Five Ways to Survive a Blizzard

Are You Prepared to Survive a Blizzard?

Blizzards can be deadly, and knowing how to survive a blizzard is crucial, especially if you live in a colder climate.

One of the most dangerous aspects of blizzards is the loss of visibility. The blinding snow can cause serious issues, especially if you are outdoors. In addition, the steep decline in temperature blizzards bring in can cause in frostbite or even hypothermia, so be sure to stay indoors!

With this in mind, it’s important that you and your family are prepared and know how to stay safe, should you find yourself fighting against this severe snowstorm.

Here are 5 recommendations to help you and your family survive a blizzard.

  1. Planning Ahead

Any avid prepper will tell you about the importance of planning ahead, but when it comes to storms and natural disasters, it is absolutely vital that you have a plan of action ready.

First, you’ll need to make sure to have a source of heat available. It’s great if you have a fireplace in your home, but make sure you know exactly how to use it, so you aren’t putting yourself or anyone else in danger. I advis that you gather firewood to bring inside, and make sure to gather enough to last you for at least a few days. 

Having a generator will also be extremely useful for planning ahead, but bear in mind that it will need to have enough fuel to last throughout the storm. This also should be kept outdoors, as there is a great safety risk if it is kept inside. 


As with any preparation for a survival situation, your supplies will need to be well-stocked. Along with your emergency survival food, you’ll need to keep large bottles and jugs of water filled up beforehand. If you hear of a storm warning, make sure to do this as soon as possible, to prevent any issues once the storm hits. 

A first-aid kit is, of course, essential in any home, so make sure this is fully stocked too. Be sure to include any necessary medications that you or your family may need.

In a lockdown survival situation such as this one, you should keep extra emergency items in the home. These would include items such as a battery-powered radio and a flashlight, along with extra blankets and clothes to keep everyone warm.

You might find yourself stuck in your vehicle when the storm hits, so you’ll need to ensure that the car’s survive a blizzardbattery has enough power beforehand. It needs to be strong enough to get the engine going to keep you warm. Bear in mind that if your car battery is older than four years, it may need replacing as well. It might be best to avoid relying on it while trying to survive a blizzard.

You should also check that your car itself is in good condition. Confirm that the tires don’t need replacing. Change the oil to suit the cold weather, as not all oils can flow well in the cold. Make sure to keep a survival kit in the car too. This should include all of the essential items, such as emergency food and water, but also have items to keep your car running, such as a tool kit and booster cables. A flashlight is a must, as well as road flares, to help alert people of your presence in the car. 

Blizzards can cause severe damage to power lines, and this, combined with having an emergency heat source at home, increases the chances of a fire. Consider keeping a fire extinguisher in your home, and regularly check that all smoke detectors are working for maximum safety.

  1. Using a Vehicle for Safety

Although I’ve mentioned preparing your car in the previous step, you should aim to avoid driving at all during a blizzard. If possible, try to get home before the storm hits.  You’ll be much safer indoors.

However, this can’t always be avoided. Here are a few ways you can stay safe inside a vehicle:

Clear the exhaust pipe

An exhaust pipe blocked with snow and ice is extremely dangerous, and can cause deadly poisoning from a carbon monoxide build-up. Do not skip this step if you’re in a vehicle.

Alert rescuers

It will be difficult for people to see you and your car during a high-intensity blizzard. To attract attention, turn on your hazard lights or use road flares. This will increase not only your safety, but also the safety of others as other road users can avoid your car. If you’re stuck, you should contact emergency services (if feasible).

Stay in the car

The only time you should leave your car is to clear the exhaust pipe. Being inside a vehicle will be warmer than outside of it, so don’t be tempted to step into the cold. You also wouldn’t want to lose your way back to the car, should you stray away from it. 

Keep moving

Having good circulation will keep you warm, so try to do small exercises inside the car, such as clapping your hands or stomping your feet. 

Turn the engine on at regular intervals

Try not to burn the engine out, so don’t run it for longer than 20 minutes at a time. However, starting the engine around once an hour will help to keep you warm.

Eat and drink

Don’t forget to stay hydrated and nourished, and take advantage of your emergency supplies when you need to. If you run out of water, don’t resort to eating snow. This will only decrease your body temperature. 

  1. What if you’re stuck outdoors?

If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught outdoors, there are still ways you can survive a blizzard.

Look for shelter as a priority

This is the most important thing you need to do. Shelter can be anything from a building to a car, or even just a stable structure to hide underneath. If possible, you could even build a snow shelter. Check out this guide for information on how to do this. 

Get help

If you have access to a working cell phone, then try to contact the emergency services, along with a family or friend, to assist you out of the cold. If not, shout for help and try to attract attention from anyone nearby.

Keep moving

Similar to the actions you should take if stuck in a vehicle, you’ll need to keep the circulation flowing to prevent developing frostbite. Kick your legs and wave your arms if you can. 

Stay hydrated if you can

If you are a keen prepper, chances are you won’t be without a water bottle wherever you go. This means you’ll have something to drink from should you find yourself in situations like this. Don’t be tempted to eat snow. If it’s absolutely necessary, you should make sure it is fully melted first, and, if possible, boiled.

  1. Waiting it out

Once the storm is in full force, all you can do is wait it out. However, there are a few precautions you can take to make sure your preparation doesn’t go to waste.

The first thing you should do is to get out of wet clothes and warm yourself up if you’ve been stuck outside and finally made it indoors. You don’t want to have finally found shelter, only to sit around in wet clothes and get frostbite.

Make sure you stay in a well-insulated room in your house or building, preferably one that has as few windows and doors as possible to help keep the heat in. For extra insulation, cover any windows with blankets or towels. Make sure you cover up the gaps underneath doors. 

While the blizzard is raging on, you can keep updated if you are lucky enough to still have power in your building. You can watch the local news, or even use your smartphone to find out information. Apps such as Twitter are great for this, as tweets are quick and easy to read during a crisis.

Remember: Stay Inside!

Do not leave your building, as it exposes you to many potential risks.

  1. Clearing up afterward

Survive a BlizzardOnce the blizzard finally passes, that doesn’t mean you can suddenly start frolicking around outdoors. There will be snow to clear up and the weather may still be dangerously cold. It would be a shame to survive a blizzard and put yourself at risk afterwards!

Make sure you wear plenty of layers when you do venture outside, and be sure to clean the snow up carefully, either by snow shoveling or snow blowing. 


Blizzards don’t happen too often. When they do happen, though, you now have the knowledge and necessary preparation to survive a blizzard. 

Take care out there, and good luck!

Terry Daine is a former Royal Marines Commando, enthusiastic about all things survival-related. Terry created Survival Front to bring you the best survival product reviews and to help you improve your survival preparation, with quality guides and expert insights. You can also follow Survival Front on Facebook to stay updated with all of the latest articles.

Have other suggestions about how to survive a blizzard? Contact me or leave a comment below.

Survive a Blizzard

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