Posts Tagged ‘ice storm’

“We’ll get to the doctor’s office and back before the snowstorm hits,” I assured my mother several years ago. Her appointment was 1 1/2 hours from her home, and I took my kids, ages 5 and 7, with me. We booked a hotel room the night before so we could get in for her early a.m. appointment and dash back home the next day.

As I sat in the nearly deserted waiting room the next morning, I watched the snow become ice and pelt the pavement. Locals had cancelled their appointments. I needed to manage my kids and help my mom (who spent most of her time wheelchair-bound) avoid injury.  By the time the appointment ended, we knew there was no way we could return home and booked an additional night at the hotel.

When I watched the news in the small city, further south than ours, the news reporter proudly reported, “There’s our snow plow, clearing the roads.” Yes, snow plow, not plows. Singular. That’s when I knew we were in trouble.

Extra nights in hotels are the kinds of adventures kids like. We grabbed enough food for lunch that we didn’t have to venture out for dinner. Though I often sent my son outside to run circles in the front yard to wear off his energy, we got to keep him in a hotel room most of the day.

The next morning, I took my daughter, a 2nd grader, outside to clear the snow and ice from the van so we could try to get home.  I left my kindergarten-aged son in with my mother. Half an hour after we started clearing, my son came out. I figured he had run faster than my mom with her walker, so I told him, “Go tell grandma we’re almost ready to load and go.” He went back inside.

After the van was clean, I returned to the room to find an angry mother. When she went to the bathroom, my son had slipped out the door, ventured through the hotel, and found us outside. When I sent him back in, he went back to the room by himself. “What were you thinking? You TOLD him to go back through the hotel alone?”

Yep. That’s me. Just pin the Bad Mom of the Year award on my Parenthood cloak.

Yes, we made it home.

And that’s when I learned that my children’s behavior was as easy to predict as the weather.

Strap on your parachute! Seize the adventure!

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Note from Mary 1/30/2011: My blog is now at www.marybiever.com. This ice storm blog can be found there at http://www.marybiever.com/steps-to-prepare-for-survive-an-ice-storm/.  Stay safe!

Two years ago, we survived an ice storm, spending 2 days in our home without power, with a tree limb crashed through my daughter’s ceiling. Our power was restored 2 days later. When an ice storm was forecast for later this week, I went through what I had learned and what would help us prepare if God forbid we had to manage that again:

Before the storm:

  • Fuel: Fill your car tanks, your propane tanks, and your kerosene heaters. Make sure you have batteries for your weather radio.
  • Charge: Charge all phones and laptops.
  • Gather: Get candles and flashlights together in a convenient location, along with backup batteries.
  • Clean: Wash all dishes, finish all laundry, and clear clutter from living areas.
  • Stock: have ready to eat food items plus staples. Shelf stable is good. So is variety. You will want bread and milk.
  • Review: safety procedures for any indoor heat or cooking sources. Carbon monoxide kills. Print safety guidelines if needed.

If you lose power:

When we lost power, tree limbs covered our yard, our roof, and our street. There was no way to drive in or out of our street the first day. Plus a tree limb went through our roof, our attic, and our daughter’s bedroom.  Here are steps we took to survive:

  • Simplify: We rearranged our living room as our living quarters with sleeping space for all. Our goal was to conserve heat in one room.
  • Insulate: We gathered every blanket, throw, comforter, sleeping bag, and large towel from our entire house. We covered every window with towels, closed all doors in the house and the basement, closed all blinds, and covered both doorways to the living room with makeshift blankets.
  • Heat: We do not have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. However, we did have a kerosene heater in our disaster plan. We placed it in the kitchen, next to the living room, and used it for brief periods of time in the daytime when all were awake. We ventilated the kitchen to ensure against carbon monoxide. When the kerosene heater was running, I kept a pan of water on it to humidify the air – moister air feels warmer.  We followed the same procedure with a mini propane stove, only keeping it on long enough to heat and eat food.
  • Refrigerate: We opened the refrigerator door once and put food we would need into a cooler which we kept outside the kitchen door.  We did not open freezer doors, managing on canned convenience foods and sandwiches.
  • Illuminate: candles can provide some heat, but do not leave them on overnight. Though the bathroom doors were closed, we kept a flashlight in there.
  • Entertain: once we had done what we could to survive, we read books aloud. In late evenings in the dark, we watched DVD movies on laptops on battery. I knit a scarf during that ice storm.
  • Communicate: if you can, talk with the outside world. We were grateful we still had a landline phone so we could conserve our cell phone batteries.
  • Evacuate: if you have a way out and your home is a risk, leave. When our house fell below 40 degrees, we left until power was restored.

My memories of our survival hang with me such that warnings of an ice storm give me chills. But we got over the chills and begin the business of caring for ourselves and those we love.

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