Using Technology to Stay Safe in the Face of Winter Weather
With Winter Storm Juno battering the East Coast, burying cars and homes alike in up to several feet of snow, it can be tempting to stay close to the fire and relax. But winter weather can pose a threat to those who may be caught unprepared.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your neighbors safe during Winter Storm Juno and any other snowstorm:
- Connect with your neighbors. Head to your Nextdoor website to connect with your neighbors and find tips on how to best weather the storm in your area. Your neighbors may have extra salt, sand, shovels, generators, or other supplies that may be critical for you or others. Also, follow local instructions from local emergency managers: keep an eye out for their posts on Nextdoor, or check your local government’s website for directions about staying safe during the storm.
- Check on any vulnerable neighbors. After the snow has stopped falling, check in with any neighbors close to you who are elderly or have a disability and make sure they have enough food and needed supplies such as medications and flashlights. Offer to shovel their front walks or driveways if they can’t do it themselves.
Keep tabs on what’s happening in your area. Should the power go out, you can stay connected to your neighbors using Nextdoor for iPhone or Android. Wondering if the entrance to the neighborhood has been plowed? Your neighbors might know. See a downed tree or a large patch of ice in your community? Post to Nextdoor to warn your neighbors.
Plan a neighborhood-wide shoveling effort. Once your driveway and the driveways of your neighbors are clear, use Nextdoor to organize for a small group to head out and check other important areas in the community. Shovel out fire hydrants to help your local fire department keep them clear. Toss down extra salt or sand on heavily-trafficked areas to keep walkways safe.
If you’re in need of help, ask your neighbors for assistance. Send out an urgent alert, if appropriate, to quickly contact the entire neighborhood. Your neighbors are closest and most likely to quickly help, whether your car is stuck in the snow or your generator has failed. However, if you or someone you know needs immediate medical assistance or anyone’s safety is at risk, always call 911.
Winter weather affects us all in varying ways – connect with your neighbors to help keep your community safe and dry during winter weather. Your neighbors will thank you!
Joseph Porcelli is Senior City Strategist and “Professional Neighbor” at Nextdoor. Prior to joining Nextdoor, Joseph has worked in many professional capacities for Public Safety Agencies, in tech firms that support them, and in volunteer capacities to improve quality of life and increase safety and preparedness in communities. In his free time, Joseph serves as the lead organizer for SnowCrew.org, which connects people who are unable to shovel their driveways or sidewalks with neighbors who can help dig them out after snowstorms.