It is clearly safe to say that a significant portion of the country has recently experienced record cold temperatures.  If you are one of the lucky few to live in an area not impacted by what was referred to as the “polar vortex” then consider yourself blessed.  For the remainder of the country, recent cold temperatures are not only candidates for the record book, but also important reminders that these are the types of conditions that can force you, your families, and your agencies to resort to emergency plans.  These are just the sort of times when systems fail, daily operations are interrupted, or individuals find themselves unprotected from the elements and in need of care. 

As readers may recall from previous articles, we consider emergency and disaster preparedness an issue of supreme importance.  Planning for crises, whether unexpected or forecasted, needs to be an ongoing process both in your personal and professional lives.  It is especially critical to be prepared for emergencies if you are a business providing services relied upon by those with special needs who require acute care.  So when the cold snap hit, were you prepared?  If not, there is no time like temporary moments of thawing between the arctic blasts to consider these tips for winter safety

  • Keep an eye on loved ones and those requiring extra care.  In these cases, make sure you’re checking on seniors that are living alone or individuals with special needs or those managing on a fixed income that may need to cut corners to heat their homes.  Be sure that they are adequately prepared to survive if there is an interruption of any power supply or conditions prevent them from traveling outside to take care of daily needs. 
  • Prepare your homes, cars, and offices for potential cold weather threats.  Confirm that supplies of essentials are stocked and confirm equipment is functioning as expected.  Do you have equipment to shovel snow?  Do you have a generator to power equipment in the case of power loss?  Is your internal infrastructure protected from the elements to prevent frozen pipes, etc.? 
  • Make smart decisions about your safety.  Don’t forget about the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.  Take special care in driving in winter conditions.  Consider the safety of your family, coworkers, and employees when driving could be dangerous. 

Sure, you may be one of the lucky ones to survive the cold temperatures and the wintry mix felt across the country, but does the fact that you survived these weather events mean you have nothing to worry about?  We’d say no.  Instead, consider any changes in the weather a temporary blessing and use the opportunity to plan for the “worst case” scenario…you just never know what the forecast will have in store for you in the future.