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Batten Down The Hatches! Snow is Coming

For you folks who have lived in the northern states, the reaction of us mid-Atlantic residents to the threat of snow must look like a bunch of panicked rats in a maze.  The reason for this panic is that most people are spoiled to the ability to run to their neighborhood [insert store here] to pick up whatever they want whenever they want it. The knowledge that they might not be able to buy bread (or beer) for a couple of days seems to strike fear in the heart of grown men.

When I hear we might have snow or ice, my first thought is to get the generator ready.  I live in a rural area that is not in the “priority” grid even though Lynn at one time had to use an electric external ventilator type device when he would try to sleep.  At that time, we were told to fill out special forms to make sure the electric company was aware of his medical need to have access to power to run necessary medical equipment.  We filled out the information and I assume it’s still on file somewhere but realistically, it didn’t seem to make any difference. With more and more people who have special needs living at home, I expect every grid has someone with a special needs form on file with the electric company so it goes back to the number of residents per grid and where they (the electric company) gets the biggest bang for their buck.

With that knowledge in mind, we decided it would be worthwhile to have a gas-powered generator with enough capacity to run a lot of devices.  We had our house wired so that when the power goes out all I have to do is throw a master switch to turn off power coming from the electric company (since there is none) and divert the power source to the generator.  Then I selectively turn on certain breakers to run equipment like the well pump, heat pump, the freezer, the TV in the master bedroom and of course, his peddler.  Then wa la, we have power….as long as we have gas.  Therefore, my priority prior to a snow storm is to make sure we have plenty of gas and the battery on the generator is working.

Since I cook his special diet in bulk, we typically have plenty of food around so I don’t need to run to the store for milk and bread.  I do check to make sure we have plenty of bottled water and if we’re predicted to have ice, I fill the bath tub and washing machine so we don’t have to run the well pump as much (got to conserve that gasoline!)

The next priority is transportation.  I move at least one vehicle near the road so I can get out if needed.  If he’s due to go somewhere soon, I put salt on the deck and ramp to make it easier once the snow stops falling to clear that area. Then I try to make sure we have a path wide enough to take his power chair through without getting the motor wet or covered in salt.

With those precautions in place, we’re ready to sit back, put in a movie (will likely lose satellite), put some soup on to eat, and enjoy the beauty of the fallen snow.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • SteveS
    5 years ago

    You have made some great preparations. In the future, you may want to consider upgrading your generator to a permanently installed stand-by generator and automatic transfer switch. Of course, this presumes you have a fuel supply at your home (usually natural gas or propane). That way, you don’t have to haul gasoline, and hope that a gas station has power.

    As the saying goes, “Be Prepared”

  • Donna Steigleder moderator author
    5 years ago

    Unfortunately our fuel supply is electricity however, your idea is a good one that I’ll pass on to my parents who fuel with oil. Our electrical box is setup with what I think you’re talking about as a transfer switch. I just throw the switch and everything switches over to the generator but the generator is powered by gas. Still much better than the “old days” when I had to add gas every two hours and we only had one room “in lights.” Thanks for your suggestion!

  • Theater Geek
    5 years ago

    Always good to be prepared for that in case. We live in an apartment so no generator for us…but I’m the one with MS and am still mobile and such thankfully. But I had to chuckle at the beginning with the comment about panicked rats in a maze…we live in SE Indiana (right on the Kentucky/Ohio lines) and if they so much as call for a dusting everyone has to run to the store and get the bread, eggs, and milk like they’ll be snowed in for a month. It has even been dubbed The White Death locally lol. My husband is from Michigan and his first winter down here he found it comical.

  • Donna Steigleder moderator author
    5 years ago

    Sounds like the reactions in your area are just like ours. We’re getting ready to have another snow storm this afternoon which you may already be getting. Stay warm and thanks for sharing!

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