Posted by: taxidrivermom | April 7, 2010

If you had to evacuate right now–

How far would you get? When Hurricane Katrina was headed toward land and the inhabitants of the New Orleans area were told to evacuate, it caused some interesting situations.  Gas station lines and bank lines were extremely long, freeways were clogged and grocery stores were being emptied.  Some people got into their cars and left without food, money or enough gas to get very far.  We heard stories of mothers with crying children because they had no milk or food and no money to purchase them even though they did manage to get out of New Orleans.  Those people actually had a day or so to prepare and leave — what if the word came as it did in Rexburg, ID that the Teton Dam had broken and the water was on its way?  They had minutes, not days or hours, to grab what they could and get to higher ground.

I have often pondered that issue, unfortunately without doing much about it.  I sometimes find myself without milk for breakfast, let alone gas in the car.  It would probably vary from day to day whether I could pick up and make it 200 miles or whether I would be stuck somewhere only a few miles from home.  As I have considered this problem, I have come to the realization that I need to make some new habits:

1)  Fill the gas tank on a regular basis, not just when the fuel light comes on.  I know a tank of gas lasts for about a week in my car.  If I make it a habit to stop at the gas station twice a week, perhaps on Tuesday and Friday and just fill it back up, I should always have at least half a tank — enough to get 150 miles away or more.  It doesn’t cost more to fill up twice a week than once, so why not?  If we did have to leave quickly, we could probably make it to someplace where the gas station lines aren’t so long.  Besides, the experts say that you are less likely to get water condensing in your gas tank if you keep it over half full.

2)  Toss pocket change into a container in the car for emergencies — it could come in handy for gas or food later.

3) Make an emergency car kit with blankets, extra clothing, food, water, flashlights and heat sources — if you think about it it’s not a lot different than getting ready to go camping, just keep it small enough that it can live in your trunk all the time.

4) Keep an emergency cash stash.  If we had enough hidden away to pay for a tank of gas or a motel room, we wouldn’t have to face the line at the bank if we needed to get out quickly or had a family emergency in the middle of the night.

So now that I’ve put this in print, it will be a challenge to me and hopefully to everyone else reading this to make some new preparedness habits.  Full tanks forever!

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