Important Things to Do to Prepare for Severe Winter Storms

Recently, we had a pretty big snowstorm here in Rochester, but that really isn’t anything new for us. I grew up here and can tell you that snowstorms are one of my favorite parts of living in Upstate New York. Many people ask me how I can tolerate living in a snowy city as a wheelchair user, but I can’t imagine living any other way! I have lived in Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida, and Dublin, Ireland, but nothing compares to snowy Rochester. As a wheelchair user, I don’t think the snow makes much of a difference to me because I grew up with it. So, it is part of my way of life. I guess I just know how to adapt when I wake up to two feet of snow outside. Here is how I prepare when I know a storm is coming.

Walk the Dogs

A snowstorm usually means that the sidewalks and streets are going to be piled with snow for a few days. As a result, it will be difficult to impossible to walk the dogs. Before the snow takes over our streets, I make sure to take our dogs for a nice long walk. I want them to get as much fresh air in and as much energy out as possible I know that they’re not going to get a good walk for a while after the snow comes. 

Call the Snowplow

leafless trees on a snow covered field
Photo by Eva Elijas on

Our snowplow contractors in Rochester deserve gold medals. They are out at all hours and do great work. When I know a storm is coming, I call our snowplow contractor to let him know what time I’ll need to leave the house in the morning (my husband usually leaves the house by 7 a.m. for work). The contractor will make sure my driveway is clear before then. We always build a great rapport with our contractors and let them know that we’re wheelchair users who rely on a clear driveway. We simply don’t have the option of climbing through the snow to clear our driveway. Every snowplow contractor we’ve ever had has been amazing and always makes sure that we have a clear path to leave the house!

Plan to Stay In

Even though we call the snowplow to ensure our driveway will be clear, I always plan to stay in just in case. I never know how bad the roads will be! It does not matter how clear our driveway is; if the roads are not safe, then we’re not going anywhere! For example, this past week during the snowstorm, our county executive released a travel advisory instructing residents to stay off the roads. For this reason, I checked our milk and other necessities whenever we have a storm warning and stock up the night before. That way we’ll be all set just in case we can’t leave the house for a day or two. 

About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.

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