Friday, December 01, 2006

Winter Emergency Kit

As a winter storm crosses the country, it seems the right time to talk about winter safety. This time of year, people travel. For those traveling by car, here are a few tips for the road:

1. Watch the weather.
Use whatever method appeals to you - the web, weather channel, radio, newspaper - but keep an eye on the sky the day before and day of your travel.

2. Travel during daylight hours.
This may not always be possible, but traveling while the sun is up
makes visibility better. Businesses, gas stations, recurrent, and tow
services are more likely to be open during the day.

3. Carry extra food and water.
Recently, a family rescued after being stranded for two days in a storm
related that they survived on fruit and leftover Halloween candy.
Create a "survival stache" of water bottles, energy bars, and dried fruit
or trail mix.

4. Bring a coat. (Hat, gloves, boots, etc.)
It is tempting to skip the outerwear when making a short trip to drop the
kids at school or when driving from the garage at home to the indoor garage
at work. It only takes a few seconds to toss your coat, hat, boots, and
gloves in the back seat in case of an accident or car trouble. In addition,
a small heat reflective blanket can be stored in very little space.

5. Keep your cell phone charged.
Make sure you save enough of your battery to make an emergency call if needed.

6. Keep the gas tank full.
Fill the gas tank when it is half empty, or half full, depending on
your point of view. This is lifesaving advice during hurricane season
as well, but that's advice for another day.

7. Be prepared for automotive emergencies.
Keep a kit in the trunk with flashlight, work gloves, flares, and
jumper cables. Obviously, keep a spare tire and the necessary equipment
to change a flat tire.

8. Carry a map.
Believe it or not, there are locations unobtainable by GPS. There
are places without cell phone coverage. Even web based instructions
can be wrong. (I once printed a route to my parents' house in west
Texas to check the accuracy of a website. An entire one hundred mile
segment of highway was missing from the directions. I would have been
lost in the desert if not for the fact that I've driven that road many
times before.)

9. Let someone know your travel plans.
If you fail to arrive at the scheduled time, and if someone knows your
travel route, it will be easier for rescuers to find you.

10. Have fun.
Winter is a wonderful time. Enjoy your travel and be safe.

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