Survivors tell how, why they did it!

While there appears to be (sun)light at the end of the tunnel, this has been a rough winter. Extended cold, back-to-back blizzards and dangerous ice storms in the South and East.

School districts from Minneapolis to Chicago, Boston, Buffalo and New York took rare (for them) snow days. Federal agencies in Michigan closed early and had two-hour delays. People in dozens of states were so busy coping with ice and snow they didn’t have time to make the standard jokes about Washington in winter.

The D.C. metro area (home to about 14 percent of the federal workforce) lost its title as “Winter Weenie City” as people from Atlanta to Charlotte found out what Old Man Winter can do to rush hour traffic.

So what do your fellow feds recommend for your survival kit?

  • “First and foremost is our generic standby generator. Will not live without one again. The other things I need to keep on hand are: my husband (he actually comes before the generator), yeast, powdered milk, flour and herbs for tea. After we finish blowing and/or shoveling the driveway, all 150 foot of it, there is nothing like enjoying a cup of hot tea and freshly baked bread with my husband. ” — AGS, Dept of Army
  • “A good book. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.” — C In Alexandria
  • “My survival kit is a sandwich, gummy bears and a Coke. If it snows that much — we’re going skiing! Snow skiing!” — Linda
  • “The news media is the reason that Washingtonians overreact to the snow. Two snowflakes are not treacherous. The word treacherous should be added to the list of four letter words that are not allowed on the air. The media puts way too much spin on the snow. Traffic reporters and weather reporters should be required to live in International Falls, Minn., for five years before they can report in the metro D.C. area. Then they would know what snow is.” Chip
  • “Traffic sucks in D.C. even when the weather is dry. Add a little rain/snow/ice, and it becomes impossible. People who dogsled to work aren’t dealing with traffic.

    “I’m from Kentucky, and I know how to drive on snow and even on ice, but it involves having some distance to deal with it, which you don’t get in D.C. traffic.

    “A few years ago I got surprised by some sudden slippery precipitation and was making my way home. I came to a hill where some people were stuck and trying to maneuver their way out. I was waiting at the bottom of the hill for my turn to zoom up, but people kept passing me, going halfway up and getting stuck too. I knew there was no way I was getting a clear shot at that hill, so I turned around, and fortunately found a less-travelled hill to fishtail my way up and make it home.

    That experience is why I now never go out into D.C. traffic in snowy/icy weather. The federal government and schools were correct to close down in the recent weather. People who make fun have no idea what they’re talking about.” Kathy Moore

  • “What’s in my survival kit? Gasoline for the generator and the snow-blower. About 17 gallons worth. There’s always too much food in the fridge and freezer, but we also stock up on bottled water and toilet paper if we’re low (my wife and the dog drink bottled water). If we lose power, there’s no running water (for me to drink or for the toilets to flush) until I hook up the generator for the well pump, and for the kitchen (fridge and microwave). I don’t know if it’ll run the oil furnace yet, but I think it may. Our backup for that is to clear a path to the fireplace in the basement (I sometimes wonder if the Mob or the Teamsters put Jimmy Hoffa down there somewhere).

    “A D.C. native, I spent four winters in Worcester, Mass. I remember one Saturday in ’71 or ’72 I walked into town to the Post Office to take the Summer Civil Service Test, all bundled up after a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee. If I’d known it was zero out I may not have gone, but I was sufficiently young, hearty, and well-prepared (and no, I didn’t get any offers from my efforts).”— Larry B. Crownsville, Md.

E in Birmingham makes it simple. His emergency kit consists of “Chains, ear muffs & a pot to…” you get the idea!


Compiled by Jack Moore

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