Living in the Midwest we’ve already had our first blast of winter. We went from sunny and 70 to snow and blizzard conditions in a matter of days. This rapid change got me behind the 8 ball on switching my mindset and gear over to winter preparedness. So after getting everything switched over I figured it’s a good opportunity to share some of my thoughts and processes.

First it comes to gas in the tank! My preference for day to day is to keep at least half a tank in the car, this becomes a bit more important during the winter. In the event I get stranded somewhere and the car is able to run I can at least keep warm or keep others warm if I roll up in an accident.

Knowing that my car may not always be operable or that I may need to change a tire, treat myself or others after a crash or even walk for help, I make sure to have warm clothes along. For the longest time I would wear shorts and flip flops to bring my kids to school, but with the cold weather upon us, it’s time to throw on pants and shoes and even a light jacket. Beyond that I always have a “winter bag” in my car that includes:

  • A warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Insulation coat
  • Waterproof coat
  • Waterproof pants

May seem like a lot and sometimes it could be considered overkill, but it pairs well with my everyday clothing and commuting to better take care of myself, my family or others. I’m a huge fan of layering and feel like it’s becoming a lost skill set. Some could argue that we’re too comfortable; going from warm buildings to warm cars and back again. Having layers gives options for being protected from the elements as best possible. If I have to change a tire or perform CPR (I am an active Firefighter / EMT) insulation isn’t likely needed, but a shell to keep the wind or rain off my back is fantastic. On the flip side if I have to wait for help and my car isn’t operable I can bundle up and stay a bit warmer if needed.

Make conscious decisions each day based on the weather to be prepared. Knowing what the weather, your schedule and the outside influences that may impact your day to day activities is important. Sometimes it may be a good idea to throw a pair of warm boots, hand warmers or other items in the car for a day or two. These kits should evolve with your abilities, lifestyle and environmental factors. Focus on the basics and adjust accordingly.

We can’t prepare for everything and my winter bag isn’t designed for that. The intent is to provide some basic comforts so that I can stay in the right mindset to manage the situation at hand and get back on track. Look at what you need, adapt your kit and keep planning and preparing.

As with anything, stay warm, stay dry, stay prepared. The first step is taking care of myself so I can serve others!

People. Protection. Peace of Mind!