Monday, January 15, 2018

Preparedness On the Go

It seems like we spend a lot of time on the go - commuting to work, school, church, shopping, and so forth.  For many of us, our cars seem like a second home, we spend so much time in them. When the time comes to bug-out, most of us will depend on our vehicles to get us out of danger. Here are some ideas and tips for preparedness on the go:

1- When traveling long distances or short, it is best to let someone know where you are going, what route you plan to take, and when you expect to arrive or come back. That way, if something goes wrong, folks can more quickly realize you have "gone missing" and have some idea where to start looking for you.

2- Be sure to keep your cell phone charged, and keep a phone charger in your vehicle.

3- Keep your vehicle in good repair. Perform all routine maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure your tires and brakes are in good condition, and all your headlights, taillights and directional signals are working. Drive safely, and practice defensive driving. Pay attention to the road. Don't drive distracted (no talking on a cell phone or texting while driving). Doing these things will make you less likely to get in a wreck, break down, or get a ticket. It will also mean your bug-out vehicle will be ready when you really need it to be.

Check out my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule.  

4- Keep your gas tank topped off. I rarely let mine drop to even the halfway mark. It is also a good idea to keep some gas safely stored at home. I keep five 5-gallon gas cans safely stored on my property away from my house. Remember to keep your gas fresh by rotating every few months. Consider getting a portable fuel filter, for reasons I outlined in a recent article.

5- Keep a pair of jumper cables and/or a car battery charger in your vehicle. Make sure all drivers in your family know how to use them.

6- Make sure you have a good spare tire in your vehicle, along with all tools you need with it.  Make sure all drivers know how to change a flat tire. There's a great commercial that used to run on TV, showing a teenage girl by herself changing a tire on her car in an empty parking lot at night. The camera then swings back showing Dad standing twenty feet away watching, not helping or doing it for her. Be that Dad.

7- Consider a can of Fix-a-Flat for quick use in an emergency. Fix-a-Flat is NOT a long-term fix, and can actually damage your tire and rim if used for an extended period. It may also void your warranty if the tire is still under warranty. But, better a damaged tire and voided warranty, than getting stuck in a bad neighborhood/situation.

8- All drivers should know how to check the oil level, and how to add extra oil if needed. Same for transmission fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant, and other fluids.

9- Its a good idea to always keep an overnight bag packed and ready to go at a moments notice in case you ever need to evacuate your home on short notice (approaching wildfire, nearby chemical spill, and so on). Peppers and survivalists typically call this "bugging out" and put together "bug out bags" that can be quite extensive. 

Non-preppers should at least pack a change of clothes, personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), some snack food (possibilities: packs of seeds & nuts, peanut butter crackers, energy/protein bars), and a couple of bottles of water for each person.
Other items you might consider: a small first aid kit, a compact emergency survival kit (see my article on putting one together), a good blanket, a road map of your area, a three-day supply of any prescription medications. an extra pair of eyeglasses, and a good multi-tool.

10- If your typical footwear is dress shoes, high heels, sandals, or flip-flops, I suggest you keep a pair of more practical athletic shoes or hiking boots in you vehicle, for when you need them.

11- Maps, a road atlas, and written directions to possible destinations in an emergency (Grandma's house, Uncle Fred's place, etc.) are a good idea. Smart phones, Google maps, and GPS may be temporarily (or permanently) down. Here's an idea many folks haven't thought of: keep a 4-way sillcock key in your vehicles and bug-out bags. They are small and inexpensive, so get one for each vehicle and BoB. Sillcock keys are used to open water spigots on commercial buildings, and at parks & golf courses. Get access to water that you otherwise wouldn't be able to get.

13- Always practice situational awareness when you are on the go. Watch what is going on around you and be aware of possible problems and threats. Be wary of people who look out-of-place, are loitering, or who act nervous. Before getting out of a car or walking out of a building, look out a window first to identify possible dangers.Park in well-light, highly visible areas.

14- Avoid dangerous neighborhoods and sections of town. Travel, walk, shop in groups. Park in a highly visible, well-light location near the entrance to minimize chances of ambush & muggings. Don't make yourself a target by wearing expensive, flashy clothes & accessories, or driving an expensive luxury car. Don't make yourself a target by appearing easy-prey - instead wear practical clothes, and walk confidently, head up. 

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