Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Disaster Proof Your Ride

Posted on May 24, 2013 in Disaster Preparedness


When we think about preparing for a disaster — gathering an emergency kit, food, water and other supplies — most of us think about preparations for our home. But it’s wise to also prepare your vehicle for an emergency. To make sure your car is ready in an emergency, follow these tips from Deborah Tauscher, emergency preparedness coordinator at Mills-Peninsula, and Jim Schweikhard, health and safety manager for Sutter Health’s Peninsula Coastal Region.

Don’t Run on Empty

Did you know that disaster preparedness experts recommend never letting your vehicle’s fuel dip below half tank? Many of us let our vehicles run until the gas tank in nearly empty. But in the case of a disaster, you may be forced to evacuate the area at a moment’s notice. In the panic of a mass exodus, finding an operational gas station without long lines could delay your exit from the area and put you in harm’s way.

Get a Vehicle Emergency Kit

Vehicle emergency/safety kits should not only contain safety items for the vehicle, but also a change of clothes, water poncho and comfortable, sturdy shoes. You can purchase pre-assembled vehicle safety kits that contain emergency lighting (flashlight with extra batteries or warning lights), jumper cables, reflector triangle, flares, tire gauge, foam tire sealant and “help” signs. Remember to familiarize yourself with these items before an emergency strikes.

Maps and Extra Supplies

Although satellite-powered GPS devices are common nowadays in cars, they may be inoperable in an emergency. Always keep an old-fashioned paper map in the glove compartment, along with a print out of all your emergency phone numbers, including a roadside assistance number. Other handy emergency supplies for your vehicle include: cell phone and charger, a first aid kit, sun block, lip balm, tissues, wet wipes (rotate regularly they will dry out), paper towels, gloves (vinyl and work), duct tape, a space blanket, drinking water (rotate frequently), whistle, tow rope, auto spot light and non-perishable snacks. Another handy addition is a multi-tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, which includes a knife, screwdriver and scissors.

Keep Up Basic Maintenance

Just like keeping your tank filled, basic vehicle upkeep will help to avoid the Murphy’s Law of “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Don’t get caught with bald and improperly inflated tires, old wiper blades, burned out tail lights or headlights. Neglected car maintenance can put us at risk on the best of days, not to mention when disaster strikes. Stay safe in the day-to-day as well as when the unexpected occurs.

Enjoy the ride!