Friday, February 24, 2012

4 Shelter In Place Vehicle

Since we never know when a disaster will happen, it is possible that you could be in your vehicle when you are told that you must shelter in place. During many emergencies you will not have time to go somewhere else before you shelter in place. That could mean that you will have to shelter in place in your vehicle.

Part of your emergency preparedness means preparing your vehicle. This information on shelter in place in a vehicle came from the CDC, but they seem to have gotten it from the Red Cross (I have slightly revised it to make it easier to understand):

Learn How to Shelter in Place

In a Vehicle
American Red Cross logo Taking shelter in a vehicle may be an uncomfortable experience, particularly in hot 
or cold weather. It beats exposing yourself to chemical or radiological contaminants outside your vehicle. Having a portable disaster supplies kit in your vehicle could make the experience less unpleasant.

The appropriate steps depend on the emergency situation. If you hear a warning signal, listen to local radio or television stations for further information. You will be told what to do, including where to find the nearest shelter if you are away from your "shelter-in-place" location.
  1. If you are very close to home, your workplace or a public building, go there immediately and go inside. Follow the "shelter-in-place" recommendations for that location. (I just posted about sheltering in place in your home and sheltering in place for your workplace is next.)
  2. If you are unable to get indoors quickly and safely, then pull over to the side of the road. Stop your vehicle in the safest place possible. If it is sunny outside, it is preferable to stop under a bridge or in a shady spot to avoid being overheated.
  3. Turn off the engine.
  4. Close windows and vents.
  5. If possible, seal the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning vents with duct tape or anything else you may have available. (That means stuff them with tissues or paper if that is what you have.)
  6. Listen to the radio periodically for updated advice and instructions. (Modern car radios don't take much battery power and should not affect your ability to start your car later.)
  7. Stay where you are until you are told it is safe to get back on the road. Be aware that some roads may be closed or traffic detoured. Follow the directions of law enforcement officials.

Supplies for your vehicle could include:

  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods such as granola bars. (The special emergency rations bars are pretty awful to eat, kind of like sugary sand.)
  • Seasonal supplies: Winter - blanket, hat, mittens, shovel, sand, tire chains, windshield scraper, florescent distress flag; Summer - sunscreen lotion (SPF 15 or greater), shade item (umbrella, wide brimmed hat, etc). (Don't forget any other seasonal weather gear for your area.)
  • Flashlight, extra batteries, and maps.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • White distress flag. (Those "Need Help" windshield covers are good too.)
  • Tire repair kit, booster/jumper cables, pump, and flares. (I think you need something to keep yourself occupied like knitting, games or reading material. It will help save your sanity. Sitting with nothing to do but worry, cooped up in a vehicle doesn't strike me as a good way to spend your time.)

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