Camping & Survival

Old Man Winter Can Sneak up on You

Two men crossing the street during a blizzard.

So you feel that it might be necessary to plan for a day when the SHTF. This is a wise choice. Even in minor emergencies, pre planning for large emergencies will ensure that you never go without. I live in Texas, and as such, I am not used to things like snow and ice. If it does snow here, it happens once a year, and doesn’t tend to stick. Last winter however, we had a terrible ice storm in the Dallas area and many of us found ourselves in a bit of a pinch.

I like to think that I keep myself well prepared for most situations. My military and emergency management training has instilled a mindset in me that I try to live by. Always be proactive, and not reactive. To be proactive, I plan for the winter, even down here in Texas. I’m sure those of you who live in cooler climates are better suited to handle a harsh winter storm, but believe me, when old man winter visits Texas, SHTF is an understatement.

Dallas Snowstorm
So Cold the Cattle Froze Stiff!
When the storm initially hit, we woke up to a wintry playground. Local schools closed and all the children went outside to make snow angels and throw snowballs at one another. Sounds silly I know, but for some of these kids, this is the first snow they’ve ever seen. After several days of ice and cold, the demands on the power grid became too much for the system to handle, and large areas of residents began to go black. Rolling blackouts were for the lucky, and some folks were without power for days. The state of Texas actually purchased power from the grid in Mexico. At about 6:00 p.m. on the third day, the power went out in my apartment. I live in a modern building near new suburban development and all of my appliances are electric. This meant no stove, no refrigerator, no hot water, and no heat. The roads were impossible to drive on, not so much because of the ice, but the other drivers. Southern folk can pan-fry the hell out of a chicken, but driving on ice isn’t really something they are used to. I decided that staying put was probably the best option since I had plenty of supplies. I have a full-sized fireplace in my living room and a large cast iron dutch oven. I keep a healthy supply of wood outside on my patio (despite my apartment complex complaining about it). I started up a roaring flame and the place started getting a bit warmer. I had a 50-pound bag of rice in a giant plastic bin and a handy BBQ grill outside. My closet seriously looks like the basement in the movie Tremors. I decided that I could use this little inconvenience as a practice run for a real life SHTF scenario. Why not hone your survival skills while sitting around your place waiting for the TV to come back on?
Dallas Snow
Crossing the Street During a Storm in Texas: Not Smart
As it turned out, some of my friends, who lived nearby, weren’t so well prepared. A knock on my door produced five familiar faces that were looking for a warm place to chill. I politely welcomed them in and I told them I would be happy to share my stuff until this blows over. I had a freezer full of venison from hunting a month earlier and I was anxious to use it anyway. I remember saying something like, “Who’s crazy now buddy?” We had an awesome time hanging out for a couple of days, even though I ran out of scotch the first night. Note to self, add copious amounts of scotch to survival supply closet. Lesson learned. After a couple of days the roads had cleared enough to allow safe passage, things quickly went back to normal. The power company restored service to most of the state and my friends and I went on our merry ways.

My friends took the experience as a lesson to keep them better prepared for the unexpected. Well stocked food supplies and replacements for the things that we take for granted, like electricity, is just the beginning. Learning a wide array of survival skills is something that everyone owes it to himself or herself to learn. While I would be more than happy to help others in an emergency, I think everyone can agree that it is better to stay prepared yourself, rather than rely on the generosity of others. What things do you do to prepare yourself for the unexpected? Comment below and let us know. Maybe you can give someone else a new idea they didn’t initially consider!

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1 Comment;

  1. If you live in a house and can afford to get one [about $5,000]… get a Generac Generator that runs off both natural gas & Propane with the flick of a single switch. I have a 20KW that runs the whole house. It comes on instantly as soon as the power goes out and switches itself off when the power is restored. It is designed to run 200 hours before needing any kind of service such as checking the oil or air filter. Whether it is tornados, ice storms, brown-outs or a zombie take over…. as long as you have natural gas or propane… you will have electricity too.

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