Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cold Weather Emergencies Vehicle Safety Kit

Here is my best cold weather tip: Dress for the weather! I can not believe how many Alaskans go out dressed as if they live in Palm Springs. So what if your hair gets a little mussed by a hat? You will look a lot worse with frostbite. That could cost you ears and a nose. It could kill you. 

Many people in Anchorage Alaska do not even own a warm winter coat. This is the kind of stupidity that can ensure that you do not survive and remove your genes from the gene pool. Get a bleeping coat. Wear it.

An incident happened in my neighborhood a couple of days ago. It did not turn into a disaster, but it could have. There was a power outage. This is not always a disaster, but in Alaska in the winter time it can be. 

The power company got the power on within a few hours so it was not a big problem. It happened in a part of my neighborhood that is heavily populated by elderly people. Elders can be more easily affected by cold than younger people, so I was wondering whether I should call the Red Cross to find out if I could help out with the cold weather shelter for the elders.

The power was not off long enough to require a warm shelter for the seniors in the affected area. 
The incident was enough to make me decide that I am going to cover cold weather emergencies sooner than I had planned. 

A neighbor was visiting, who had a home in the area where the power was out. There was a request from home to bring candles since there were no lights. They didn't know where their flashlights were either.

You can save your life and the life of your loved ones by preparing for a cold weather emergency. If you live in a cold climate you need to be prepared for cold weather emergencies. Some of these emergencies may be as simple as a car with a flat tire or a power outage.

Even if you live, you don't need a case of hypothermia or frostbite. That could cause permanent kidney, pancreas, or liver damage. You could also lose fingers, toes, ears, etc. 

A small amount of emergency preparedness can stop injury to your body or those of your loved ones in a cold weather emergency. It could even save your lives.

You need a small go kit in your vehicles so that a break down will not kill you. Broken down vehicles kill many people every year in cold weather. This is something you can easily prevent.

Here is a list of items to have in your car to keep you and your family safer:

• blankets
• first aid kit
• a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for water) I like a tea candle better. Do not do this near the gas tank or spilled oil or gas.
• windshield scraper
• booster cables
• road maps
• mobile phone and spare battery
• compass
• tool kit
• paper towels
• bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow
for added traction around tires)

• tow rope
• tire chains (in areas with heavy snow)
• collapsible shovel
• container of water and high-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
• flashlight and extra batteries
• canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair) They also have cans with sealant  in them to automatically patch punctures.
• brightly colored cloth
This list came from the Center For Disease Control, USA. I made slight additions.

If you have an accident or your vehicle breaks down stay in the vehicle. It is too easy for you to become disoriented in wind-driven snow and cold.
Check to see that your exhaust pipe is not blocked. 

Be sure to turn on your engine for about 10 minutes each hour to get heat inside. Don't forget to open your window a little for fresh air and to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Next make sure you can be seen so you can get help. Tie a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door. Turn on your dome light to be visible in darkness when you run your engine. Once the snow stops falling, raise your hood to show you need help.

Keep your blood circulating; exercise. Move your arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously. This will help you to stay warm and prevent frostbite.

Call for help. Wrap your blankets around you and if someone else is with you, huddle together to stay warm. If you have any extra clothing or fabric in the vehicle, wrap it around you as well to help you stay warmer. Don't forget seat covers for this purpose.

I want to write more about cold weather disaster preparedness.

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