Although there is no sign of winter when you leave for your trip, do NOT be fooled. Late in the fall, a blizzard can come roaring in without much warning. Be prepared. Be sure that you and your fellow travellers are protected should you be stranded in your car. Pack an emergency kit in your the trunk or the back seat of your car BEFORE you leave for your destination.
Please be aware that the temperature does not have to be below freezing to get hypothermia. Should you become stranded in the middle of a sudden snow storm or your car will not start, having a fully stocked emergency kit can save your life.
Most of us carry a cell phone with us, so in an emergency the first step we might take is to call for roadside assistance. However, depending on where you are traveling, be aware that there ARE still 'dead zones' where your cell phone may not get a signal. Also batteries die, rendering the cellphone useless. Be sure that someone knows the route your are traveling and your approximate arrival time, so they know where to send help if you don't arrive.
Here are the instructions for your emergency survival kit:
Take the time before your planned trip to purchase and pack the needed items. A duffel bag is great for packing your emergency gear. Small items such as spare batteries, flares, lighters and high calorie food, can be packed in a separate pocket. Keep lighters and flares dry by packing them in ziplock bags. High calorie foods to include are high in sugar content, like candy bars. These high energy foods help to provide energy to keep warm.
In zones where the temperature dips to below zero temperatures, bottled water may freeze. Include a candle and a metal container which can be used for melting snow for drinking water. Be sure and pack a fully stocked first aid kit in your duffel bag too. If you are on regular prescription medications be sure to have enough for a week or two in case you are stranded for several days.
A large sheathed knife should be placed on top of the first aid kit. Next, place some of your warmest blankets in several garbage bags. Garbage bags can be cut with neck and head holes to create an insulator. The second garbage bag does not need to be cut, only pulled over the legs. Depending on the number of people you have traveling with you, include at least one warm blanket, two large garbage bags and extra high calorie food for each person that may be with you in the car in an emergency. Keep in mind that children and the elderly can be more susceptible to hypothermia
If you become stranded, get your survival kit from the truck or the back seat as soon as possible. Once you have it in the car with you, be sure to keep the doors shut to retain as much heat inside as possible. Immediately take your road flares and set them up and return to your car. Stay in your car till help arrives. If your cell phone IS working or you have a service such as OnStar in your vehicle, use it. If such technology is NOT an option, STAY in your car till help arrives. Trying to 'go for help' and exposing yourself to the elements can result in hypothermia, or death!
marswan'at'telus.net (Replace the word 'at' with the @ symbol)
Here's a P.S. to this little post. After writing this article the author made a quick trip into town AND.....you guessed it.....my car would not start. Thank goodness I was in town and a good Samaritan made a run back to his home to pick up his booster pack. A booster pack is definitely a good addition to the emergency travel kit! On days like today, roadside assistance had a waiting time for answering of 55 minutes, so I cannot even imagine what the response time would have been. A huge thank you to the good Samaritan who took time out of his day and went the extra mile to help out. In the spirit of good deeds, I will be paying it forward as the opportunity arises.
"Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day."
- Helen Steiner Rice
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