by Catherine Haug, July 20, 2012, revised August 4, 2012
There’s no denying that the weather across the US has been unusual the last few years, with enormous, raging wildfires & forest fires, flooding, lightening, high wind, cyclonic & hurricane activity. These can force you to evacuate your home, or leave you stranded from access to food and emergency help. Road trips can expose you to severe weather and fire hazards with which you are unaccustomed.
Its best to plan for such emergencies before they happen. Read on for more about personal/family preparedness, and AAA’s recommendations.
Refer to the following articles on this website:
- All Natural First Aid Kit
- Event Summary: Preparing an Emergency 4-day (96 hour) Food & Water Pack
- Cat’s 4-Day Grab & Go Emergency Food Pack
To avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion
Find a nearby shelter (such as trees or a the shadow of a building) within sight of your car, or make a make-shift shelter with a tart and rope. Ensure you have plenty of water.
These heat induced problems are exacerbated by loss of salt and water from the body, so keep with you a container of table salt (unrefined sea salt, such as Celtic or Himalayan salt is best) to mineralize your water. Mix 3 tsp. regular table salt in 3 quarts of water (or 1/4 tsp per 8 oz glass of water).
- MedicineNet.com: Heat stroke; Extreme heat can affect anyone, but you don’t have to become a victim.
- CDC: Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
- Livestrong,com: How to use salt for heat stroke
In the event of severe weather
This includes tornados, cyclones, excessively high winds, flash floods, severe thunderstorms and more, know how to protect yourself and your companions. The following sites offer excellent advice:
>> From DisasterCenter.com: How to prepare and what to do when there is impending:
- Severe thunderstorms (disastercenter.com/guide/thunder.html)
- Tornado (disastercenter.com/guide/tornado.html)
- Heat wave, excessive heat (disastercenter.com/guide/heat.html
- Flood & flash flood (disastercenter.com/guide/flood.html)
- Tsunami (disastercenter.com/guide/tsunami.html)
- Wildfire (disastercenter.com/guide/wildfire.html)
- and lots more.
>> Wiki-How: How to Protect Yourself in a Thunderstorm. Includes discussion of what constitutes adequate shelter; how to minimize risk if you cannot reach shelter, and lots more. (wikihow.com/Protect-Yourself-in-a-Thunderstorm)
Taking a road trip?
American Automobile Association (AAA) offers advice for how to prepare for emergency auto breakdowns in excessive heat or severe weather. The high heat in some parts of our country (exceeding 100 degrees for extended periods) and which we may also see here, puts vehicles to the test:
“Without preventive maintenance, the heat increases the chances of a vehicle failure, leaving drivers unexpectedly – and dangerously – stranded on the roadside. That’s why vehicle maintenance is crucial, as well as having a breakdown plan. See their article: Breakdown Plan a Must as Summer Heat Continues.”
In the event that a vehicle failure does occur, AAA advises motorists to adhere to the following emergency roadside plan (from their article Breakdown Plan a Must as Summer Heat Continues):
- Turn on four-way flashers and pull completely off the roadway, if possible. On a freeway/highway, use the nearest exit, if possible. If unable to exit, pull the vehicle to the far right side of the roadway, on the right side of the solid, white line. Do not pull into, or stop in the gore area, which divides the roadway from the exit.
- If you’re unable to exit the roadway, stay in your vehicle and remain buckled. Call AAA or your emergency roadside provider. [It helps to have a cell phone with fully-charged battery, and a car charger, for emergencies. AAA provides a the new, free AAA Mobile App for iPhones (not yet available for android phones]
- If you feel that you are in danger, let the dispatcher know immediately. Or, if your vehicle is stopped on the travel portion of the roadway, call 911.
- Know your location in order to expedite help. Pay attention to the last exit if on a freeway, mile markers or signs, and your direction of travel.
- Stay with your vehicle at all times, so long as it is safe to do so.
- Know what is and what is not provided in your emergency roadside coverage. For example, while AAA offers mobile battery service and replacement with a 72-month warranty with no mileage limit, other carriers do not. Knowing these details can help avoid a costly situation, and save time.
See also the AAA article: Breakdown Plan a Must as Summer Heat Continues for lots more good advice.
Be prepared for being stranded on the road
It isn’t just your car’s health that is a concern. In the event that you could become stranded in the heat, plan ahead and pack a 4-day emergency food pack and adequate water for each person in your car. It is also wise to carry a first aid kit. If you take medications, pack enough for a week.