Climate change by location
No matter where you live in this great country, there are times of extremely bad weather which may leave you stranded if you’re not prepared. In the South it is hurricane winds/rains and afternoon heat. The North and East can have harsh wet winters. Out West, it may be the high afternoon winds and excessive dust storms mixed with temperature drops and wet snowy weather.
Pick your poison. All four sides of the compass have some form of extreme weather at various times of the year. Mother nature does not care if your young or old. Some advice like keeping water in your vehicle may apply. Drinking water stored in a hot Florida car may not be safe to drink because of the potential bacteria build up. Keeping water inside of you’re vehicle in the cold climates will surely freeze so be prepared to un-thaw.
Having extra clothing or even a blanket with you will also come in handy in case of emergencies. Remember we are preppers. It’s not the maybe, It’s the when.
Consider you’re furry friends
Today, I stepped outside earlier today in shorts, tee shirt and wool cap with snow on the ground. It was comfortable outside but just a few hours later I was wearing full clothing. A jacket and gloves also just to walk the dogs. It had dropped thirty degrees in just an hour. I had to rotate the dogs out for walks before they got too cold.
We have five seasons out here in the valley. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and super cold. It’s the last one that’s going to get you especially if you find yourself stranded and un-prepared. Working the C Line Light Rail train in Denver January 2004, I remember the college kids going down town on Friday and Saturday Evening wearing skimpy clothing just to make a fashion statement. Just a few hours later they were freezing their butts off while heading home intoxicated.
Poor planning can be fatal
I recall a news article from around 2004 that talked about a young man who went out to his car at 2 a.m. to get a pack of smokes. He was only clothed in his underwear and froze to death when he got locked out of his house. Just last year a senior Volusia County woman went missing only to be discovered days later dead in her backyard from weather exposure.
Preparation is the key to survival
I always carry a spare vehicle key with me. Inside of my vehicles “Go bag” I always keep the following items:
A. Five dollars silver change in nickels dimes and quarters for vending machines and making calls in case my cell phone goes down. I suggest the silver change because you are less likely to use it beforehand compared to paper money. A few years ago, I stopped in a small mom and pop store located at Winter Park Florida to buy a drink for the ride home. I was told that all debt card transactions must be greater than $10.00.
B. Full size trash bags and a plastic tarp to give me some shelter and retain warmth should I get stranded. Getting a two-color tarp with red being one side would be good as a signal in case you were stranded. The same with a white handkerchief or tee shirt to hang from the car antenna. You can make a make shift shelter with the tarp.
C. A black marker and 3×5 cards or paper to leave a visible trail in case I decide to abandon my car and walk to safety. They will indicate my direction or how to get hold of me and when I might return for the vehicle.
D. Leather gloves, decent walking shoes and a towel can be used to protect my hands and clothing when changing a tire and will allow to comfortably walk to safety. I use to wear cowboy style boots when motorcycle riding but found that I could only walk short distances in them especially on uneven ground. A good wool cap because 80% of your body heat is lost through your head. A good gortex jacket also can come in handy by keeping you warm and dry.
E. A real tool kit. I have yet to use a multi tool in an emergency. I’m talking about small knife or scissors to cut rope, a socket set or at least a 18mm socket and whatever wrench fits your battery terminal and jumper cables. 18 mm is usually the lug nut size and with a breaker bar will loosen overly tight air wrenched on lugs roadside. A folding Military Entrenching Tool may come in handy to dig yourself out or defend yourself if things are bad.
Tools to loosen the battery cables in case you don’t have jumper cables so you can swap batteries. If your dies, start your car then give the other battery back. I once used this option to get out of a bad neighborhood during a surveillance in South Florida and was able to drive to an auto parts store for a new battery.
F. Cheap D cell flashlight and traffic safety vest. Can be used to signal help and make you more visible if stranded during night time. Put a piece of black tape over the battery positive connections so it does not corrode. Maybe put a piece of the same tape on the light to remind you about the batteries.
G. Cordage 50 ft of military style Five Fifty cord is best because you can separate the inner strands and get more use out of the rope. A cigarette lighter can be used to burn the ends to keep from fraying.
H. A small cooler (no ice) to carry two bottles of water, 2 packages of granola bars/nuts and a half roll of toilet paper to tide you over should you get stranded but rotate the food items out regularly even weekly for safety. I was always in a habit of carrying an MRE and a small cooler in my patrol car for times when I was stuck at a scene and could not leave.
Make it a habit
Get in the habit of checking these items once a month when your checking vehicle fluids and tire pressures. Remember you have five tires, I can’t count the times I stopped to help a disabled motorist change a tire only to find the spare flat.
Firearms were not mentioned because it is situational depending on the laws where you are. I never liked leaving a weapon in a vehicle overnight for it to be stolen or used against me when I went out to my vehicle.
Triple A and Insurance Roadside assistance is helpful. If you don’t have a cell signal or the location is not safe to remain in then you will need to pull your big boy/girl pants on and save yourself. A disaster is your world coming to an end and you could have prevented it by being a little better prepared.
As always be safe and healthy my friends.