Stay warm, stay safe, stay home


We hope you are safely settled somewhere warm and dry. We hope you stay there.

Although weather conditions likely vary from place to place throughout the region, it seems certain that the fewer cars on the road the better.

If you have to go out, there are some traveling safety tips on our website, pbcommercial.com. We are reluctant to repeat them here, because as we said above, it’s better if you stay home.

Don’t be fooled by evidence that people in Northern cities drive in the snow. In those cities snow removal is a fine art. There is no way to duplicate that here where more than a dusting of snow is uncommon. So the roads aren’t going to be cleared as fast as they might be in Chicago or Boston.

Also, drivers where snow and ice are common have snow tires and maybe tire chains. Most people here don’t, and they don’t have a lot of experience with driving in winter conditions. These are more reasons to stay home.

During the December ice storms of 2000, mostly people stayed home, and as a result we had few traffic accidents and few injuries. This is a good time to remember that lesson.

But we hope you will be careful in your home, too.

Those without power likely depend on fireplaces or kerosene heaters for warmth and candles for light. Remember their inherent dangers. Keep candles and space heaters away from flammable objects like curtains or blankets. Never leave them unattended. Don’t use them while everyone is asleep. Always supervise children when open flames are around. Don’t let small children feed fires or have candles in their rooms.

If you are using a propane heater inside, make sure it’s designed for that use. Don’t be tempted to bring in the outdoor heater you use when you camp or tailgate. Don’t bring your camp stove inside; use it only outside.

If you are using gas logs or space heaters, make sure you have adequate ventilation. It may seem counter intuitive to crack a window when it’s cold out, but it’s a good precaution if you are using natural gas, kerosene or propane.

Don’t attempt to heat your home with a gas oven or stove. And never, ever use gasoline inside a building.

It’s a little late now to call a chimney sweep or order a rick of aged oak, but take every precaution possible with fireplaces. Make sure the chimney flue is open and the fire is drawing properly. Don’t burn treated lumber and avoid newly cut wood. Always use a fireplace screen.

If your cell phone has a charge, take a moment to check in with friends, family and neighbors; make sure they’re doing OK and let them know you are too. Chat while you can. Life is pretty busy most of the time, so relax a little if you can’t get out. If you need help, don’t be afraid to say so.

Central and Southeast Arkansas certainly have a variety of weather, but really severe weather is not terribly common. So if you have the chance, take advantage of it. Stay warm, stay safe, stay home. Have a cup of cocoa.