One thing we should learn from the unusual snow and ice storm that slammed the southern states recently, is the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours can be dangerous if you are not properly prepared. Children were stranded on the school buses overnight with frigid temperatures. People had to abandon their cars in the middle of the highway and walk to the nearest building for shelter. Customers where stranded at stores and had to sleep on the floor. Would you have been prepared for this situation?
Your best decision is not to go out in bad weather but that is not always an option. Take a few minutes now and get together some crucial items to create an emergency box for each vehicle. This will help you be prepared for any number of disasters that may happen while traveling. Here is a list of some items to consider:
- Warm Blankets or emergency thermal mylar blankets which take up very little room
- Extra hats & mittens, socks in case you get wet, clean under garments in case your are stranded for a few days
- Instant heat packs which can be put in your gloves, socks, or between the layers of your clothing, they can last up to 18 hrs, well worth the investment
- A first aid kit including bandages, pain killers, and a few doses of any px medication that is vital
- Flashlight and batteries or better yet, invest in a crank radio & flashlight, otherwise you risk wearing down your car battery listening to the radio for updates or keeping a light going
- Water and energy snacks, it’s hard to keep calm when your stomach is growling and your little ones are crying from hunger.
- Matches or a lighter in case you need to start a fire for warmth or signal for help.
- A small foldable shovel to dig yourself out of the ditch or to keep the snow cleared away from your exhaust pipe if you run the car engine, carbon monoxide poison is a frequent cause of death in situations like this
- Flares and reflectors to make sure you are easily visible to others
- Roll of toilet paper, no explanation needed
- Baby wipes to wash your hands or other personal hygiene
- Deck of cards or other types of entertainment to help pass the time
This small investment of time and money could literally be the difference of life and death, or getting severe frost bite. Many times people have left their vehicle to seek help and became disorientated, making the situation more life-threatening. In most cases, it’s safer to remain in your vehicle until help arrives. If you are familiar with your location, you may know a safe place that is within walking distance. Proceed with caution and bring some water and other necessary supplies with you. This may not be an option for the young, elderly, or other persons with disabilities.
Unfortunately most people think they will never have to face an unexpected emergency or expect help to be available immediately. We have many recent examples such as Hurricane Sandy, and this most recent freak snow storm in the southeast, to show that’s not usually the case following a disaster. It can take days for the local agencies to coordinate resources. You are leaving yourself and your family vulnerable when it can easily be prevented by taking a few steps to prepare. Stay safe!