Preparing for winter weather

Snowy hill

Snowpocalypse 2012. Courtesy of Virginia Mason Medical Photography.

Watching the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy and reading Jennifer’s post about writing a letter to her daughter to put in an emergency kit has made me think a lot about my own personal preparedness. After last winter’s snowpocalypse, I was hoping for a warmer and drier El Nino winter, but Cliff Mass recently blogged that a neutral winter may be headed our way instead. Neutral winters tend to bring about big floods, snowstorms and windstorms according to weather watchers. So now, my Pacific Northwest neighbors, is the time for us to prepare for winter weather and the difficulties it can bring.

“Ask yourself: Would you have the basic items needed to survive for a few hours or perhaps a few days if you were stranded at home, work or in the car?,” says, Jason Atencio, manager of emergency preparedness at VM. “The pillars of preparedness are a family plan and emergency preparedness kit. Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.”

The website offers these three simple tips for preparing for bad winter weather:

  •  Create an emergency preparedness kit with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for your home and office. Kits prepared for vehicle road travel and winter weather evacuation go-kits are also advised.
  •  Make a plan and practice the plan with your family and those who depend on you.
  •  Stay informed and know the weather approaching so you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way.

My biggest worry with winter weather is not being able to get home from work because of snow. (During the Thanksgiving Week Snow of 2010, several of my co-workers got stuck on buses to nowhere or sat in their cars on I-5 for several hours.)

“Take a moment to subscribe to transit or traffic alerts and find out alternative bus and train routes,” advises Mike Meany, manager of Parking and Commuter Services for VM. “Even if you don’t normally take public transit, you may have to in a weather emergency.”

I’ve decided to keep a bag of supplies, including a change of clothes and good walking shoes, at my desk. I’ve also signed up to receive text messages from all the transit agencies I travel with during my long commute. What are you doing to prepare for winter?

Winter Weather Resources
Get a kit, make a plan, be informed
King County Public Health Preparedness
Winter Car Emergency Kit
Public Schools Emergency Communications System
Regional Public Information Network
National Weather Service

Transportation Resources
Metro Transit – King County
Community Transit
Sound Transit
Pierce County Transit
Kitsap Transit
Washington State Ferries
WSDOT Real Time Road and Weather Travel Information

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