Two weeks ago, a snow storm swept through our region leaving stranded motorists, downed trees and power lines in its wake. Traffic was at a standstill in some areas for up to sixteen hours waiting for crews to clear the highways. Stories of communities opening their hearts, homes and churches fill the local newspapers.
Motorists who were stranded tell stories of starting their car every hour for a few minutes to warm up. Some were more prepared than others. Some reported having snack food while others had nothing. One story told of a man who survived on packets of Taco Bell hot sauce for five days while awaiting rescue.
By now most folks are convinced to have at least started a kit at home. Setting aside some soup mixes, extra water, making sure there is something to cook with if the electricity goes out and all the rest. Not everyone, however has something in their car. Because disasters don’t always have the good manners to happen while you’re home, maybe it’s time you started building a kit for your car. Begin with warm socks, a sweatshirt and maybe an extra coat. A blanket or sleeping bag is always nice to have along. Snack food, jerky, crackers, protein bars, and other non-perishables will make you a hero in the eyes of your family. If you’re on any kind of maintenance medication, start setting aside a few days worth of your meds just in case. A nice, sturdy tote will usually hold all the necessities. Human nature being what it is, once you begin a kit, the thing will grow as you can always find more essentials you can’t live without.
For those who already have a kit in your car, now’s a good time to take inventory. Empty everything out on your kitchen table and toss the crushed crackers. Check the dates on your jerky and give everything a tune-up, This is also a good time to replace the batteries in your flashlight. Another reason for going through your kit is to refresh your memory as to what exactly is in there. How about that disposable lighter? Does it still work? Are your matches damp? Maybe now is a good time to replace matches with dry or maybe waterproof ones. An extra toothbrush and some disposable wipes can make life better in the event you do an overnighter. Also do you have a way to charge your cell phone away from home. Most of us carry a plug-in gizmo that goes into the cigarette lighter. Also those little rechargeable external battery banks can be a lifesaver if your phone goes dead. I’m partial to Goal Zero, but there are several good brands on the market.
If you aren’t sure what all should go in your kit, go online and check out websites that offer kits. See what’s in the list of contents. I’m sure you’ll find things you don’t need, and maybe get ideas for new items. Your “get home” bag will look different than your kit at home, but no less important if you find yourself stranded far from home. Stay prepared my friends!
As always, send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is an author, pastor, and freelance writer. His book, “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” is available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble and other online booksellers.