Hundreds of people have been stranded on I-95 for over 16 hours now, due to snow. The good news is that Tim Kane is among them, and that confirms that there is a God in Heaven and that He has a sense of humor.
What is absolutely amazing to me, though, is the complaints those people are hurtling along social media. They are complaining about the inaction of Governor Youngkin, who is not, in fact, the Governor. Regardless of who the Governor is, I’m not sure that stopping the snow from falling is within their ability. Why do people blame the governor for WEATHER?
There are tons of complaints about how the government should be bringing them food and water and doing SOMETHING, although none of them seem quite able to explain what could actually be done. We’ve drifted so far that people believe that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of them. That’s a dangerous spot to put yourself in.
If only someone had warned them. Oh, never mind, the government and media DID warn them for 3 days that bad weather was coming. They still did nothing and expected someone to rescue them.
I have two favorite pieces of wisdom from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook that apply here, and while I share them regularly, clearly, they need to be shared again:
The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
…then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head.
Both point to the same point: YOU are responsible for your own safety, and YOU need to heed the warnings. First, if you live in an area prone to snow, you should have basic items ready (we will discuss below) December through March (Yes, in Michigan we get significant snow well into April). Second, in our information-saturated society, there is literally no one to blame but yourself if you got on the road unprepared, knowing that a winter storm was coming. Stop counting your likes and narrating your life on Facebook and check the weather once in a while.
Basic Vehicle Preparedness Kit
Year round, you should keep some basic items in your car in case of an emergency. These are year-round items that will serve you well in any emergency.
- Small air compressor – To inflate low tires.
- Water – You should always have water available. Rotate every 6 months.
- Food – Some granola bars, in addition to backpacking food or canned food.
- Tarp – A tarp can be used as an emergency shelter or a ground cloth while changing a tire.
- Wet Wipes – Myriad of uses.
- Wet Weather Gear: I keep a set of Gore-Tex (pants and jacket) in the car.
- Fire Extinguisher – Alway helpful if needed.
- Gloves – A pair of sturdy work-type gloves.
- Light Source – Flashlight or re-chargeable lantern.
- Power Inverter – Can be used to recharge your laptop or power other devices.
- Battery Power Bank – Always keep a charged power bank in the car.
- Change of Clothes – Especially if your work clothes are not conducive to life in the elements. I keep a set of sturdy, outdoors-style clothes in earth tones in the car.
- Boots/Better Shoes – Ladies, Franco Sarto’s are not for hiking. Keep a pair of sturdy boots or good walking shoes in the trunk.
- First Aid Kit – Always needed.
- Paper maps – Paper maps of your state or area are a must. Your phone battery will die, and you might be somewhere with no signal.
- Signaling – Flares or chem-lights to let you be found in the dark.
While this makes a great starter kit, in the winter, we want to add a few items into the kit.
Winter Vehicle Kit
- Blanket – Either a wool blanket or a poncho-liner, but why not both?
- Additional Warmth Layers – Extra items like long underwear or sweaters in the vehicle can literally be a life saver. The US Military Extended Cold Weather Clothing System is a favorite of mine and we taxpayers paid millions in research money to develop it, so you might as well take advantage of that.
- Thermal Tarp – They make tarps with a reflective surface on one side to keep you warmer. You can find them with either bright colors for rescue, or camouflage for concealment on the other side.
- Signal Panel – This is one of those fancy insider words us veterans use to sound all cool & high-speed, but it’s really just a large orange flag that you can put out to draw attention to your location. You can find orange safety flags for under $5 at Home Depot and Lowes.
- Warm Socks – Keep a pair of thick socks in the car. Cold, wet feet lead to hypothermia.
- Extra Food – In the winter, you need extra calories to stay warm.
- Cooler – Keeping your food and water in a cooler in the wintertime will prevent it from freezing.
- Fire Kit – Keep a kit of fire-making supplies in the car. Never make a fire in the car (I know, but someone will try, and I had to say it).
- Shovel – Some type of small, foldable shovel can help if you’re stuck, if you need to build a shelter, or if you have…biological needs.
- Book – Having something to occupy your mind while awaiting rescue can calm you and prevent a lot of stress.
- Extra Gloves/Hat – Keep spares in the car.
In addition to supplies, have a communications plan. Ensure that someone else knows your plans any time you are on the road during winter weather. That way, if you don’t arrive or check in, they have a rough idea of where to send help.
For those more advanced in preparedness, an FCC Amateur Radio or GMRS license can give you another method of calling for help. CB radio, which is still in use, doesn’t require a license and you can almost always reach truckers on Channel 19 if you need help. If using a handheld CB radio, make sure to get outside of the vehicle. If needed, walk to the highest point you can see for better range.
Aside from vehicle preparedness, have general preparedness supplies for winter. As an example, do you have a white or snow camo poncho to wear? Do you have some type of winter camouflage pack cover? Food for thought…
Pay attention to the weather and stock your car appropriately, and you’ll be self-reliant, rather than at the mercy of the State. It’s freedom, and they hate that.
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Winter is Coming.
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