Winter Automobile Emergency Preparedness
November 11, 2008 · Print This Article
Besides making sure your automobile has plenty of coolant… you should consider having an emergency preparedness winter kit in your car.
Last winter, here in Utah, we had an unusual storm hit the “point of the mountain”, as we call it. This area is south of Salt Lake City, just as you enter Utah County. In the winter, it’s known for high winds, blowing snow, and treacherous roads.
The surprise storm hit in the late afternoon and continued through the night. Motorists were stranded on the freeway and side roads for many hours. Traffic on the freeway inched along and was often stopped dead still for hours. Many people spent the night in a convenience store parking lot.
My son, Brad was stranded on the freeway and couldn’t get home even though he could see his house from his car. He pulled off the freeway and spent the night at my daughter Katie’s home.
My daughter, Emily had run down to a local store to pick up a few items for dinner. All roads were closed by the time she left to go home. Even though she could see her sub-division from her car, there was no way to get there and, her kids were home alone. Emily was stranded for 8 hours Cell phones worked sporadically because everyone was tapping into the tower signal at the same time.
Emily’s four children, ranging in age from 4 to 13 were down stairs in their bedrooms when the lights went out. Groping in the dark for sometime, McKenzie was able to find a couple of candles and led her brothers upstairs where they waited until their folks could get home. Just a note here: Be aware your portable phones will not work when the light go out. Your home should have at least one land line phone.
After the storm was over, this event led our family to a winter emergency preparedness discussion.
In the case of Emily’s kids, better emergency lighting could have provided. It was agreed that Glow Sticks or Light Sticks (same thing… just different names), were the best way to provide lighting for children rather than candles. A glow stick is safe, non-toxic-non-flammable, weatherproof and inexpensive. Flashlights are great… but if your house is like mine… the batteries are always dead when I need the light.
By providing Light Sticks in strategic areas in your home, you furnish a means for young children to find their way about, if the electricity goes out. All the child has to do is, bend, break, and shake the stick… and Waaa Laaa… Light! We decided that a light stick in each child’s dresser drawer would be a good idea. Also, place one on a shelf or in drawer in every room of the house. This way, your child does’nt have to strike a match.
You can purchase glow stick that will last 4 hours, 8 hours and 12 hours. I’ve seen a few that will last 24 hours. The cost ranges from $.49 to $2.50 depending upon where you purchase them.
It was agreed that a winter emergency kit should be placed in the car.
Must Have: Winter coat, gloves, hat that covers ears, winter boots, socks, blanket and water. (Emily was in “heels” and had on a light jacket… or she would have attempted to walk home.)
Additions: Special needs such as insulin, medications etc.
Additions: Cell phone charger. Protein bars (not bars with lots of carbs because they’ll make you tired.) Nuts, (raw almonds keep best.) Flares, and glow sticks. Small camp shovel.
Additions for when you have to leave the car: Umbrella, (good protection against the wind). Ski mask, goggles. Hand warmers. (You can purchases these in a large package.)
For Children: Blankets, food for kids… like crackers and canned cheese. Water and juices… games. Sometimes mom’s put their kids in the car without shoes or a coat… thinking, “It’s warm in the car and I’m just going for a minute.” Make sure they’re dressed for an emergency situation, especially if the weather is threatening.
For Babies: Pack a diaper bag with bottles, formula, blankets, diapers, plastic bags, wipes and special needs.
There you go… I’m getting a head start on my winter emergency preparedness kit before the snow flies. Who cares if it looks a little miss matched as long as I’m warm and safe. I’m putting all of my gear in a duffel bag.
If you have any more ideas… leave us a comment. Love to hear from you.
P.S. It’s also suggested, during the winter months, you always keep your gas tank at least 1/2 full.
P.P.S. A winter emergency preparedness kit can make being stranded, because of poor weather, a little more comfortable… and in some cases, may save your life.