A mere two inches of snow and ice managed to bring Atlanta, Georgia to a standstill as gridlocked drivers spent the night in stalled cars and elementary school children were forced to sleep on gymnasium floors. Many drivers who were unprepared for the storm were forced to spend the night in freezing vehicles without food, water, blankets or even a way to contact their families. The storm was a warning to all of us to stock our cars with basic emergency supplies and alternate means for communicating during a crisis. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you might pack a few extra items such as mylar emergency blankets, thick socks, woolen hats and gloves to hand out to fellow motorists in an emergency. But remember to pack what you need to take care of yourself and your family first.
Huge snowstorms have been reported throughout 2014 in New York, Atlanta, Oregon and even across the ocean in Japan. England has been battered by hurricane winds and rain that have caused a number of deaths due to falling trees, collapsed masonry and hypothermia. Making preparations for extreme weather is not merely for comfort, it could possibly be the difference between life and death.
Stocking Your Vehicle
Large SUVs are ideal vehicles for survival emergencies as they have lots of storage area for plenty of supplies and well equipped SUVs can stand up to all forms of terrain. Purchase good quality tire chains and store them in the vehicle at all times and fit fog lights and high beams onto the car if it does not already have them. Never rely solely on a GPS system to guide you, so a good road map booklet of your city, state and country is also an essential item. And remember to carry a heavy duty ice scraper for times when your credit card isn’t enough to remove snow and ice from your windshield.
One of the first things to do if you find yourself stranded on the road is to let family members know where you are and also check on their welfare. Smartphones are a wonderful tool in a crisis as they offer many different ways to keep in touch. Store a plug-in phone charger and a spare battery in your glove box. Include a solar charger and keep it charged.
If cell phone coverage is sketchy in your location, you should still be able to stay in touch via text message. Many phones will even continue trying to send a text message automatically until they catch a signal. If you have internet, then there are many ways to get a message to your loved ones. Apps such as Skype, Tango and Viber allow you to make free phone calls over the internet using a Wi-Fi or landline connection. You can call anyone who has the app installed on their phone completely free, or call them via their computer, laptop, tablet or iPod. Social networks also offer another way to stay in touch, and you can send messages instantly using Facebook, Myspace or Twitter.
Battery powered radios are also a good idea in case your car runs out of fuel or you lose a cell signal. A simple am/fm radio should be able to pick up any local news stations.
Food – Whether heading out on a long road trip across the country or just across town, if there’s a storm in the forecast it is a good idea to take a supply of food with you. Fill a plastic crate that can be sealed with ready-to-eat foods such as tetra boxes with soups, stews, drinks, protein powder, and other foods with a long-term shelf life. Add bottled water, canned vegetables, beans and fruits — and a hand-driven can opener. If you have room, pack a small, collapsible camping stove and remember the fuel and matches. Solid fuel can be used safely anywhere, indoors or out. In general, it is a good idea to keep at least a few granola bars or health food snacks stashed in your car for emergencies. You might also consider storing high-calorie, meal replacement food bars. Rotate these foods periodically to make sure what you have stored remains fresh.
Additionally, store as much water as you can. It’s great for drinking and other incidents like a refilling your battery on a hot day if you get stuck in traffic, or for medical emergencies.
Medicine – Store a basic first aid kit in your car containing at least a supply of bandages, tweezers, scissors and rubbing alcohol. You could also store a variety of medicines such as antibiotics, painkillers, homeopathic remedies and first aid book, antibacterial creams, anti-inflammatories, colloidal silver, liquid calendula or ointment, manuka honey, and allergy medicines.
Clothing – A thick, water-proof jacket is a useful item to keep in your car at all times along with some good walking shoes and a hat. Spare gloves, socks and a woolen hat will provide warmth, and toss in hand and foot warmers, Include a poncho or large leaf bags to use in place of a poncho. Blankets or emergency blankets are a must and store in small places, or a sleeping bag will keep you warm if you have to spend the night in your car.
Tools – As well as tire chains, it is advisable to keep a tool kit in your car that will be useful for breakdowns and other emergencies. Store everything you need to change a tire alone such as a jack and wheel nut wrench. You could also include hazard lights, spare bulbs, wheel ramps, booster cables, flashlight, and work gloves.
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