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Emergency Survival Kits: Winter Edition

Western New-Yorkers know what a real winter looks like. Even if you’re not from western New York, if you’re a Bonnie, you’re going to deal with some pretty crazy weather sometimes.

A winter at St. Bonaventure looks like fog before rain, rain before fog, complete white-out snow storms, and more often than not, zero visibility while driving.

Being from Buffalo myself, I’ve learned a thing or two about preparing for the coming season. My biggest piece of advice for battling the snow country is preparing an emergency survival kit for your car. Before I get into my short list of survival items, let me tell you a story from a few winters ago.

From November 13th to November 26th, 2014, the greater Buffalo area experienced one of the worst snow storms in recorded history: Snowvember. This storm was second only to the Blizzard of 1977. This storm is said to have taken the lives of at least 24 people, with a maximum snowfall of 88 inches. Thinking back on it, I can’t even fathom that much snow.

At that time, I was a junior in high school just happy to have a snow day. I wasn’t so happy when one day turned into two weeks stuck in my house with my family. We were lucky to all be home together, but outside, the snow covered my street at roof-level. There’s no exaggeration when I say this, we had to get on top of our roof to shovel the snow off so our roof didn’t collapse. After two weeks inside, the national guard was called into our area as the President declared the region in a state of emergency. 

There were pregnant women being carried on-foot by fighter fighters to the nearest hospitals because the roads were so bad. Some people were stuck on high-ways while the snow took over their cars. One of my friends’ mothers had to climb through her window and wave her scarf in the air for help after having spent two days completely covered in snow with no food and little water. You’d think you could just burn gas and keep your heat on, but once the exhaust of the car is covered by snow, you run the risk of carbon dioxide poisoning.

Yes, this is an extreme example. Yes, we haven’t had a storm this bad since 2014. But our weather up north is no force to be reckoned with. This can happen at any time, and because of this, I keep an emergency survival kit in my car at all times.

If you live in an area where winter weather is often a crisis, I suggest creating a kit yourself. Some useful items I keep in my trunk are: a flashlight, canned fruit or other foods that won’t spoil for a long period of time, an extra snow brush, blankets, a winter hat, socks, and a fire starter.

Let’s plan ahead and keep one another safe. Suggest emergency survival kits to anyone you know in a bad weather area, anyone that frequently drives long-distance, and every student at St. Bonaventure. 

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