Your Survival Is Your Responsibility – Put Together a Kit

Winter Traffic Jam

Your Survival Is Your Responsibility 

Expectations and Your Survival

People expected certain things and planned based on that. A snowstorm that should have been nothing more than a mere inconvenience turned into a disaster that has everyone asking why 2.6 inches of snow has crippled a state. Why were so many people left stranded along the highways and children in schools and on buses?

Citizens in the affected areas expected that schools would get their children home safely. Drivers expected that the roads would be treated and plowed to prevent icy surfaces. People however, realized too late that the city of Atlanta, possibly did not treat the roads or the treatment was not sufficient. In any event, the roads were ice covered and made travel impossible and people found this out too late.

People expected things and thus were not prepared because they assumed everyone else would do their part. How many more disasters must people experience before they realize, they are pretty much on their own when disaster does strike.

Politicians are now pointing fingers and this is to be expected. Will finding who is at fault change anything, no it will not. The problem is institutional. Politicians are running things and they do not have to live with their own decisions, only the citizens do. Bad decisions will go unpunished so the bad decisions will continue and this is to be expected.

You as an individual need to step up and do what needs to be done, without waiting for someone to tell you after the fact what should have been done. You saw the weather reports, so why did you leave for work unprepared?

Too many people had to rely on others for their own survival, what happens next time when there is not a Home Depot close by, or a restaurant willing to pass out free foods or drivers that could navigate the roads. Many people who became stranded were rescued by other drivers that could navigate the highways. Some drivers came to the party prepared. The question is what you plan to do for next time.

Getting Prepared

You do not have any control over the weather and you do not have any control over city workers, or politicians so you can never be sure if anything is being done or not on your behalf. You cannot control other drivers either, but you do have control over your own actions.

Put together a kit so if you are stranded along the highway for 17-36 hours you have the means to survive. You should never leave your vehicle if you become stranded, unless the vehicle or its position is a threat to your life, so why did people simply abandon their vehicles in the middle of the highway in a snowstorm? They did this because they did not have any emergency supplies, or the means to keep warm for any length of time. Their gas tanks may have been close to empty so they knew they could not run the engine to keep warm for long, and some simply panicked and headed out on foot toward what they thought was home.

Emergency Supplies You Should Carry In Your Vehicle and Things to Consider

  • Keep your car’s gas tank full in cold weather, so when you do become stuck in traffic or stranded in cold or hot weather for that matter, you can run the engine.
  • Have several blankets and/or a quality sleeping bag for warmth and shoes for cold weather walking or simply wearing inside the car. A heavy jacket, hats, scarves and gloves are necessary as well.
  • Many people travel back and forth to work in their “work clothing”, which is usually not adequate for cold weather survival. Have weather appropriate clothing in your car that you can put on in an emergency.
  • Food is necessary not because of the fear of starvation but for psychological reasons. You need food for comfort and it will help keep you warm as it digests. Make sure the food you do carry is not affected by cold temperatures. Beef jerky, peanut butter, crackers and hard chocolate along with protein bars are just some of the foods you could carry.
  • Make sure you have water in your vehicle and always drink water if eating high protein foods because protein requires more liquid for digestion than do other foods.
  • You may have to protect your water from freezing by carrying a small cooler. Place the water inside with newspaper or clothing to protect against freezing.
  • Make sure you have a cell phone charger in your car
  • Supplies for children such as snacks, drinks, toys and other things to keep them occupied along with protective clothing, diapers, cleaning wipes and waste bags for the diapers
  • Shovel, cat litter/sand for traction and/or chains for your tires
  • Carry a rechargeable battery pack that can be used to jump-start your vehicle and charge electronic devices. Most packs would have a tire pump and emergency light and may even have an emergency weather radio built in.
  • Flares, flashlights, glow sticks and brightly colored signal flags.

Attach flags to the vehicle so it can be seen in heavy snow. The glow sticks can be placed in the front and back windows so other motorists or rescue personnel can see the vehicle. Flares can be placed to the front and back of the vehicle and read directions carefully on how to ignite and how far from the vehicle, they need to be placed. However, do no step out of your vehicle if in whiteout conditions unless you can attach yourself to the vehicle with rope. You can become disorientated and lost just a few feet from your vehicle in a snowstorm.

  • Nylon tow strap, avoid metal cable or chains for towing or for being pulled from a snow bank or ditch, Metal cables and chains can snap and whip around when stressed striking you or others.
  • Have matches and lighters in case you do need to start an emergency signal fire or need the fire for warmth
  • Make sure the tailpipe is not clogged with snow or debris
  • Keep a window open a few inches when operating the engine
  • Operate the engine for 10-15 minutes every hour for warmth
  • Stay calm and have patience