West River Eagle

Winter survival tips: Preparation

Greetings, everyone. I hope everyone had a great Christmas.

We’ve all had some challenges arise in getting shopping done as the ice storm kept many of us stuck at work, stuck at home, or even worse, stuck on highways. Christmas Eve was a mad dash for items and food for Christmas dinner.

Due to the weather, I was stuck at work and could not leave until early Saturday morning. So it was a nap for me! And then out to brave the ice and get a few things to make the holiday a good day.

I would like to send out a special thank you to all of the truckers and box truck drivers out there who make life possible for us all. Thank you for all you do seven days a week, 365 days a year, no matter the weather.

This week I would like to cover a bit more regarding home survival kits. I have spoken about car kits and home kits before. I think with the nationwide weather, and what is looking to me like events of homegrown terrorism on our electrical grid, a little more information and ideas to consider are due.

Also, information is starting to appear in op-eds, business sections, and the news that does not favor easy times next year. With this in mind, like our grandparents would have said, it’s time to get ready. No one will care for us but ourselves.

Preparing for a storm or attack

Preparing for a storm or an attack are much the same, according to ready.gov and other private sites.

Basics to consider

Stock up on:


Canned food

Can opener

Battery and hand crank radio with NOAA weather station and alerts

First aid kit

Extra batteries and battery packs for electronic devices

Solar cell phone charger or dual power charger


Disposable face masks and cloth face masks, one of each for each person

Plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal doors and windows closed

In case of terrorist attack

To protect against airborne chemical agents, stock the following:

12ʹx 12ʹ tarp for shelter if your home is no longer safe.

Moist towelettes and 12-gallon trash bags for sanitation

Monkey wrench or channel locks, medium to large for turning off water and gas valves

Old-school road map if GPS services are down

Full change of clothes

Thirty-day supply of daily medications and over the counter medications you use regularly

Infant formula, three days powder

Sleeping bag for each person including infants

Four -season tent with room for the whole family to lay down, not in comfort but lay down

Small fire extinguisher

Four-inch pocket knife

Write-when-wet pen and paper kit

For each person, a small plate, bowl, cup, spoon and fork (knife is already listed separately), wash basin

Small camp axe

Bic lighter and wood matches


Feminine supplies and sponge bath kit

Overview of kit: Whys and How To’s

Water: One gallon per day per person. A 25-gallon sealed barrel outside is a good way to keep water. Check and flush on a regular schedule to keep clean and safe.

Plastic sheathing to cover doors and windows in a chemical or biological attack, can be used to help make a shelter in a natural disaster.

A 12ʹ x 12ʹ tarp can be used to make a shelter if the home is not safe. This is large enough to provide some degree of cover, but not so big you can’t handle it by yourself.

Old-school road maps can be bought still at travel centers on I-90. You can use a highlighter to highlight emergency routes to Pierre, Bismarck and Rapid City. Sounds silly, but you might not be in a good frame of mind in an emergency. So plan ahead and follow your plan for things such as routes.

Infant formula should be dated when it goes in the kit and rotated out as it expires.

Sleeping bags: The best ones for survival have a waterproof outer shell. Make sure infants have their own so a bed can be made next to you for them. Remember, an infant in a sleeping bag with you could cause suffocation. Be safe and make them a safe camp bed.

Adult sleeping bags should have a temperature rating of -30°F. This is an expensive part of the kit as each bag will run about $100.

Small fire extinguisher will be needed, especially if you find yourself camping outdoors. Fire can be friend or foe depending on the amount of respect it is given. The extinguisher can also be used as a self-defense weapon like spraying from a mace can.

Cash will always be king. Try to build up enough to cover one tank of gas (or $40), three nights in a campground ($30) or one night in a motel, all depending on time of year; plus snacks for kids ($30). Total of $190 in small bills, ones, fives and tens. It’s tempting to set aside more than this, but in a true crisis situation too much cash could make you a target for looters, etc.

Small camp axe: You may need to make a fire or construct things from wood for a shelter. Look for an axe with a strong wood handle and heavy head, but not so heavy you can’t handle it easily. Take your time to try out a variety while in the store.

Wash basin and basin for sponge baths can be one in the same. Just clean it out as you use it. Metal is best and can be used for cooking, too, if needed, or boiling water for wound care and bathing.

This is a list of ideas that I use for my kit. The information comes from government disaster preparedness sites. Use the information as a guide. This is not the only way and there are plenty of options. The purpose here is to get you thinking ahead.

We live in a world that can change in a flash before our eyes. We can’t prepare for everything, but we can prepare for a lot.

This kit as listed will cost $1,200-$1,500. You are most likely not going to put this together in a weekend, but over the period of the next year it can be done. Many of the items you already may have so your cost may be much less. Also consider that this is a kit for four people. You may have more or fewer people to prepare for.

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