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Last time, we talked about how you can protect your car against disasters by getting the right kind of insurance. Now, some of you may have expected some other sort of advice… Like wrapping your car in bubble wrap or something.
But here’s the thing: as much as we’d try to do everything ourselves and not depend on anyone else, in some cases, that proves to be the costlier option. I could tell you to wrap your car in bubble wrap (which is just an example, obviously), but if you do this, you might realise there’s more money you need to shell out when the disaster is over than by getting an insurance. So why would I give you such advice? It just didn’t seem like the logical thing to do. Instead, I wanted to make sure you don’t get scammed by your insurance company and that you make the most of the money spent.
Today, I’m going to write about a situation where you’re on your own 100%. No insurance company can help you survive if a disaster catches you in your car. But a few clear instructions can help you avoid the deadly mistakes most people make. For example…
#1: Expect that you might be on your own
Calling for help is always a good idea, but in a disaster situation you would need to be prepared to survive on your own. The chance for you to actually get specialized help on time is very slim because hundreds of others are requesting help at the same time.
Try to relax and get yourself to a safe place. That’s the only thing that should be on your mind. Once you’re there, you can check for wounds, you can call your family or turn on your portable radio (which should be in your car at all times, but we’ll talk about the car survival kit later).
#2. Know when to stop driving
As a general rule, if your tank isn’t full, you need to stop driving as soon as you find a safe place to park. This is not the time to test your driving skills, your luck or your belief in God. Just stop the car and stay put, if you want to make sure you’ll ever get home. But even if you’ve got gas to drive to France and back, here’s when you need to stop:
If an earthquake catches you driving, stop your car. The risk of getting crushed under a building or a lighting pole is higher than you imagine. So park your car as soon as you find a clear space, far enough from tall buildings, trees or poles. Stay put, with your head between your knees and wait for the earthquake to stop. Wait for at least 20 minutes after it’s over and only then get out of your car. You can use this time to call your family and friends and make sure they’re alright.
In case of a tornado, don’t try to outrun it. That’s how many people lost their lives. Get to a shelter fast and, if there’s none around, just lay face down in a ditch, your hands over your head.
If you’re caught in a snowstorm, start your car and run the heat for 15 minutes every hour. It’s tempting to let it run constantly, but both your gas and your battery will be gone in no time. So it’s better to endure a little cold, knowing you’ve got the possibility to turn the heat on whenever you want than to freeze to death because you’ve run out of gas and/or your battery’s dead.
#3: Know what to avoid
In case of a flood, the most important rule is: NEVER drive over flowing water, because it’s very hard to estimate how deep it is. According to TheHomeSteadSurvival, it only takes 6 inches to lose control of your car. 1 foot is enough to float most vehicles and two feet will sweep away even trucks and SUVs.
If you’re dealing with a tornado or hurricane, pay attention to flying debris. The best thing to do is park behind a sturdy building and wait in your car until the danger is over.
Also, no matter the disaster, be extra careful about downed power lines.
#4: Know what to pack in your car survival kit
Sometimes, the worst part of being in a car during a disaster is the wait. You found a safe place to park your car, you called your family and they’re all good… now you just have to wait until the danger is over. But when you’re trapped in your car for hours with no food, no water… and you’re dressed in a pair of shorts and t-shirt… one hour may seem like eternity.
And that’s why you need to have these items in your car at all times, just in case:
Two basic medical kits (one in the trunk and one under your seat)
Old Sleeping Bag(s) or Blanket(s)
At Least One Lighter
A flashlight + batteries
A Few Trash Bags
A Small Cook Pot
Packs of Ramen Noodles
At least 1 gal of water
A Soda-Can Stove and a Small Bottle of Rubbing Alcohol
A Duraflame Log
A Can of Gasoline
Bag of Sand or Rock Salt
A charged phone
A portable radio + batteries
#5: Know how to tend to your wounds
If you’re bleeding heavily, feeling severe and/or prolonged pain or have broken bones, it’s time to make that 911 call. In these cases, you can only do the basic: put pressure on a bleeding wound, try not to move and breathe deeply (it helps you soothe the pain). Ask for instructions from the 911 operators and they’ll tell you what you should or should not do.
If you only have a few scratches and superficial wounds, you can use your medical kit to clean and cover the wound. It’s best to keep some painkillers in the kit, as well as a topical antibiotic, to prevent any infections.
Now, if there was only one thing you remembered from this article… that should be “keep calm and don’t try to be a hero”. I keep saying this over and over again, but I think it’s important to remember that you need to be selfish in order to help others. So make sure you’re out of danger first and then check on your family. If you never get back home, how’s that going to help anyone?
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