Be Prepared!

Seattle Snowstorm

Seattle Snowstorm 2010

It happened to me! I was caught in a snow storm and was stuck on a six mile stretch of interstate for nine hours.

Every year I travel to Seattle, Washington to the VA Hospital there for an Annual evaluation to see if my Spinal Cord Injury has changed in any way. I decided to drive this year since it was during thanksgiving week and my mom lives near there. My kids got to spend time with their grandma as I and my dog went up to my appointment.

I took my own advice and made up an emergency bag for my car. Here is a list of what I had in it:

  • Water,
  • Eight Backcountry Bars,
  • Rope,
  • Bungee cords,
  • A spotlight,
  • Flashlight,
  • Led lantern,
  • Tools
  •  – three different style of pliers,
  •  – Philips and flat screwdrivers,
  •  – utility knife,
  •  – crescent wrench,
  •  – a tube of goop,
  • Winter gloves, and
  • A small blanket.


It was so nice to have! Yet there are some points that need to be addressed with my kit.

First I think that more water is necessary. I had about 1 liter of water for both me and my dog for nine hours. We were both still thirsty but we had enough to sustain us. And since I ate one of the Bars I was thirstier, but if the time is long enough it is a given that you will be eating. I think that I should have had a whole gallon of water. It should be a gallon of water per person and if you have pets, don’t forget them either.

Another interesting thing is that if you are traveling in a car you should keep the fuel above half a tank at all times. I had just under half (1/2) of a tank at the beginning of my nine hour trip and had to start rationing it a couple of hours into the wait. I would wait until it was cold in the car and then start it, run the heater for a while and turn it back off again. There were other people who ran out of gas as they waited.

Since I am in a wheelchair I could not “walk” out of the situation or even go for help if I really needed it; so I stayed in my car and ate my bars, drank my water and waited. I called my wife every hour to tell her of my progress as she was quite worried. A cell phone is also something that should be accessible to you even if it can only dial 911.

If you have a disability, Please make your emergency kit! You never know when you may need it, and it is usually unexpected, but having it may save your life! Don’t forget extra medical supplies if you need them (medicine, catheters, extra warm clothes, etc)

Stay Safe!


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