Nature has always been a somewhat unpredictable force for humans. And as the climate crisis worsens, weather patterns are becoming more extreme and harder to anticipate. One of the most deadly hazards that affect people every year is severe temperatures, like extreme cold.
Since protective measures and weather trends differ based on geographic location, what counts as extreme cold may be subjective. While someone in Vancouver may define extreme cold as below freezing, people in the Prairie provinces and Northern Canada accustomed to a colder climate may consider temperatures extreme when they drop below -20°C
Regardless, it’s essential that you know how to prepare for extreme cold to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Dress in Layers
Knowing what to wear in the cold may seem obvious, but getting dressed for extremely low temperatures requires more preparation.
Focus on layering lighter articles of clothing instead of wearing one bulky item. Layers help to trap heat.
For the layers closest to your body, you want moisture-wicking. Choose synthetics over cotton. As much as possible, you want to avoid sweating because when the temperature drops at night, it can cause hypothermia.
Make sure your outer layer, like a coat, is tightly woven and waterproof in case of strong winds or snow.
Protect Your Extremities
A warm core is important. But shielding vulnerable extremities, like hands, feet, nose, and ears, from the cold can stave off dangerous frostbite.
Mittens are superior to gloves because they allow your fingers to all stay together and keep each other warm for longer. Wear a hat made from synthetic materials or wool, a tightly-woven scarf to protect your neck, and a face mask to protect yourself from cold winds.
Doubling up on socks is acceptable, but if they’re too tight, you may reduce circulation to your feet, increasing the risk of frostbite. Like with your moisture-wicking underclothes, you’ll want wicking liner socks underneath heavier socks made of wool.
Stock Up to Stay Inside
For your safety, do not leave your home during bouts of extreme cold. Minimize the number of times you need to open and close windows and doors by stocking up on necessities. Make sure to stock your pantry with non-perishables, including dry and canned goods.
Before the cold rolls in, you’ll want to think about prepping an emergency kit in case. An emergency kit should be tailored to your family’s specific needs but may include battery-powered flashlights or lanterns, medications, extra clothing, or spare blankets.
Drink Beverages That Truly Warm You Up (Not Alcohol)
Some people drink alcohol during the winter because they believe it helps them warm up. However, the consumption of alcohol can make a person more susceptible to the effects of the cold, increasing their likelihood of hypothermia or even cold-related deaths.
Intoxication may also make it harder for people to get to a shelter in extreme cold. If you plan to consume alcohol during a spell of extreme cold, do so in a safe, warm location, and don’t venture out into the cold while inebriated.
If you want a drink to warm up, it’s better to go for tea, coffee, cocoa, or cider. Even a mug of hot water will do. These won’t lower your body’s ability to fight off the cold.
Have Backup Power at the Ready
Powerful snow storms often accompany freezing temperatures. When this happens, like in any severe weather event, homes or businesses can lose power. An outage can be dangerous when you rely on grid-supplied electricity to heat your home, cook your food, and communicate with the outside world.
A backup power source can be a true lifesaver in extreme cold. Renewable energy technology, like the EcoFlow DELTA Solar Generators, are safer and easier to use than gas generators in extreme cold. Gas-powered generators emit toxic fumes, so you can’t use them indoors, but you can use solar battery-powered generators fume-free.
Even if you don’t have a solar array to generate renewable energy, you can still find safer alternatives to gas generators. Backup batteries like the DELTA Portable Power Stations can operate inside and recharge using AC outlets, keeping electricity in reserve for when your family needs it.
Take Extra Care with Babies, Pets, and Older Adults
Infants and older people are at greater risk when exposed to extreme temperatures. Babies may not yet have the ability to maintain a consistent body temperature, while older adults may have lost some of the functionality of their thermal regulatory mechanisms. Do not allow babies or older adults outside during extreme cold if possible. If going outside is unavoidable, ensure proper clothing is worn.
Additionally, pay extra attention to your pets! It can be easy to assume that the hair on an animal is enough to keep them warm, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Dogs and cats often walk around on the cold floor with no protection for their paws. Rugs, blankets, or even clothing for your pets can help reduce their risk of harm during extreme cold.
Keep a Road Survival Kit Ready
Getting caught in a blizzard is never good. If you’re travelling when a snowstorm rolls through, you could end up stranded on the highway for a while. The consequences of being stranded in a storm during extreme weather conditions could be fatal. Winter storms can move in quickly, so you should always keep a survival kit in your vehicle when you’re on the go during the winter.
A road survival kit should consist of a battery-powered flashlight, warm gloves, a blanket, candles for warmth, a lighter, and jumper cables to restart a dead battery. You should also stock some non-perishable food, bottled water, and hygiene supplies to ride out the storm.
Preparation may be the difference between life and death in extreme cold. Don’t take the risk. Stock up on essentials, invest in backup power, dress in layers, and have a game plan to protect vulnerable people and animals in your household.
If you’re getting your winter kit ready for extreme colds, consider EcoFlow. Our line of solar generators and portable power stations ensures an option for everybody, whether you want to power a four-family home or a camper van for two.