The key to surviving an emergency is preparation. You may not have been a Boy Scout, but that does not mean you are at the mercy of fate. While watching episodes of Bear Grylls may give you some entertaining comfort, it is unlikely he will be there to hold your hand. Imagine yourself on a trip to an unfamiliar location. The car dies, or you’ve slipped into a ditch. You pull out your cell phone and the battery is dead or there is no coverage. When things start going wrong, the items we take for granted tend to fail us. Having a simple plan allows us to adapt and move forward. Our survival kit will be the key.
Safe operation of vehicle.
- Window scraper to remove snow and ice.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Tell someone where you are going, the expected route, and idea of when you plan on being back.
Simple roadside breakdown.
- Safety Triangles and or flares. This will allow other motorists to see you and avoid an accident.
- Jumper cables. The extreme cold weather can quickly run down a battery. Having cables and have you back on the road in minutes.
- Traction pads, old carpeting, cat litter. If you can get some traction, skidding into a ditch might not require a tow.
- Shovel. Removing snow will go more quickly.
- Chain or tow cable. A Good Samaritan may show up and be willing to give you a pull.
- Flashlight. Makes life much easier when the sun goes down.
- Extra fuses, fan belts, duct tape
Extended breakdown, now what?
- Florescent Flag to hang on the antenna or window allowing rescue crews to find you with greater ease.
- First Aid Kit.
- Prescription drugs
- Blankets and sleeping bags.
- Winter clothing, hats, gloves, extra coat.
- Non perishable food, granola bars, candy bars, instant soup.
- Tin can or small cooking pot.
- Lighter, waterproof matches.
- Candles. Lighting a candle can provide additional warmth to a car raising the temperature as much as 4.5 degrees. The candle can also be a heat source for turning snow into water.
Other tips: Stay with your car. It provides shelter and it is easier for rescue crews to locate a stationary object. To add visibility at night for the rescue crew, leave the dome light on. In an effort to conserve your battery, only use hazard flashers when someone approaches. The tail pipe must be free of snow to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Running the auto for ten minutes an hour and leaving the window cracked during operation of the engine should reduce exposure to exhaust fumes. A hand held crank radio or a weather radio would give you an idea of future weather reports. A cell phone adapter for your car would allow you to recharge and make that 911 call. Once on the phone with 911, stay on the line. Do not hang up! If you absolutely need to abandon the car, leave a note with your contact information and your planned route of departure. Leave the note on the windshield so it can be easily found.