There has been so much bad weather this winter that we thought it might be a good idea to reiterate the importance of being prepared for a winter weather emergency in your home and in your car.
The Federal Emergency Management website is chock full of helpful information so we highly recommend that you give that a look-see when you have a chance. Here is the link to their list of supplies needed in a useful emergency kit. Some of these items (like a dust mask) aren’t really necessary for a winter emergency, but many of these things (like a flashlight, batteries etc.) are great things to have readily available in case you need them.
Here’s that link:
Another great thing to have on hand in your home and in your car is a DIY paint can alcohol heater. You can find a number of videos on YouTube about how to do this but it is very simple. You will need:
A brand new empty quart paint can (we sell these in the paint department)
A large roll of toilet paper with the interior cardboard core removed
Isopropyl alcohol 70% or 91%. There seems to be some debate about which is best. 70% has more water per volume but will burn just fine. 91% contains less water and burns hotter. It’s your choice.
Fold the toilet paper roll in half lengthwise as best you can.
Now comes the hard part…you need to stuff the toilet paper roll (lengthwise again) into the paint can. The best method for doing this seems to be the squeeze, turn and push method that works the toilet paper into the can. It is important to get the roll all the way in. The can should be completely full of toilet paper. The paper acts as a wick for the fuel (the alcohol)
Now, slowly pour the alcohol into the can. Keep filling until the toilet paper is completely saturated. Pour a bit, wait for it to settle in and if the can still isn’t full…pour in a bit more until the paper can’t soak up any more alcohol.
Place the lid back onto the can securely so that it is sealed (give it a few taps with a mallet like we do here in the paint department) and tape a paint can opener and a lighter to the side of the can with duct tape.
To use, remove the lid and carefully light. Alcohol burns pretty clean so sometimes it is hard to see the flame so be exceedingly careful.
If you have to use this heater in your car in an emergency, be sure to leave the window cracked just a bit. An open flame consumes oxygen, and you don’t want to get asphyxiated trying to stay warm.
This heater can be refueled. Just add more alcohol after the flame is extinguished and the heater has cooled…we certainly don’t want any fire related accidents.
To extinguish the heater, just carefully place the lid back on top. This will snuff the fire out. When it is cool enough to touch, add more alcohol, seal the lid, and the heater will be ready for the next use.
Here is a link to one of the better videos. Our only complaint is that this guy should have purchased his empty paint cans at ACE!
There are also ways to modify this heater so that it can also be used to cook. This would be helpful in the house in case of a power outage. There are a number of ways to do this including placing the alcohol heater into a larger (brand new) gallon paint can and insulating between the two cans with pebbles or sand and then placing some sort of grate (like the kind on a gas stove) on top to hold your cooking vessel.
Again…we cannot stress enough that this heater has an open flame and alcohol is extremely flammable so please, please, please use common sense and caution.
Another thing to consider…and we don’t mean to be indelicate…is personal sanitation. If you are stuck in your car for a while, you made need bathroom facilities, and if you’re stuck in a big snowy traffic jam where there are lots of other people, you may not be able to sneak off to the side of the road to…well…you know.
Carry an extra strong, leak proof garbage bag, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. It may not be easy, and it may not be glamourous…but it will get the job done…so to speak.
We are devoted to our customers so please, do what is necessary to stay safe this winter and let us help you find the right supplies to suit your needs. We are well stocked with almost anything you need to survive a winter emergency.