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Over a Thousand Motorists Stranded by the Flood: Are You Prepped for Something Like This?

by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

As the waters in Louisiana continue to rise, over a thousand motorists stranded by the flood have been stuck on Interstate 12 for more than 24 hours. Southeast Louisiana has been hard-hit before with flooding, and a decade after Hurricane Katrina, people are still trying to rebuild.

Some families were trying to evacuate, as flood waters crept closer to their homes, while others were going about their day-to-day business. The National Guard has dispatched helicopters to drop food, water, and supplies to the folks who are waiting in their cars for rescue.

Being stranded in your vehicle is not as rare as you might think. A few years back, a freak snowstorm in Georgia and Alabama resulted in a gridlock that left motorists heading home from work stranded in their cars overnight. And in an even more dramatic event, one family was stranded in the frigid wilderness for days after an accident, surviving on what they had with them in their Jeep.

There are several preparedness lessons to be learned from this disaster:

  • Your car kit should see you through at least 48 hours.  Do you have enough water and food that doesn’t require cooking to get your family through an event like this? Do you have a way to keep small children entertained? Go here to see what I keep in my car kit. Yes, it’s extensive, but in a situation like this one, we could last for days without waiting for a helicopter to drop supplies to us.
  • Whenever possible, evacuate before things get this bad.  Timing is everything when it comes to an evacuation. If you get out early, you won’t get stuck in traffic and are less likely to encounter insurmountable hazards. (This is an excellent guide to evacuations.) Of course, you can’t always make it out ahead of the crowd, especially in a situation with conditions that strike suddenly, like wildfire (check out the videos here to see how fast it can happen) or flash floods.
  • Keep your gas tank above 3/4 full.  If you get stranded, you may need to run your vehicle for warmth, to keep the cell phone battery charged, and to listen to news updates. You’ll be glad you kept the tank topped up.

If you were stranded in your car, would you have to wait for supplies to be dropped?

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2 comments to Over a Thousand Motorists Stranded by the Flood: Are You Prepped for Something Like This?

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    This is a lot of very good, common sense for simple “car” preps that would save lives in each situation.

    I always have at least a 6 pak of bottled water, a few tools, fix-a-flat & fire extinguisher, but I often neglect the other important things. I have to clean and “re-provision” my car with the proper preps, both for SUMMER & Winter. Some FOOD preps, etc.

    For winter, I like those cans of “Sterno-chaffing dish gelled alcohol heaters. They are spill proof, yet they will burn for about 2 hours, enough to warm up some food, and warm your HANDS for changing a tire during winter conditions, etc. The LIQUID alcohol chaffing dish heaters, will burn for about 4 hours.

    It doesn’t take any big space to carry a sleeping bag and plastic tarp or roll of plastic sheeting. Duct tape is a must. If you’re stuck several days in your car, and a window is broken, the plastic sheet and duct tape can keep you warmer and dry.

    Keeping out of floods is important. Even though I don’t worry about getting STRANDED in a flooded area, it is NOT expensive to buy an “El CheapOH” inflatable 2 man vinyl raft (sometimes on sale for just $15 or $20.) That’s just the same price as a couple of pizzas. I think I’ll get one for the car, and if I come to some “flood” survival situation, even if I don’t need the raft, I could probably pass it along to some local family for them to get grandma off the roof.

    In a BUG OUT situation, after some kind of DISASTER, it might be COMMON for some BRIDGES to be broken, destroyed, etc, and in THAT case, you swim or you stay, but with a raft, even when the water is deathly cold, you can get across the river. (and if you’ve got a BIKE in your Bug-Out car, you can “raft yourself & your bike” over the river, and then “bike” your way to the next stop. Don’t leave your bugout gear behind.

    The most RARE type of “self rescue” would be climbing down with a ROPE and safety harness.

    But it does happen from time to time. People stuck in a high rise that is damaged…or living in the mountain areas if the road or bridge is out (landslide) etc, somebody may have need to get down there.

    And lastly, I’m thinking about all those people in who were stuck on the highway overpasses during some of those California earthquakes that broke the roads, trapped cars and people etc.

    In a bug out situation, somebody in someplace, will come to the END of the road and need to climb down. Perhaps they’ll need to lower the bike & raft and back pack, and then lower themselves (abandon the car) and continue the trip on food, bike and raft.

    A climbing kit, can be put together, perhaps for less than $150. Rope, harness, carabiners, and other “belay” and climbing, rappelling, descending, climbing devices all add to the price.
    ….Tree trimmers (arborist), line workers and roof workers, tower workers, etc. have this stuff. For anybody who really considers this option, it would also be a great idea to have some rope pulleys, to be able to lower (or lift) a companion to the next level, raise or lower bikes and other gear. Ascenders, descenders, etc. The list of gear is very impressive.

    There are the regular harnesses, for as little as about $35, but if you add a ‘chest harness or chest clip device’, then it will hold the person UPRIGHT without them knowing much of what to do.

    I’ve seen some pretty cool FOLDING grappling hooks (Amazon, Ebay, etc), often used, not just for “Ninjas”, but TREE chopping guys who have to use them to help pull a tree down in the right direction, or lower branches they cut off while they are UP in the tree, but such a thing could be useful to anchor a rope to get down from a bridge, or out of 10 story building.

    Yeah, it’a all a bunch of MOVIE stuff, but in this BIG world of ours, there is always SOMEBODY out there who actually needs this stuff and others who use it every day in their jobs. (firemen who do rescue operations, cavers, mountaineering, and of course, Military training, etc.)

    It’s more common than we ever think about.

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    PS. I forgot about people who have to deal with heavy winter conditions and deep snow.

    I once hitch-hiked from Lake Superior (western Michigan not far from Wisconsin), all the way to Ann Arbor, Michigan during winter time (about 550 miles). When I left, it was getting dark, there was about a foot of snow on the ground, and night time temps would be falling below zero (I was wearing enough layers, snow boots and a great old Army full length coat that was good enough to sleep in a snow bank.)

    In my 30’s, me and wife took up a bit of CROSS COUNTRY Skiing.

    That’s my RECOMMENDATION for people who may be going THRU, or get STUCK in bad snow conditions. Yes, there are snowshoes that are not too expensive, but MOST (not all) conditions can often (not always) be handled very well with Cross country skis (and the high top boots rather than the racing shoes). Hiking several miles on those skis is fun (and great exercise.)

    How about a small, cheap “back packing tent”? (don’t forget to put down the plastic sheeting before you do the tent, or the sleeping bag, because your BODY HEAT will MELT the snow and you’ll get all wet and DIE from freezing.) Push away much of that snow first.

    THere are plenty of LOW priced sleeping bags out there ($20), so buy a couple of them. They’ll eventually get ripped, or you’ll need to double up, or you’ll have a guest.

    Unzip it all the way around and they make a VERY good “Comforter” for a queen sized bed.

    Grab a few of those big “Lawn & Leaf bags”, because they’ll make GREAT sleeping bag cover to keep the rain and snow off as you sleep. Those CONTRACTOR BAGS are SO much STRONGER, that you can carry some heavy stuff in them, or use it for a super rain poncho, etc.

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