Great information from my Friend Earlene Young at Life Essentials on Car Preparation. Are you prepared to survive the unexpected?
Whether you’re evacuating a flood in Tennessee, Pennsylvania or Ohio, or Hawaii and
California as a result of tsunami waves from the earthquake in Japan, you could end up on your own. If you’re not at home when a disaster strikes, your vehicle could become your only way of escape or even your only place of shelter.
With this in mind, there a certain items that you should carry in your car at all times. You could get caught in a blizzard, break down in the mountains or in a desert area or be stranded by an earthquake or other natural or man-made disaster.
The essentials for life are shelter, water and food, sanitation, and first-aid/survior aid. Keep these in mind.
Always carry a first-aid kit. You could be the first one to arrive on an accident scene or be the one needing aid as the result of an accident. It doesn’t have to be expensive; you can put your own kit together. Be sure to have some pain relievers.
Water is more important than food. You can only survive for about 3 days without water, so carrying a few bottles of water could save your life. Food should be snacks that won’t be compromised in a hot car. Carry either vacuum packed snacks or shelf-stable items. Snacks like nuts and trail bars will give you the protein. Consider carrying Coast Guard Approved survival bars, http://www.survivorind.com. They have a 5 year shelf life.
I always carry a backpack with a couple emergency ponchos, emergency blankets, a regular blanket and a large metal cup to boil water if I run out of fresh water and have to find water. (I also carry a travel mug that plugs into the power socket) If I’m going to boil water I have to be able to build a fire. I carry water proof matches, a lighter and a fire starter with tinder, a couple of glow sticks, a flashlight and a whistle. You should have several plastic trash bags and a roll of toilet tissue. I keep a roll of tissue paper inside a coffee can in my vehicle. Carry some nanny wipes, hand sanitizer and a toothbrush and toothpaste. I also carry a good knife. If you’re going to carry a multitool, get a good one.
Hyperthermia can happen at 55 degrees, especially if you get wet. Always carry a coat, hat, boots and a pair of leather gloves. You’ll need them for changing a tire or digging out of a ditch or walking for help if you have to self rescue. Also, you should carry a change of clothes. If you have to shelter in place or evacuate, you’ll want a change of clothes.
You should always, always, always carry a spare tire and jack. No exceptions. Check it often to make sure the spare has air.
Change your wiper blades at least once a year. The winter weather, salt and snow deteriorate wiper blades as does the hot summer sun. Keep your car maintained. Check belts, hoses, fluid levels, and tires.
Carry a pair of jumper cables. If you often travel in remote areas you should consider carrying a jump box. Unless you’re a mechanic, a few simple tools will be all you need to carry. A pair of vise grip pliers and a pair of regular pliers, a flat screw driver, a Phillips screw driver, an open end and a box end wrench to fit <span>your</span> battery cable ends should be about all the tools you’ll need. Duct tape can be used to temporarily bind a leaking radiator hose or patch a broken tail light lens. Electrical tape is great to repair an exposed electrical connection or bandage a cut.
You should always carry a good flashlight and flares. A pry bar can be used to straighten a fender that’s rubbing a tire after a fender bender. You may want to carry one of those mini-air compressors. If you spare is flat or you have a low tire. If you find a nail or screw in your tire, leave it until you get to a service center. Carry a bag of kitty litter in the winter for traction on ice and a small shovel.
Keep a good pen or sharpie and pad in the car. If you have to leave your vehicle, you need to leave a note telling rescuers which direction you went and if you were alone or with someone else.
Put your mind to this. Imagine that you can’t get home from work tomorrow. What do you want in your car and in your backpack to get you through the next 72 hours minimum? Or imagine that you have to get in your car and evacuate because of a chemical spill or other event. You want your kit in your car and a go bag in the house that you can grab and go. Scenario planning is the best way to prepare.
This has been an emphasis on you being on your own, in your car. If you have a family you’ll want to plan accordingly for evacuating your home with your family or sheltering in place. Log on to http://www.redcross.org for information on getting a plan, getting a kit and getting ready to survive the unexpected.
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