winterDid winter catch you unaware? Nope, not me, but this winter has brought to my attention just how unprepared so many people are to deal with winter storms that can bring ice, snow, power outages, traffic jams, kids out of school for days on end. Can anyone say Atlanta and what happened at the end of January? Up here in Virginia we received storm after storm and down at Virginia Beach they got caught with the unusual, if not quite unheard of 10 inches of snow.
Roads were slick, icy, snow packed. Can’t tell you how many tracks I saw going off the side of the road into to trees. But I am digressing here. We all know what winter can bring and what can happen IF you aren’t prepared or caught unaware.
Here are some of my own winter storm survival ‘rules’ that I have learned over the years and have kept me and mine safe and sound.

First and foremost though, be AWARE of the potential weather in and around your area.

Rule #1: If you can, stay home or shelter in place. Seems simple yeah? But how many of you go to work or just have to do one last thing at the split moment the storm is coming in or just getting going. Now I will admit I break this rule on occassion, but that brings me to…
Rule #2: Don’t drive if you can’t drive…what are your limits and capabilities in snow? Your experience? Your vehicle? I have driven a LOT of miles in bad road conditions over the years because of a job I had. It only took ONE TIME for me to ditch my car to learn that slow as you go and no sharp steering or breaking is KING if you have to drive in snow and/or ice. Oh and by the way…just because you have a truck or SUV with 4 wheel drive does NOT mean you get to drive fast or suddenly can defy the laws of physics regarding ice 🙂
Rule #3: Keep some sort of emergency bag with food, water, light and more clothes or a blanket in your vehical. You get stuck out on the road or find yourself having to shelter in place you’ll be ahead of the game.
Rule #4: Always let someone know when you are leaving and the route you will be taking. This rule also includes…keeping in touch! Keep that cell phone battery charged. Check to make sure you can charge it in your vehical or some otherway. Test your charging cords…they do go bad.

Now for some rules at home:
Rule #1: if you don’t have to leave…stay home, yep, there’s that rule again, but its worth repeating…
Rule #2: Always keep extra food IN THE HOUSE, that way you get to avoid the phenomenon known as…’oh my god, its going to snow, time to get bread, milk and toliet paper!’ you know, that bum rush to the store.
Rule #3: Have a way to stay warm if the power goes out…extra blankets, a wood stove, propane heaters. This is a subject in and of itself, but have it.
Rule #4: Have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in your house that WORKS.
Rule #5: If you do have to go outside, be sure to wear appropriate clothing for the conditions. I don’t care if its just to take the garbage out…you slip and fall, well, you will appreciate at least being warm until you can get help.
Rule #6: Don’t forget your animals…the family pet or farm animals require more food, unfrozen water, and more attention to their shelter or less time/exposure to the elements.
Lastly, and this isn’t so much a rule…keep sane, sleep in or something you have been putting off…work isn’t everything and sometimes its just nice to let winter be winter.

Stay safe!