Winter storm should remind us to prepare

Mother Nature reminded us last weekend that winter comes every year. Now, thanks to this weekend’s bitter cold, she’s helping us to keep that in mind.

Of course, winter generally means snow, icy roads and driveways that need to be shoveled.

As we got cleaned out from the recent storm, surely many households resolved to be better prepared in terms of having shovels, salt and ice scrapers at the ready; and all the gloves, scarves and boots dug out from the closet.

But going through our second winter while also in the midst of a pandemic, we have learned other lessons — whether they be called upon because of illness or inclement weather.

We know now that remote learning and working is possible — and for more people than we realized. Schools and businesses that were able to pivot to operating remotely at the start of the pandemic now have that ability at the ready when it is needed again under other circumstances, such as when roads are unsafe for travel.

When the Mahoning Valley experiences a weather emergency including dangerous weather or roadways, employers know many of their employees are able to do their jobs without putting themselves or others at risk. Those employees should be ready to report remotely, of course. No one should have to worry they are putting their lives in danger to get the job done.

Meanwhile, as we saw last week, many of those employers whose businesses rely on in-person work did close for the day to keep their employees safe. For those who have been given a remote option to work or a day off because of snow, this is not permission to be out and about checking out the winter scenery or shopping. The idea here is that the roads are unsafe, remember?

The storm, of course, also should have served as a good reminder for us all to have a small stock of food and necessities on hand in case of being snowed in for a day or two. The same goes for water and medications. Being prepared can help us avoid the shelf-clearing panic some stores saw in the days leading up to the storm.

If you are out on the roads, be smart about the way you drive, and courteous of others who may feel safer taking it a bit slower than you do. Also, experts remind us to keep warm clothes, flares, a shovel, first-aid kit, bottled water and nonperishable food items in our vehicles.

We go through this every year, folks. We have a couple of months of winter ahead. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about staying safer and taking care of each other over the past year or so. Now, let’s keep it all in mind so winter weather can be a little less of a headache for us all.



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