Thursday, November 13, 2014

When Snowjam strikes #BePrepared

Most of the country laughed at Atlanta when Snowjam 2014 struck and stranded us all over highways and side roads for 9, 10, even 12 hours. It was no laughing matter; it was frightening for thousands of families.

The wrong combination of things simply hit at the same time that year - warnings not being taken seriously, school not being cancelled, parents commuting to work all over the city, the weather intensifying very quickly, and millions of people commuting home at the exact same time as roads grew whiter and more treacherous by the minute. Semi trucks blocked every lane of interstates and car tires spun and spun with no movement on the smallest of inclines.

Despite being separated, my family was safe and warm that evening, thanks to my parents picking Amelia up from school a mere 10 minutes early and two-day old baby Andrew having Steve and I at the hospital. When winter halted metro Atlanta, I had a brand new baby boy.

Atlantans were stranded all over various streets and highways for hours. Many managed to pick up their children from schools but could not get home. Imagine this: A two-year-old in a car for ten hours, NO snacks, no water, no toilet, and a very stressed-out mom who cannot get in touch with her husband and whose own cell phone battery is minutes from dying. Or a young family with a 9-month old infant and NO bottles, or food, or even heavy coats because they were going right home.

Before Snowjam 2014, I always tossed a big blanket in the trunk of my car come winter weather. You just never know when you might be in a car accident, have a burning engine, or get stuck in traffic. After Snowjam 2014, I have upped my preparedness game.

Winter car kit - My winter car kit includes a blanket, jug of water, snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bars), diapers, baby food, and a spoon.  

Proper outerwear - We always bring our coats and hats. Even if we do not wear the coats and hats while in the car, we do not leave home without them. If snow is forecasted for our area and staying home is not an option, I will be sure to wear boots, a hat, and gloves. The best plan is to stay indoors when winter weather looms, but when we cannot, it is important to be prepared. If  you work in an office setting and must wear nice shoes, keep a pair of warm socks and boots or heavy sneakers in the trunk for a few months. Many metro Atlantans ended up walking as far as six miles that night - in dress shoes and suit coats.

Cell phone chargers - If you do not have a cell phone charger in your car, get one this week. One of the most frightening parts of Snowjam was that people had no contact with loved ones and no idea where they were or if/when they were going to make it home.

Keep the tank full - Don't drive in potential winter weather with less than half a tank of gas. Keep the tank full. When stranded for many hours, gasoline eventually runs out. The more gasoline you have to begin with, the better.  

I know many moms desperate for gasoline, snacks, water, and working cell phones last year. Hopefully we have learned our lesson. Here's hoping for one friendly snow to get our snowman building and sledding fix, and a nicely mild season for the rest.

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