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?
None of these steps take a whole lot of money or effort. Go to your pantry right now and choose some supplies to add to your vehicle. It can’t hurt, and it could possibly make a miserable experience a lot less unpleasant.