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FREE Resource – Highway Maps

25 Apr

Get FREE state maps for your car or BOBs! (Image credit: Castillo Dominici)

This is going to be another short post, but I wanted to let you all know about an awesome idea that I

heard recently. I’m sure you know that your local DMV has free highway maps available at the counter, but did you know that almost every state will send these maps to you – for FREE – if you request them online?

Highway maps are great for people (like me!) who live  near the border of several states, or for people who plan to be traveling a fair distance if they have to evacuate during an emergency. If you live in North Carolina and your family is in Kansas, will you be able to find your way if the GPS satellites are down?

Here is the link to the database organized by state. The listings were updated just a few days ago, so the information is kept quite current. I ordered 5 or so maps, and I’ve already received them all! Now I’ll be covered regardless of which evacuation route I take….and that’s a good feeling.

TIP: Store your maps in a gallon-sized plastic bag in your grab-and-go pack. They’ll be protected from the elements and they’ll be grouped together so you don’t have to waste time searching through your pack in an emergency.

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Exercise Two: Building a Specific Plan

11 Apr

Your evacuation route may be full - come up with several alternatives.

By now, you’ve spent a day or so thinking about potential catastrophes that might occur where you live. The next step is only slightly more labor-intensive, but when you’re done you’ll be  more prepared than most Americans to handle an emergency!

Review your list from Exercise One.  For each circled item, consider:

  • If this event were to occur, would I evacuate the city or stay in my apartment?
  • If I evacuate, what route would I take? What if that route is blocked? What should I take with me? Where will I go, and how long will I stay there?
  • What will I do if I must evacuate quickly and with little warning? What will I take with me?
  • If I stay in the city, how long will the emergency last? Will I have electricity and running water? How will I protect my apartment from potential looters?
  • What if I am away from my apartment when a disaster occurs? Will I return to my apartment or my car? Will I run away? What should I take with me?

Once you have thought through these questions, begin writing down your specific plans for each of the four or five circled emergencies. You can use this printable pdf if you would like! Write down:

  • Whether you will evacuate or hunker down.
  • How long the crisis might last.
  • Which resources you will need to survive.
  • Where you should store these resources (i.e. if you evacuate, store food and water in the trunk of your car).

Also write down at least two evacuation routes, regardless of whether or not you plan to leave the city when disaster strikes. Remember, you may not have a choice.

Now stick that paper in your 3-ring binder and call it a day! Next time we’ll begin filling your binder with important documents so they’re not left behind during a short-notice evacuation.

Do you feel better now that you have a solid plan?

Extra credit: Locate personal documents such as your Social Security Card, birth certificate, marriage license, passport, etc. If you would like, buy tabbed dividers for your 3-ring binder.

Car Safety Tools

10 Apr

This morning I tweeted about window breakers. Have you seen those before? They look like small hammers, but their tip is specially designed to break through car windows in case of emergency.  If your door was jammed and you needed to get out of your car, a window smasher could save your life. They often come with seatbelt cutter blades, making them multi-purpose safety tools.

I keep a large window breaker (like this) in my car, but I also have a small one on my key chain in case I ever run into trouble while riding with someone else.  I LOVE the mini one because it detaches from your key ring with only a sharp tug, so you can use it even while your keys are in the ignition. This was actually a Christmas present from my grandma…she’s so smart!

Do you have a window smasher in your car?

Do you own a mini one too?