Suddenly Awakened To A Nighttime Emergency During The Cold Winter Season


How is your preparedness for this:

The season is winter. While asleep at night in bed, you are suddenly awakened – and the circumstance requires that you quickly take action. The ‘action’ might be a quick evacuation or to get outside (for whatever reason).

Given the season (cold outside), hypothermia may rapidly debilitate you (or worse) just minutes after getting outside.

Amidst the disorientation and adrenaline rush, how long will it take you during an emergency to dress appropriately so you don’t get hypothermia after several minutes outside?

When seconds count, you can give yourself a better chance by keeping clothes at the ready. Here’s what I do…

At night, I simply drape over the foot-board of the bed – the clothes that I was wearing that day. This way I can quickly get dressed in seconds if I had to, even in the dark. I always know where they are, because I always do this. Also, I always keep shoes at the foot of the bed.

This may sound ridiculously simple, but I’m not so sure how prepared everyone is for a nighttime emergency evac during the winter. Try stepping outside on a cold winter night with just your PJ’s (or whatever you wear or don’t wear at night)… Depending on temperature and conditions, and your ability to quickly seek warm shelter, you could be facing hypothermia or even death very quickly.

If you keep your clothes at the ready in the same place each night, you will be able to quickly dress in the dark if you have to. When you’re under sudden extreme pressure and stress, it is sometimes difficult to think clearly or to move rapidly, so by developing an instinctive response, you will be better able to take appropriate action (quickly).

So while this post is short, I hope the message is sound. Take a minute to plan how you would quickly dress (for the cold) after suddenly being awakened at night requiring that you get outside.


  1. You make a valid point. We heat with wood, and at least once during the night one of us will get up to add wood to the stove. I have often thought, what would happen, if, while loading the stove a stray coal popped out un-noticed onto the carpet. Since this is our nightly routine, we don’t even turn on the lights to do this anymore. So its possible that a fire could start and spread quickly before the smoke detectors go off. I routinely lay out my clothes for the next day, but I never gave much thought to footwear. I will change that starting tonight.

    1. Slightly off topic:

      Keep clothes in the basement in case of nighttime tornados. If your family flees to the basement, chances are they will survive a tornado. Afterwards, do you want your children walking through the debris field barefoot in their jammies?

  2. Keep a set of clothes and footwear in the car. One of those insulated coveralls and some boots and socks is a good choice. If there is a fire you’re not going to have time to dress even with clothes at the foot of the bed. Sure they’re within reach and you could grab them on your way out and get dressed outside still, but what if during the rush something is dropped like a sock or a shirt. It may not mean hypothermia but having a full set of clothes you can get to safely would at least make yourself more comfortable while you’re roasting marshmallows over what used to be your house, cabin, retreat, etc.

    For a lesser emergency where you’re not going to be rushing outside immediately, like a zombie hoarde, intruders on the property, or just the dogs raising all kinds of hell, then having clothing and footwear nearby is an excellent idea.

    1. Since I sleep in the buff most of the time, I will take a minute to throw on an article or two of clothing before I throw myself out the window in order to avoid the flames that will surely be heating my buns at that time. I also do keep an extra set of clothes in the trunk of my car should I find myself running around the outside of my house butt naked. Which actually happened to me once, in the middle of the night when I got locked out of the house, but that’s a story for another time.(Note to self, pack the marshmallows in the trunk with the extra clothes.)

  3. If you keep cash in the house, have it in the box of clothes under the bed with your car keys.

  4. all good advice/remineders..

    Peanut Gallery , maybe so, maybe not. I have heard more than one news story where the firemen rescued a person in the buff…grin.. food for thought.

    good advice too, re the clothes in car, reasons for such.

    also, me, I most always wear runners, which require “tying” up.

    I am thinking I need a pair tied loosely, and left in position, so they can be “slipped on” in such an emergency.

  5. The firemen on duty have their clothing/uniform set up beside their beds in a way that allows them to step into their boots and pull their pants on then reach for the jacket to complete the process of dressing that fast. There is probably something to be learned from this technique.

  6. Peanut, that is a good reason not to have carpet around a wood stove or fireplace.

    Be prepared to dress in a hurry whatever the season.

  7. I live on the west coast of BC, earthquake zone, so I always have a pair of hard soled shoes by the bed.

  8. I also keep a waterproof compression sack in my truck with a lightweight base layer, warm clothing, a pair of boots, warm socks, jacket, and sweatshirt. It stays in the truck no matter the season.

  9. During the summer I sleep in my boxers and ankle socks.

    Winter I usually sleep in long johns and wool socks because I like it cold when i snooze. The other three items I keep near the bed are my very warm slippers and my rabbit fur lined hat and of course my 1911.

    Good idea about keeping clothes on the bed post just in case.


    Snake Plisken

  10. How many here remember dressing, making the bed and in formation at attention all within 3 minutes?

    1. ^ CAN one EVER forget?! ;) Ft. Benning 11C/Schwienfurt W.GERMANY RAMPAGE!

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