Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dealing with 'Snowmageddon'

I'd like to wax poetic on prep tips for dealing with all of the snow that has recently pummeled the eastern part of our country but today was 60 degrees and sunny at my house which kind of takes the passionate discourse out of this post. In fact, this has been one of the warmest winters on record with nary a snowflake hitting our area all winter. I will, however, be heading to DC in a few weeks...and I'm hoping all of the snow will be melted by then. So for our readers who are either snowbound or enjoying a bit of cross country skiing without having to leave the city, here's some random tips:
  • Obviously, stay inside if at all possible. No need adding to the confusion, accidents, and craziness that accompany a major snowfall on the highways and byways.
  • If you are out of power, keeping one room as warm as possible where the whole family can hang out and sleep if necessary, is important.
  • Never use your barbecue to cook inside your home and always properly vent any appliances (generator, alternative fuel heaters, etc) so as to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. If you or the kids are getting wet and cold from being outside--either to play or to work--ensure that you and/or the kids can get warm and dry regularly.
  • Check on elderly friends, relatives, and neighbors who can sometimes freeze to death for a variety of reasons (inability to judge temperature, lack of heat, lack of resources to seek help, etc).
  • If you have any sort of food in the house, then don't panic and don't run out and stock up "just in case". Just prior to the storm beginning, the stores in DC looked like they had been ransacked by people who were panic buying. Now this isn't TEOTWAWKI and the snow will eventually melt--it isn't like the snow will hang around for a few weeks before people can get outside. So just relax and eat the food that you have in your house. Most people have enough food tucked away in the back of their cupboards to last for weeks. They don't usually eat this food and continue buying more food each week, but if necessary, it is possible to get creative and have enough food to sustain you until things can get back to normal.
  • If you are involved in a car accident due to the snowy conditions, don't immediately get out of your car. The same slipping and sliding that caused you to crash can also make others crash and you don't want to be standing out in the open when this happens.
  • When heading outside be careful not only of out of control cars but falling trees and power lines that have been weighted down by the icy snow.
  • Hire help if necessary. Shoveling snow is great exercise but if throwing out your back or sending you into cardiac arrest from the exertion is a possibility, hire this work done. Ditto for removing trees (if you don't know how to do this, don't do it), patching roofs, and other activities that can be dangerous.
  • Relax and enjoy the storm. There isn't much you can do about the snowy weather so why not enjoy it? Get lots of sleep, read a book, play board games with the kids...basically all of the things you never have time to do is now available so take advantage of the situation.

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