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Monday, August 12, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Task #13- Emergency Preparedness for Your Automobile

Now that you have your home in order for a 72-hour emergency, it's time to get any and all vehicles prepped for yourself and/or your immediate family.  A first-aid kit, water, food, blankets, a waterproof flashlight- all of these are essential for survival should you either get stuck in your vehicle for a few days due to an emergency or have some other problem strike while you're on the road and cannot get immediate assistance.

If you had to travel to a campground, emergency shelter, a family or friends' home or sleep in your car, could you stay safe and warm enough?  Would you have food and water to support everyone for approximately three days?  You don't need to carry these supplies with you on simple runs to the grocery store or anything extreme like that.  But if you have a very long commute to work (45+ minutes one way), a long car trip planned (especially to a rural area with no emergency services and few people around to help in the event of a disaster) or you have to leave your home for any extended time (more than three or four hours away, I'd say), please carry some supplies with you.  An automobile-based emergency can be entirely different in nature from one which happens at home.  Below is the Department of Motor Vehicle's list of needed items for an emergency automobile kit:

http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php

Please remember to adapt all of this to your family's personal needs and then plan accordingly.  Obviously if you have a young baby or child along, your needs will change somewhat from a single person traveling alone or an elderly couple who have limited mobility and/or must have medications on hand to take at regular intervals. 

If you are being evacuated from your home due to an emergency, try to make room in your vehicle's trunk or backseat to carry your home-based emergency supplies along, as well.  This is another reason why I suggest that you always have your home-based emergency supplies in one place- they are easier to gather up quickly if they're all in one location. 

Not only do I want you to stock up on a few additional supplies, but if you haven't already done so, I'd like you to print out directions to the local police and/or fire station, any friends or family you would be staying with if a disaster struck and to all major airports and bus stations in your area.  Large-scale and long-term evacuations are beyond the scope of a 72-hour kit that I suggest you always have available at home or in the car, but nonetheless I'd like you to print out these directions now.  If something happened to you and/or your spouse, your immediate family members will need to know how to get to the safe places you've designated in the event of an emergency.  Some counties, states and other countries besides the U.S. still have plenty of emergency shelters in place that people can go to, but this is pretty rare nowadays as far as I'm aware from all of my reading.  So please don't count on the local, state or Federal government to evacuate and protect you should the need for either one become a reality.  (I'm not slamming what government agencies do in the event of emergencies, I'm merely being realistic- the government can and does frequently respond well to emergency circumstances but there are always mistakes and oversights which occur because that's just the human way.)

Here's to being a prepared organized minimalist,
Liz

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