Sunday, July 19, 2015

Preparing for the (Completely) Unexpected

Occasionally I drive back and forth from Vegas to LA.  With each trip, I am prepared for the usual stuff and go through a checklist in my head just to be sure that the most common situations I am likely to encounter are either completely mitigated or could be handled with a maximum of forethought and a minimum of drama.

Among the situations that I am likely to encounter: broken down car (I always make sure my vehicle is in excellent working order), run out of gas (I make sure the gas tank is full before I leave), traffic back ups (I have food, water, and basic survival supplies in my vehicle in case we get to wait by the side of the freeway for an extended period of time), medical emergency (I have a basic first aid kit, first aid skills, and ensure any passengers are in adequate health to travel), tire blowout (I also ensure my tires are in good condition), and vehicle crash (I drive defensively, have a safe vehicle, and try not to travel at peak times).

Among the situations that never crossed my mind to prepare for until a couple of days ago...being on the freeway and having my vehicle devoured by an out of control wildfire.  That was a new one.

A new one which will be added to my preparedness arsenal in the off chance such a situation ever happens to me.  Here's some new precautions:

  • In addition to checking the weather report before traveling, I will also find out about other newsworthy events in the area I will be traveling through (such as wildfires, manhunts, etc)
  • My emergency supplies will be condensed into a backpack instead of neatly arranged in containers in the trunk in the event that I need to grab all my supplies and abandon my vehicle
  • I will keep my cell phone charged and not rely on charging it in my vehicle in case I end up leaving my vehicle behind
  • I will toss an AM/FM radio in with my emergency supplies, again so I can listen to emergency updates in the event that I am not able to listen to the vehicle's radio
  • I will prepare for sheltering outside of my vehicle (ie: bringing a source of shade/rain cover and a way to set it up instead of planning to use my vehicle for sheltering)
Each new and/or unusual disaster brings the opportunity to add to your preparedness skills.  Think "what if" in these situations and run though what additional things you would need to do in the event that you were to encounter a similar situation.


  1. My wife and I started carrying a back pack with our supplies in it several years ago. Our concern was the same as yours - we would need to abandon our vehicle.

    We adjust then each season to make sure we have the right clothes in them.

  2. With that area in mind, and given the time of year. Making sure ALL the fluids are topped off and you have extra coolant especially. I used to drive down from Utah to LA on a pretty regular basis. One thing I would add is an extra fire extinguisher. Used to count the vehicle shaped burn marks along the side of the road from Barstow to Las Vegas. Actually pulled one guy out of his van one time.

  3. Both excellent ideas--thanks for the input.