January 21, 2022
Now that most parts of North America are in the depths of winter, facing snowstorms is a reality many of us have to deal with. A recent snowstorm pounded states and provinces along North America’s East Coast including Virginia and as far inland as Ontario. Electricity to homes was cut-off to hundreds of thousands of customers from Maryland to Georgia. Additionally, tens of thousands of motorists were stranded inside their vehicles on highways that were impassable, in some cases for over 24 hours. If you’re prepared for situations like these, they can be horrible but usually not life-threatening. If you’re not prepared for situations like these, they can be life-altering!
While the AAA in the U.S. and the CAA in Canada recommend placing a survival kit in your vehicle just in case of getting caught in an emergency or severe winter conditions, many people fail to do so. We suggest that your survival kit be checked every six months, and expired items should be replaced regularly. Vehicle emergency supply kits should include:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Battery Jumper cables
- Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- A Compass
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, non-latex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits, hard candy and energy or granola type bars
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, extra windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction, and a blanket. A candle and matches or a lighter are also good items to include in your winter emergency kit, but remember, as candles burn, they produce dangerous CO – Carbon Monoxide, so you’ll have to lower a window a bit to allow any CO building up inside your vehicle to escape.
Also, keep in mind that a stationary running vehicle also produces CO so you or someone in your vehicle may have to occasionally dig out the area around your vehicles’ exhaust pipe to allow the exhaust fumes to be blown away as opposed to building up under your vehicle.
It’s also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone.
With the Here I Am App on your phone, in the event you’re stuck in a snowstorm, through the Message Preferences of the app’s settings function the app displays your exact GPS position. This will allow you to advise your family and friends or towing/emergency services exactly where you are even if you’re not exactly in a critical emergency situation at the time. It’s quite possible to get stuck on a snow-covered road anytime during the winter. I know. I’ve been there.
As with all emergencies, timing is critical. With the Here I Am App on your phone, help is just a click away. To discover more about the Here I Am app, visit: www.hereiamapp.com
Here I Am App is available for purchase on Google Play and the Apple App Store for USD$1.99.
Paul Taalman is the creator of the Here I Am app.