The First 3 – the 3 hour prep: Stranded on the Road
If you have been moving through our previous articles, we have talked about the 3-3-3-3-3. Again, I know it would have been cooler to have only three 3s but… In this blog we are going to talk about another type of three-hour crisis – being stranded on the road. It could be due to weather, road blockage, or your vehicle getting immobilized (but no one was seriously injured). The assumption this time is you are with your vehicle which is still intact but not mobile.
In “The Emergency Kit” blog we talked about what to have in your bug out bag – I will assume you have put that together and it is with you in the vehicle. In addition to your spare tire and jack, you may include some other tools in your vehicle that may assist you in making some common repairs but we will develop those contingencies later. In this case, you are 10 miles or more from assistance without direct comms or assistance will not arrive for at least three hours. I will not talk about a vehicle crash yet but you should have a more extensive first aid kit in your vehicle.
Sustenance should not be an issue for this short duration scenario (other than water – it is always a good idea to have at least one bottle of water with you in the car) but Shelter might be. Your vehicle can keep you out of the wind and rain but might not be so good at retaining heat. So let’s add a Mylar blanket, a Bivvy bag, heavy blanket or sleeping bag to our list of things that should be in our vehicle, particularly if you live in the northern parts of the country or in the mountains.
If you did not advise someone of your travel plans / there is no one that knows when you might arrive safely or more importantly if you don’t arrive, to start looking for you (hint – you should have advised someone of your travel plans), then you need to plan to have to walk to the nearest location where you can get a tow truck or at least call for help. In these days of Google Maps and GPS built into your cell phones, don’t forget to have a map of your area in the car. It is a quick reference to help you determine where you are and what is the closest way to assistance.
Put out markings on the road shoulder so if someone does happen along, they will see you are in need of assistance. Use can your flashers if you have enough battery power. If you have the triangular reflective panels in your trunk or flares, you can use these. Chemlites last longer than flares but if you have nothing, you can cut some branches from nearby using the knife from your emergency kits and do a makeshift tripod. Nothing fancy just has to be out of the ordinary so someone would slow down and stop to inquire. Additionally, this might prevent someone from slamming into your stopped vehicle.
If weather conditions permit, you may have to walk for help. If you are not alone, consider your options before you split up. Each element needs to be able to link back up with the other element so brief your contingency plan to the other party (how long you will be gone, what to do if you don’t make it back on time).
You should have included clothing appropriate for your environment in the car even if you were just going to a dinner party. Cold weather gear for cold weather, rain gear for rainy weather, some decent walking shoes / hiking boots for all weather. Since this is only a 3-hour scenario, if you are going to be walking along a road to get assistance, you should have a reflective belt or a chemlite or a flashlight to insure that drivers of other vehicles see you from a distance.
At this point, you may be in for a three-hour hike which harkens back to our discussion of prepping habits (which included hiking).
Review: you have your bug out bag with you and some additional gear in the car such as
-Tools for common repairs including a gallon jug water
-A local map
-A more extensive first aid kit
-A emergency mylar blanket, a Bivvy bag or heavy blanket
-Devices to mark your car / signals
-Appropriate clothing for the weather
Car is being maintained, spare tire and jack are serviceable (maybe a fix a flat for temporary repairs)
Emergency gear is loaded in the car (blanket, weather appropriate attire, signal devices, maps)
Family or friends are aware of your travel plans
Assess the situation – what is your primary course of action?
Decision point – stay with vehicle or move to get help?
If someone is separating from the group – brief the contingency plan:
- Where you are going
- How long you will be gone
- What they should do if you don’t get back in time
- What you will do if you can’t get back in time
Go for assistance or…
Wait for assistance
Prepare for follow on operations
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