Trapped for hours! What would you do?
Many of us have heard about the story regarding the major gridlock on the Atlanta, Georgia USA interstate and surface street due to a frigid winter storm with 2+ inches of snow and ice. People were trapped for many hours, some 16-20 hours, on the interstate in their cars, most without food or water or needed medications. What was an inconvenience turned into a dangerous situation very quickly.
One man with diabetes and no food was in a very dangerous situation. One woman was 8 months pregnant with her 3 year old son without food or water. One woman even delivered her baby on the interstate with the help of her husband, a police officer and later on an emergency response team. Children were trapped in
their school buses without food or water. There were no bathroom facilities. Children were trapped at school where parents could not get to them, they spent the night at their school. Many kept their cars running so they could run their heaters to deal with the extreme cold, only to run out of gas. Others ran out of gas due to low gas tanks.
No federal, state or local government system is perfect, things can happen. What we can do is be prepared for things like this. We need to always plan on taking care of ourselves.
You may say I do not live in an area like this, but it can happen to all of us. Let me share a story about our daughter.
Several years ago our daughter was on an Orange County, California USA freeway. She was just running some errands that would not take long. She had just turned off onto an overpass to get onto another freeway, when all of a sudden the freeway came to a halt. She and her 4 small children, one of them a baby, spent the next 5-6 hours sitting on the overpass, there was no way out. She only had one diaper, a few Fishy crackers in her purse left over from Sunday church, and no water or food for her children. After this experiences she has always kept food and water in her car. She also kept things in her car to entertain her children, they are much older now.
What could you have done ahead of time to be prepared for a situation like this?
As most of you know from reading my blog that when a disaster or emergency situation like this happens I watch the news, especially CNN, to find out what I can learn from this experience and pass it onto each of you.
The best thing any of us can do is to always be prepared, even if you think it will never happen. As I have always said, "Why not have what you will need and never need it, than need it and not have it."
Be prepared by keeping these items in your car(s) at all times...
1) Keep food and water in your car at all times. We keep our 72 Hour Individual Emergency Preparedness Backpacks in our car. You will need to rotate the food kits more often if the car or trunk gets hot, every 3-6 months.
2) Keep your Emergency Family Bag in the car at all times. We are working on this one right now.
3) Keep a blanket in your car or trunk. We also keep a warm sweater for each of us in our trunk.
4) Have some sort of a way to construct shelter, those items should be in your Emergency Family Bag. We also keep a small tent in our trunk.
5) Keep items to entertain your children. Example: travel size board games, card games, books.
6) Keep a first-aid kit in your car with a first-aid book, there could be injuries.
7) If you have a cell phone with texting, text family and friends exactly where you are. I loved how the one fellow set up a Facebook site for those trapped to communicate with others.
8) Always keep your car gas tank at least half full. That way you will have gas to run your heater for awhile.
Weekly Assignment: Emergency Family Bag
Why do you need an Emergency Family Bag? You cannot get everything you might need into your 72 Hour Individual Emergency Preparedness Backpacks. This bag should be kept in your car(s) or with your family's 72 Hour Individual Emergency Preparedness Backpacks. We prefer our car since there are items we might need. You can use a sports bag or a backpack. Use one you already have, check out a thrift store or purchase a new one.
This week add the following:
2) Small wet stone (to sharpen blades)
In the next few weeks we will add the following: 2 mess kits, basic chow set (fork, spoon, knife), small sewing kit, small hand mirror, compass, travel size board game/card games, good set of Walkie Talkies. Note: You may already have the small hand mirror and compass if you ordered the 5 in 1 Whistle when we did this in Carson Ward, on emergencyessentials.com.)
Monthly Assignment for February: Emergency Lighting/Electricity
This month add some type of emergency lighting:
It could be a Coleman or propane lantern, a LED lantern that requires batteries (store extra batteries). Store extra of what ever you need to run these types of lanterns. You may even want to consider purchasing a gas or solar generator, a more expensive item. You should have a flashlight with extra batteries in ever room, especially your bedrooms. A good idea is to put the flashlight in a plastic zip lock bag with batteries and tie it to your bed post under your bed. This way if there is an earthquake you will be able to find it quickly.
If you already have emergency lighting equipment then check to make sure it is working properly, purchase extra batteries. Store all emergency lighting equipment together.
Check out the postings link, "Cooking, Heating and Lighting", for different types of lighting equipment and ideas.
Electrical: Know where your main circuit breaker or fuse box is and how to check it and replace any needed fuses (if you have that type). Keep a flashlight by it so you can see it if the electricity goes out.
Personal Story: A friend of ours was on his way home from work when his wife called to say their electricity was out, which turned out to be the whole neighborhood. Their electricity was out for 5 hours. But because they had prepared they had lanterns, flashlights, candles and even a battery power backup for their computer. They were able to have dinner, gas stove, have light and watch a program on their computer. You never know when you might need backup emergency lighting. Warning: If you use candles make sure they are not near anything that could catch fire and never leave a candle unattended.
Warning: Remember, if you have a gas generator follow the instruction on the generator and in the instruction manual. Never, Never, Never use it inside your home, an enclosed area or next to an open window. The fumes will kill you. If you have a gas generator you will need to store extra gas in only regulated gas cans away from your house in a cool place. Solar generators are great because they require no gas, use the sun to charge them and can be used in the house.
Emergency Preparedness Ideas:
4th Dry Pack Canning Method: Purchase Commercial Dry Pack Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Foods
Most food storage companies like Emergency Essentials, Thrive Life, Food for Health International, Food Insurance, Honeyville and the LDS Dry Pack Cannery and store.lds.org offer dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. I find emergencyessentials.com, store.lds.org and the LDS Dry Pack Cannery offer the best prices. Watch for sales, request a catalog. Most companies offer the #10 cans. Emergencyessentials.com also offers smaller cans called "MyChoice" ( #2.5 can) and large buckets called SuperPails (6 gallon buckets).
If you want to purchase food from the the LDS Dry Pack Cannery contact the one closest to you. You may need to place your order ahead of time to make sure they have the amount you want. Effective November 2013 you can no longer can for yourself at the LDS Dry Pack Cannery except for 10 LDS Dry Pack Canneries throughout Utah, Idaho, and Arizona USA.
Non-Food items you might want to consider storing...
Think of things your family does not want to be without that you use on a daily and weekly bases...Examples:
All paper products
Laundry, cleaning supplies
Feminine hygiene products
Comments: All your comments, ideas, suggestions and experiences are welcome! We all learn from each other. Thank you for your comments.