I am still stitching away on "At Home with Jane Austen" by The Sampler Girl. It is a pleasure to stitch.
I was stitching on it during cross-country practice
and I miscounted by one thread, so I had to do some frogging.
Well, we are all breathing a sigh of relief that Earl will not impact the Gulf Coast and praying that it stays as far away as possible from the East Coast. The Atlantic is pretty active and it looks like potential storms are just lining up across the tip of Africa.
Having evacuated by car a few times, I can tell you that preparation makes all the difference. Think of your morning commute, leaving 10 minutes early can make a 30 minute difference in your arrival time; did you travel by car with the kids this summer ("Are we there yet?", "He keeps touching me!", "I'm bored."), any annoyance you may have felt will be magnified 200% when you are in an emergency instead of vacation.
An emergency, such as a hurricane, gives you advance notice and you have a few days to make a plan. However, in the event of a tornado, forest fire, chemical spill (highway, railway or plant), earthquake or terrorist attack, you will have no time to plan. Your family may be scattered across town at work and school. If you do not have a plan, you may not only waste precious time, you may be putting yourselves in greater danger.
Plan what you will do if you are separated during an emergency.
- Choose two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire, earthquake or tornado
- Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out of area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing and programmed into their cell phones. Make sure your emergency contact person knows your emergency plan.
- Where will you go and how will you get there - Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. Be aware of any evacuation plans enforced by your local government (if I wait for the mandatory evacuation to be issued, I have to take an alternate route). You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary. You may need to make your hotel reservation days in advance to be able to stay in the location you prefer.
- If you can, leave early. This is especially important if you live near a large city or if there are few travel routes from your location. Traffic will be very heavy. Would you rather leave work a half day early and arrive at your destination within 2 or 3 hours or spend 12 hours in bumper to bumper traffic going 5 - 10 miles per hour?
- Drive your planned evacuation route, if it is unfamiliar to you, and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Do this in advance and keep a copy of the map in every family car.
- Keep your tank full, in case of an emergency there will not be time to stop for gas. Keep all your other fluids (oil, radiator, etc.) topped up, as well.
- Keep your car in working order, you do not want to break down during an evacuation - tow trucks may be unavailable or may take hours to reach you.
- Keep an "emergency kit" in your car:
- clean water for overheated radiators (do not put cold water into an overheated radiator - you will have a bigger problem)
- a quart of oil (more if you tend to have oil leaks)
- tape to repair broken hoses
- jumper cables
- a good jack
- an inflated spare (have you ever tried to change you tire and found a flat spare?)
- if you can change your "bicycle" spare to a full size spare, I highly recommend it
- camera - in case of an accident, you can take photos of the scene and damage, exchange information and move on, do not hold up traffic, local law enforcement will have better things to do than respond to a "fender bender" and it could take an hour or more before they can get to you
- snacks and water for the passengers
- books and quiet toys for children
- be prepared to turn off DVD players, a/c, CD, etc. if they are causing your car to overheat or draining your battery - driving 5 - 10 miles an hour for hours on end is hard on a car's engine
- rain gear (stash a few rain ponchos from the Dollar Tree in the glove box)
- if you have kids, make an emergency "potty" plan - if you have boys, an empty, large mouth jar with a tight fitting lid will do, if not, consider a potty chair or a camping toilet or a "pot" -- believe me, you will not want to pull over and they will have to go eventually
- poster/cardboard and a thick marker - in case you have to abandon your car leave your name & number on the dash or if you have to make a sign (Need gas/jumper cables/ etc.) to solicit help from fellow drivers
- Think of your last car trip vacation - what items were the most helpful or what do you wish you had thought to bring?