One of the things that I have decided to do in 2010 is to start putting a plan in action that will help my family be prepared in the event of an emergency. This inspiration struck during the Christmas blizzards that blanketed much of the south in late December. The news reports showed pictures of people who were essentially trapped in their vehicles on the side of the road. I began to consider if I would have the resources in my car to hold out until help could arrive if I were trapped in a snowbank somewhere.
Phase 1 of my plan has involved preparing our two vehicles for unexpected situations. The first thing I did was to make sure that both vehicles had a set of jumper cables in them. You can find a set of these for under $20 at just about any store that sells any type of automotive supplies. Jumper cables are an easy way to make sure a dead battery does not leave you stranded and can also come in handy when friends and neighbors need a helping hand.
The second part of phase one has been to stash some sort of food in the cars so that if we were stranded in a place where getting to food was not an option, we would not starve. One of the perks of being in the military is the stash of MREs that I have thanks to not eating them during AT periods. I took four MREs and put two of them in both vehicles. My little Honda Fit does not have a lot of extra space for stashing things, but I found I could fit the two MREs in the area where the spare tire is located. The Mazda5 had two plastic panels in the trunk area that could be removed from the side walls and I was able to cram the MRE bags in those.
The third part of phase one was first aid kits. I realized that the first aid resources were nil in the vehicles and not much better in the apartment. I jumped on the internet and started hunting for a solution to the problem. Here is what I purchased for the cars. This is a good basic kit with enough stuff to cover the little scrapes and bruises as well as enough gauze to wrap up larger wounds. They were also pretty reasonable in cost at $15/ea One thing that I will probably add is some more pain relievers, something for indigestion (Tums), and something like Claritin for allergies. I was able to stash both of the kits out of sight in the two vehicles and in places where they will not take up regular cargo space.
I also purchased a larger first aid kit to keep in the apartment. This kit has a very nice assortment of bandages, disinfectant swabs and pads, as well as many other useful things. The bag also has plenty of room to add more stuff so that you can customize it to your needs. The olive drab bag that my kit came in is very well constructed and is made to put up with the rigors of military field use. I may end up buying another one to take on future deployments so that I can have a well equipped first aid kit in the Chaplain’s office.
Phase two of my plan mostly centers around water. I am trying to figure out the best and most space efficient way to store some water in both vehicles. I used up a lot of my space (especially in the Fit) with the first aid kits and MREs, but water is vital so I need to come up with something. I have also decided to purchase a case of bottled water from Costco to keep in the apartment so that we could have drinking water in the event of an emergency. The second part of phase two is figuring out how to stash some emergency blankets in the cars as well. I need to find something that can be folded up really small, but still offers some warmth.
So there you have it. Those are my initial steps at being ready for the worst. I still have some other ideas that I would like to implement, but they are a little bit cost prohibitive right now and in a lot of ways my phase one planning will overlap with those plans anyway.