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2017-01-05 / Voices

Being Prepared in Winter Is a Must

BRANDON ECOFFEY
Oglala Lakota
A Note From The Editor’s Desk

Winter seems to be in full effect having already dropped plenty of snow on the plains as well as bringing temperatures that have fallen far below zero-degrees. Although many of us are used to navigating the roads during this time of year it is always helpful to remember to prepare for the worst.

The National Weather Service along with several other winter preparedness organization’s agree that there are several steps we can all take to avoid a weather related tragedy this winter. One of the most important steps we can all take is to equip our vehicles with a winter supply box that includes: a flashlight, road flares, a first-aid kit, a few blankets, a change of warm clothes for the driver, a few extra pairs of gloves, and some snacks.

In the event that you find yourself stranded on the side of the road in blizzard like conditions it is important to make sure that your vehicle’s exhaust pipe is not covered with snow. If it is buried or covered there is a real chance that the occupants in the car could suffer from sickness related to inhaling emissions from their vehicle. If you cannot physically see a building near you it is advised that you stay where are. While in the vehicle turn on your hazard lights or place roadside flares near your car to alert other drivers and/or potential rescuers that you are there.

There are some hacks that can be employed to make it cheaper to winterize your vehicle. Newspapers can be used to help insulate windows and kitty litter or sand can be poured under tires to help a vehicle gain traction if stuck.

One of the primary dangers facing individuals who are stranded in cold weather is dehydration. The Human Performance Research Center says that in these conditions it is best to hydrate even when you are not thirsty. They says that many people will not notice their thirst in cold weather “because your cold-weather body chemistry could affect your brain’s ability to tell you when you need liquid.” Additionally, cold weather also tends to move body fluids from your extremities to your core, increasing your urine output and adding to dehydration.

Of course, we can all point to examples of people traveling in winter conditions for no reason at all. These people are the ones who often find themselves forcing emergency workers and roadside assistance crews to risk themselves to free them. Do not be one of these people. If travel is not advised, please do your best to stay off the roads.

*Brandon Ecoffey is the editor of LCT and is an award winning journalist who was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

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Oglala Sioux Tribe