Being prepared isn’t always related to large emergency events. We can all incorporated preparedness into our everyday lives. It can be part of your check off list as we approach this holiday weekend. Adding a few extra items to your vehicles or luggage can help you and your loved ones be prepared in case of an emergency during your travels.
Emergency planning is just one small additional step in planning your trip. You know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and when you’re coming back. To begin your emergency planning, all you have to do is imagine what emergencies might pop up along the way. A fairly likely scenario is breaking down at night on a rural stretch of road with no cell phone reception, and guess what; you’re camping for the night. No problem, if you’re prepared with a good vehicle emergency kit.
The Red Cross provides several free emergency preparedness guide apps for iPhone and Android. While traveling, one app uses location services to tell you what county you’re in and if that county is experiencing any severe weather or emergency alerts. Other apps give tips on what to do in case of a storm, tornado, hurricane or another crisis. Visit www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps for more information. Within Yavapai County make sure to sign up with Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Notification System at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/A45C10E5EC0F
Before you take off to travel, check the tires, check the AC. Check the spare tire and make sure it has air in it. Always carry the necessary equipment for changing a tire―a working jack, an inflated spare tire, a lug nut wrench or tire iron, and pipe for leverage. These items should always be stored in their designated place in your car's trunk or hatchback. Check towing equipment, dragging chains will throw sparks. Never substitute parts when towing. Only use appropriate safety pins & hitch ball. A flashlight with batteries, jumper cables, basic first aid supplies, 1-2 gallons of bottled water, snack items, a small shovel and a blanket are all useful in case you’re lost, stranded or stuck in a traffic jam. Include diapers, wipes and a change of clothes if traveling with infants or children. Always keep a cell phone charger in the vehicle so you can make emergency calls without worrying about a dead battery.
Write down important information, and keep it in a secure place. Don't only rely on your cell phone or laptop to store your emergency contact numbers, etc. Keep a hard copy back-up on you. Always tell someone where you are doing, what route you are taking and when you plan on reaching your destination. You never know where you might be when a disaster strikes.
One item some people might not think about is a whistle. In cases where cars have gone off course and landed in ravines that aren’t visible from the road, it’s difficult to receive help if no one can see or hear them. A loud whistle carries farther than shouting voices, alerting rescuers to the location. Another useful item is a large umbrella. Not only do they protect you from the rain, but they also provide shade if you’re broken down on the side of the road on a hot day waiting for a tow truck.
Traveling emergency preparedness may not only benefit you but could also save a life another traveler. Participate in National Preparedness Month by using this holiday weekend as an opportunity to start your emergency preparedness kit and plans.
A emergency kit for your vehicle (in addition to your personal needs) should include:
- Jumper cables
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
- A Phillips head screwdriver
- A flat head screwdriver
- Vise grips
- An adjustable wrench
- A pair of pliers
- A tire inflator
- A tire pressure gauge
- Some rags and a funnel
- A roll of duct tape
- A roll of paper towels
- An roadside emergency card
- Triangle reflectors and/or flares.
- A pocketknife
- Bottled water
- One gallon of antifreeze
- A blanket
- Small fire extinguisher