Living here in South Central, you get use to the weird natural events of mother nature. Small flooding in areas aren't uncommon. Snow Storms to us are what you call blizzards in the lower 49. Avalanches are normal. Earthquakes are pretty common as Alaska has the most in the world. But Volcano's are kind of a special breed of natural occurance.
A few days ago, Mt. Redoubt blew and has kept blowing. Quite a few people were taken back (these are the newbies moved up here from outta State) by what they thought would be the end of the world. Others, like myself, just shrugged our shoulders and kept moving as this is just life in Alaska. Mt. Redoubt isn't usually a ash type volcano, and doesn't usually stay active for long.
Now the newbies of Alaska were worried about many items. Would my power shut off, would my well stop working (many have water wells) or my septic, would I be able to eat, what do I do if it is on my house/vehicle/sled(snowmachine)/etc, what if my animal eats the snow? What do you say to these people?
In times like this you just sit back and watch the happenings. Ash is harmful but isn't the end of the world. You wash your vehicle and do NOT use the windshield wipers until you do wash it. If you have ash on your house, you wait for spring 9as there is still a bunch of snow on the ground) and water down your roof. If you animals eat the snow, make sure to have plenty of fresh water for them... as ash is abrasive. And if you want to be sure they are okay, you give them some bread so the ash won't hurt their stomach or intestines. Everyone should have some water somewhere in their house or apartment for emergancyies as well as batteries for flashlights or candles. Also, new airfilters for the vehicles you own is always a good thing. The one thing I would worry about in the winter for something like this would be that your waterlines freeze. Then you might have a problem.
As for the Volcanos http://www.avo.alaska.edu/ has some great information if you are wondering. But all in all, just another day in Alaska.