp stove, that burns fuel tablets for heat or cooking ( in a ventilated area).

Don’t let Old Man Winter do you in. Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected, purchase or assemble an adequate emergency survival kit for you and your family today. Don’t forget to think about your pets, they’ll need food and water as well. Your car is one more place to ensure you have an emergency survival kit adequate for the average number of people that travel in it. Follow the boy scout motto “be prepared!”

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