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Trapped Motorists on I-95 Shows Value of a Car Kit

You need a kit at home, at work and in the car.

And, how about topping off your gas tank before getting on a highway before a winter storm is projected to hit.

Yesterday I went to the local park to do my daily 3-4 mile walk in the morning. I parked, opened the car door and saw that the pavement was a sheet of ice, like a Zamboni had come by to smooth it all out. I stayed in the car and went back home. Those conditions are not made for walking or driving. Blame the state of Virginia if you want, but personal judgment is also part of the equation, as well as individual preparedness. People were trapped on the roadway on I-95 for up to 24 hours.

When I do disaster preparedness presentations, I talk about having disaster kits at home, at work and in the car. For the car I recommend:

  • Put it in a backpack so you can take it with you if you have to leave the car
  • Think about the weather situations you may encounter. Hat, gloves, rain gear, a good pair of walking shoes or boots and extra pairs of socks (as an infantryman, I can assure you the socks are important when walking)
  • Water is more important than food. You can survive a long time without food, but water is necessary for life
  • Put food in the backpack that stores well, is easy to open, and will not melt in the heat. You may like chocolate, but not in a kit
  • Should you have a medical condition, consider putting a few extra pills in the kit so you are not without any at all
  • Might you have to go to the bathroom? Toilet paper, wipes, etc., are nice to have!!
  • Got an infant? Diapers, etc.
  • Got a pet? Plan for them too
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.