Tag Archives: Winter

  •  How Prepared is your car for an emergency?

    In light of the recent debacle in Georgia, when a dusting of snow over ice locked up roadways across the state, one local insurance company set out to see how prepared their city’s citizens were.

    According to Delawareonline.com, the “junk in the trunk” campaign hosted by State Farm found that, while drivers tend to leave or store plenty of items in their car, relatively few of them count as “emergency supplies” (not real sure how those mason jars are going to come in handy…).

    So, if you can’t quite think of a good use for old fast food bags and crusty beach towels from last summer, what should you stash in your car? FEMA has a good checklist, as does ReadyWisconsin who might know a thing or two about snow days, to get you and your vehicle prepared with the right supplies.

    Or, if you’re a level 5 prepping fanatic—and drive something more substantial than, say, a Civic hatchback—you can use the Allstate Insurance comprehensive, ready-for-absolutely-any-kind-of-road-trip-emergency checklist.

    Start here to gather materials, and don’t forget to clear out all the stuff from your car that you’ll never use! Except the ketchup packets. You really never know when you’ll need one of those.

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter preparedness, emergency car preparedness, car

  • What would you do if you ran across wild animal tracks?

    It seems I just wrote a post about a family who went for a short mountain outing and ended up stuck in the snow for days. The last one happened in Nevada. This newest one happened in Idaho, and adds a chilling new element to an already frightening, if familiar, winter scenario.

    Friends Will Murkle and John Julian loaded up an SUV with their kids for an afternoon ride in the snow. When Will’s wife still hadn’t heard from them by midnight, she panicked. Turns out the group had gotten stuck in the snow and decided to walk to the nearest town for help.

    Which is when things got really dicey.

    “‘The scariest thing was when we came across fresh wolf tracks,’ Will Murkle said. ‘And we could tell wolves had been in the area recently.’”

    Not many of us would think to include bear spray or pepper spray in a car emergency kit, and even fewer of us would know what to do if we were to encounter an aggressive animal while stranded. The Murkle-Julian party got lucky—the tracks were as much of the wolves as they saw. So as not to rely on luck, however, here are a couple of resources to help us all avoid being eaten (or—more likely—just attacked) in an emergency situation.

    • Alaska knows a thing or two about wolves. Read their Department of Fish and Game’s article, “Living With Wolves”, then check the links to the left of that article for how to deal with other potentially predatory wildlife.

    Just because you’re isolated doesn’t mean all is lost! Know how to protect yourself and your family when circumstances are worse than you thought.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Emergency plan, Survival, emergency preparedness, wildlife

  • Tweets show how the South is prepping for severe winter storms

    According to Accuweather.com, “A snow and ice storm will severely impact travelers and residents from northern Georgia to the Carolinas into Wednesday night.” This storm is even expected to stretch into Virginia and parts of Tennessee. It’s been reported that this could be one of the worst ice storms for parts of the South in more than 10 years.

    Recently the South has experienced massive ice and snow storms, uncharacteristic to the region. Two weeks ago, Atlanta, Ga. was hit hard by an expected storm that stranded thousands on the road overnight. Now, many residents are vowing not to get caught off guard again.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Lisa Nadir, a resident of Acworth, Ga., stated in a My Fox New York article, "Last time I was totally unprepared, I was completely blindsided….I'm going to be prepared from now on for the rest of my life."  Nadir sat in traffic for 13 hours and spent the night in her car on Jan. 28th when the first major storm hit.

    Like Nadir, many Georgia residents are preparing for this big, new storm. Wednesday afternoon, the business sector of downtown Atlanta was found deserted as many residents stayed home. Reluctant to experience a similar traffic jam as they saw two weeks ago, these residents are making a change to avoid being caught on gridlocked roads for hours.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    On Wednesday morning, over 2,000 flights coming in and out of Atlanta International Airport were cancelled. And there are several images on Twitter from the New York Times and the Weather Channel showing grocery store shelves that have been practically picked clean as people stock up for the storm.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Two major concerns with this storm are icy roadways and power outages. Freezing rain, sleet, and snow could (once again) leave many stranded on the road. And the weight of ice on tree limbs could cause them to fall onto power lines, creating widespread power outages.

    Take some cues from the spirit of preparation that many in Atlanta now have; prepare yourselves for winter storms with the following articles and products:

    Sources

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/ice-storm-begins-to-unfold-in/23186487

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/24688333/with-dire-storm-forecast-many-in-ga-stay-home

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: winter storms, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter preparedness, winter weather, South, disaster preparedness, storms

  • New York is faced with severe snowy and icy conditions this winter season

    Snow storms across the country are transforming daily life, but in New York, it’s not the actual storm that’s causing the problems.

    “This is not anything we didn’t expect,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We did have notice of this storm. The shortage of salt is a complicating factor.”

    So far this winter, downstate New York has been hit pretty hard with storm after storm, resulting in a severely depleted supply of road salt for New York City and Long Island.

    The Daily News reports storms surging across the eastern state, pounding upstate New York with snowfalls at a rate of one to two inches an hour, and covering downstate New York in freezing rain and ice.

    In some areas, a half-inch of ice has formed, creating slick paths and causing power outages where the ice has taken down tree limbs and power lines.

    To help with the conditions, the state is re-directing 3,500 tons of salt—130 truckloads worth—downstate to areas in need. In this state of emergency, New York has also put 1,700 plows on the roads and asked New Yorkers to stay home.

    Read the rest of the Daily News’ article “Gov. Cuomo Declares NY State of Emergency; Cites Road Salt Shortage Downstate"to learn more about the conditions in New York.

    As winter continues to bear down around us, prep yourself for the weather (and corresponding emergencies that come with it) in your area. Keeping your own supply of road salt, or even kitty litter, can help you get out of a slippery situation.

    If you haven’t already, it’s about time to winterize your grab-and-go bag and get ready for the unexpected, even if winter weather in your area doesn't seem likely. As the snow continues to fall, check out these winter driving tips that may save your life when you’re on the roads.

    Photo Courtesy of the Daily News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency power, skills, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, New York

  • Europe Under Glass: Slovenia's Worst Ice Storm in History

    Chances are pretty good you have no idea where Slovenia is. I probably wouldn’t either, if I hadn’t been sent there more than a decade ago as a volunteer missionary.

    Nestled between Italy, Austria, and Hungary cuddled up under the Alps, and just kissing the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is quite possibly the prettiest little place on the planet. Similar to the climate of my native Pacific Northwest, Slovenia’s weather is typically mild.  I remember a moderately snowy winter and a slightly humid summer—but I don’t remember anything like what the former Yugoslav republic is experiencing right now.

    According to Reuters, heavy ice is responsible for Slovenia’s “worst devastation in living memory.” Back-to-back blizzards and dramatic temperature changes have created a layer of ice heavy enough to bring down utility towers and strong enough to seal cars under its thick casing. No deaths have been reported, but Slovenia’s infrastructure—including everything from public transit to ATMs—is, well, frozen. Flip through this amazing gallery of western Slovenia, completely encased in ice.

     

    When we think about winter preparations, we spend a lot of effort protecting ourselves from the dangers of snow and cold. But we shouldn’t forget the havoc that half a day of above-freezing temps can wreak in the midst of blizzard season—even in the US. Here are a few other examples of the damage ice has caused here in Indiana and Texas. Check those out, and then read up on winterizing your home.

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: warmth, Winter, emergency preparedness

  • Winter driving is a tricky skill to learn, but will be worth it in a storm

    Quite frankly, winter driving can be a pain in the neck.  The conditions can make the road dangerous and your car may not respond the way it does in warmer weather. On icy roads, everything takes longer to do safely—starting, stopping, and making turns. Here are some winter driving tips to help you stay safe on the road:

     

    Learn How to Drive Safely in Snow

      • Don’t pass snowplows or sanding trucks—even if they’re slow.
      • Don’t tailgate! Leave extra room between vehicles and avoid pulling right in front of another vehicle; the driver may not be able to brake quickly enough to let you in.
      • Do everything gently—do not over-steer, stomp your brakes, or try to accelerate quickly from a stop. Overreacting can easily send your car out of control.
      • Do not use cruise control in areas where an unexpected patch of ice might cause you to tap your brake; you could spin out of control. Never “pump” anti-lock brakes.
      • Swirling, blowing snow on the highway can be disorienting; slow down and watch for cars drifting into your lane. Turn on your low-beam lights so other drivers can see you. During daylight hours, polarized sunglasses may help you see better.

     

    Learn What to Do if You’re Stuck in Snow or Ice

      • If you get stuck in snow, don’t sit spinning your wheels—that just gets you in deeper. DO turn wheels from side to side if possible, use your emergency folding shovel to dig out around your tires, and pour kitty litter, sand, salt, or gravel in the path of the tires to give them traction. When you feel your tires beginning to catch, accelerate slowly to ease your vehicle out.
      • If you can’t get your car out, stay put, only getting out occasionally to clear snow from your tailpipe so that you can safely run your heater from time to time. Call for help and try to identify your location. Flares and reflective triangles may signal other drivers to help you—or at least avoid hitting you! A red cloth hanging out the driver’s window is a signal for help.
      • If the roads are icy, drive very slowly. It takes at least twice as long to stop on ice as on dry pavement—and a whopping nine times as long to stop on black ice as on dry pavement!
      • Bridges and overpasses ice up more quickly than regular roadways. Be aware that black ice (sometimes called “clear ice”) often just looks like wet pavement; it also lurks in tunnels or on roadways close to bodies of water.
      • NEVER assume that a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle can safely negotiate icy roads at normal speeds. Ice is no respecter of vehicles!

     

    We hope you get where you're going safe and sound—no matter what weather you may face on the roads.

     

    Also, don’t forget to store an emergency kit in your car. Check out our Insight articles, "Baby Steps: Time to Winterize your Grab and go Bag” and “How to Winterize your Car” for more winter safety and preparedness tips.

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/way_5157139_safety-tips-winter-driving.html

    www.DMV.org

    www.osha.gov/Publication/SafeDriving.pdf

    www.weather.com/activities/driving/drivingsafety/drivingsafetytips/snow.html

    www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/WinterDrivingTips2012

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Car Preparedness, Winter, preparedness, Survival, Winter driving

  • Prep yourself to survive winter so you can enjoy it all season long

    Whether we love it or hate it, winter’s here, bringing skiing, skating, snowboarding, snowman building and . . . shoveling, slipping, sliding, shivering, sneezing, and sniffling! Preparation is the key to surviving—even enjoying—the coldest time of the year.

    Update emergency kits

    We know that our homes, yards, wardrobes, and vehicles all need winterizing—but let’s not forget about our emergency kits, as well. It’s time to change out summer clothing for winter in our bug-out-bags, and to be sure we have hand warmers, winter tools, kitty litter or sand, antifreeze, and more in our emergency car kits. See “Baby Steps: Time to Winterize Your Grab and Go Bag” for more suggestions.

    Protect yourself against hypothermia

    Other than avoiding winter car accidents and falls on ice, protecting ourselves and our families against hypothermia and frostbite is the main focus of winter safety. Hypothermia is a dangerous condition that can creep up on us, making people first shiver, then feel sleepy, confused unaware of their own danger , and apathetic, with difficulty thinking and making rational decisions.

    A few basic tips protect against hypothermia:

    • Avoid getting wet (whether from sweat, rain, snow, or dew)

    • Make sure you are protected against wind chill

    • Go back inside or to a fire to warm up from time to time

    • Stop your activity before you reach an exhausted state

    Check out our Insight article "First Aid for Hypothermia and Frostbite" to learn more about how to protect yourself from this cold related issue.

    Protect yourself against Sickness

    Colds, the flu, and coughs are more prevalent in the winter. With an increase in illness at this time of year, it’s important to be sure we’re taking the proper steps to avoid getting sick.

    Eat your fruits and veggies. While some fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as readily available in winter as they are in summer, you can stock up on freeze dried varieties that you’ll love and will give you some of the nutrition you’ll need. Eat lots of green or yellow produce in the winter. Think pumpkin, winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark green, leafy veggies like kale and spinach.

    Thankfully, winter is citrus season, so enjoy those tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits. They’re full of Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and other nutrients that help to keep us healthy.

    Fight off Germs. Remember to wash your hands often with soap and good, warm water; sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow, not your bare hands or (heaven forbid!) the air around you! Germs are one thing you need to be selfish about keeping to yourself.

    Many germs can be transferred from up to 6 feet away. Even the tiniest droplet of moisture from a person with a cold or the flu can land in your mouth or nose, or be inhaled into your lungs when they cough, sneeze, or even speak. Try to stay away from those who are ill; if you’re ill, stay home.

    Germs can also be transferred from touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. Clean doorknobs, toys, and other frequently touched surfaces regularly.

    Layer up

    Dressing in layers gives the best protection against very cold weather. Here are a few tips for layering your clothes properly:

    • First have a thin layer of “wicking” fabric such as Under Armour™ that pulls moisture away from your skin.
    • Follow that with a warm layer such as a heavy shirt, jeans or insulated pants, and a sweater or jacket.
    • Top it all off with a reflective or waterproof layer.
    • Add appropriate gloves and footwear, including warm socks (wool socks are great) and perhaps face protection such as a ski mask in extreme conditions to protect your face from frostbite.

    Check out our Insight articles "Staying Warm in the Outdoors", "Emergency Warmth", and our blog post, "Winter Camping (and Other Signs of Insanity)" for more great tips on layering up.

    Learn to build a fire

    If you find yourself stranded outdoors in the cold for any length of time, your survival (and comfort) may depend on whether you can build—and maintain—a successful fire. Read "How to Build a Fire" and take the time to practice. (Believe me, these are techniques to know! Read the comments at the end, too.)

    Learn to build a shelter

    If you should ever have to construct a temporary shelter for yourself, you’ll appreciate knowing the information contained in our "Emergency Shelter" and Shelter and Temperature Control in an Emergency articles.

    Keep extra help on hand

    Marvelous aids such as hand and body warmers are also important, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Always keep some in your car, purse, or coat pocket so you’ll have them wherever you go.

    Be wise and prepare. Then if Jack Frost reaches his icy fingers for you, you’ll know how to defend yourself against him!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, winter prep

  • Thousands of commuters in the South were stranded en route Tuesday and into Wednesday because of  snowy conditions during an unexpected winter storm. 

    Many spent 10-12 hours in their vehicles, trying to conserve gas, power, and warmth. Others took shelter with nearby strangers, who generously opened their homes; and some (like the 5,300 students in Alabama) were even forced to camp out in school buildings or sleep the night in buses.

    CNN reported the panic that spread when what was supposed to be a light dusting of snow turned to chaos. A thin sheet of ice and 3-10 inches of snow on the roads (depending on location) left thousands of people stranded in their vehicles during their commute home.

    As one woman went into labor, she set off for the hospital only to find gridlock after gridlock blocked her path. She called the paramedics, but they, too, had no clear route to reach her car through the disorder that Tuesday’s winter storm blew in, leaving her stranded on the road.

    The weather was also a factor in over 1,000 fender benders, five deaths in Alabama, and another 23 injuries.

    The traffic problems began when schools, businesses, and government offices sent people home at the exact same time due to the weather.

    According to Yahoo! News, “as people waited in gridlock, the snow [built up], the roads froze, cars ran out of gas and tractor-trailers jackknifed, blocking equipment that could have treated some of the roads.”

    Winter storms catch the South by surprise

    The desperate situation brought many people together to help stranded motorists. Residents near the highway opened their homes to strangers who needed food, water, and a warm place to stay. Others offered their services, as well, including a police officer who helped deliver a daughter to the pregnant woman stranded in her car.

    "There was a sense that we are all in this together,” said Mira Lowe, a CNN editor who watched as people left their vehicles to help others.

    Check out stories from other stranded drivers here

    Read the rest of CNN’s article “Atlanta mayor blames poor coordination for storm snafu

    Read Yahoo! News’ article “Helicopters search for stranded Southern drivers

    Do you know what to do in a snow and ice storm? Having a car emergency kit can definitely help by giving you food, water, warmth, and other needed supplies.

    Check out these articles for more ways you can stay safe in the cold:

    Emergency Warmth

    Stuck in the Snow? How’s your Emergency Car Kit?

    How to Winterize your Car

     

    Video Courtesy of CNN

    Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: winter storms, Winter, emergency kit, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, winter preparedness, South

  •  The Polar Vortex: What are the Consequences?

    Despite sounding like a setting from an episode of Doctor Who, the polar vortex that is affecting parts of the US brings with it some serious consequences. This winter phenomenon has caused several travel delays, school closures, disrupted business and farming, and anywhere from seventeen to twenty-one deaths have been reported.

    A polar vortex is a technical name for the “gigantic mass of swirling dense air” that normally sits at the North Pole.  The polar vortex has moved further south than usual, causing Midwesterners to get an actual artic experience.

    In fact, according to Nick Wiltgen from the Weather Channel the term ‘artic outbreak’ is a more accurate term than ‘polar vortex’ to describe the dramatic cooling effect the Midwestern and eastern portions of the U.S. are currently experiencing.

    For an even better explanation of what a polar vortex (or artic outbreak) is, take a look at this ABC news clip.

    Also, check out the Reuters article, “Polar Freeze Grips United States, Disrupting Travel and Business" to see exactly how cold things are.

    Even if you don’t live in an area affected by the polar vortex, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start thinking about ways to stay warm in extreme winter weather. Our insight article, “Emergency Warmth” gives great ideas for keeping warm in an emergency, whether at home, outdoors, or on the road.

    In my part of the country, the post-Christmas stretch of winter can be the harshest. What about you? Are you prepared for real cold?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: warmth, Winter, emergency preparedness, winter weather

  • Prepare yourself this winter with an emergency car kit

    Tuesday brought a happy ending to a familiar, and usually tragic, winter story. When James Glanton, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, and the four children they took up into the hills of northern Nevada to play in the snow didn’t return that night, family feared the worst. Their Jeep had overturned on a snowy road, and the six of them survived in below zero temperatures (!) for two days before rescuers found them—cold, but unharmed. You can read more about their fortunate rescue here.

    If you haven’t already made your car’s emergency kit winter ready, now’s a good time to consider whether you could survive for two days stranded in your vehicle. FEMA has a helpful checklist of items you’ll want handy. And check out these blog posts for more ideas and resources for winter road safety.

    Also, don’t forget to check out our selection of emergency kits to help you start preparing for winter conditions and emergency situations alike.

    Don’t count on luck to get you out of a dangerous situation. Be prepared!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Car Kit, Winter, emergency kit, emergency preparedness

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