Be prepared for the unexpected

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- This week we exercised our "winter storm" scenario, and the event reminded me that with daylight saving time behind us, it's time to re-think our travel ops, particularly since many of us will be commuting in the hours of darkness.

Our fall/winter transition brings wet weather, freezing conditions, dark roads and a spike in deer activity. None of this is good news for drivers, but what might not be as apparent is the real potential for a serious storm, and we need to think carefully about how we can prepare for any eventuality this season.

We've had a handful of ice and snow storms over the years, and they all share a common thread...big disruptions in commutes and work schedules.

We can't predict every scenario, but we can posture for most of them. A real storm will likely keep some of us on the base longer than usual.

Are you prepared for that? It's easy. Just keep a change of clothes and some non-perishable food handy. It's not at all unlikely that you might miss a meal if you end up spending the night here unexpectedly. Nothing a couple granola bars, some beef jerky or a couple cans of tuna can't help. Same for your vehicle.

"Winterizing" your vehicle is more than just changing the anti-freeze. It's wiper blades, washer fluid and an update to your travel survival kit.

A flashlight, a pair of gloves, a hat and heavy jacket are "must haves." And for some, maybe it's time to get that new set of tires BEFORE you need them.

As I have mentioned in numerous times, we cannot let the "urgent" put us in a potentially unsafe situation.

For example, rushing to work through a down-pour or snowstorm to make it to a no-notice meeting is just not worth the risk.

The mission, though important, can be done tomorrow, but we can't do it without you!

What makes making these urgent decisions more digestible is having a backup plan. Taking a few minutes to consider "what if" can be the difference between your safety and disaster.

With a little bit of planning and forethought, we can keep winter surprises from throwing us off our game.

So keep up the great work and we'll see you at the auto parts store this weekend!