Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Emergency Preparedness On The Road

With the month of November winding down, I knew it was time to take a drive through Kananaskis Country located in the southern Alberta Rockies, and in particular over the Highwood Pass before the winter gates located at either end were locked down for the winter on December 1st.

It seems to have become a tradition for me to do this, and I have lost count how many times I have made the drive from Calgary through the Highwood Pass at this time of the year. Of course I had another reason to visit the Highwood Pass, as I had it on good authority that there had been Ptarmigan spotted in the area surrounding the pass recently, a popular staging area with hikers in the summer, and back-country skiers and snowshoers at this time of the year.

 One of the most popular trails in Kananaskis Country is the Ptarmigan Cirque trail located higher up above the Highwood Pass. I have hiked the cirque many times with my family in the past, and although the landscape in the cirque is quite stark, the views are superb and the hike may be one of the most popular in Kananaskis Country.
Of course it goes without saying that when I head down the road, I have my mobile loaded with all the essentials to keep me safe while visiting less populated areas such as the mountain parks at this time of the year. If it is required that I spend the night away from home for whatever the situation, I am prepared, as I carry all the required gear that will keep me safe if I become stranded.
 If you have visited my website, and in particular my VE6AB ham radio galleries, you know that I have written about what you should have available to keep you and your family safe when a natural disaster or some other emergency should occur.
Besides a very well equipped survival kit, I also have my go-kit (72 hr. kit) with me whenever I am away from home. If your not familiar with a 72 hour kit, it allows you to evacuate quickly if a emergency or disaster should strike. It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such as my go-kit described here.

The recommendation that a emergency go-kit contain enough supplies for seventy-two hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy-two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help. The kit contents may vary according to the region of the user, as someone evacuating from the path of a hurricane may have different supplies from someone who lives in an area prone to tornadoes, wildfires, or blizzards that may occur throughout our winter months.
The suggested contents of a emergency go-kit vary, but the following essentials are included in my go-kit, although there is more that I carry in my mobile, not listed here, although what I have listed would serve you well in any emergency situation.

So here are what I feel are the essentials....enough food and water to last for 72 hours. This includes water for washing, drinking and cooking. The recommendation is for 2 to 3 litres per person per day for drinking plus an additional 2 litres per person per day for cleaning and hygiene (I use a 10 liter Scepter military water can for my needs).
Non-perishable food
Water purification supplies, such as a water filter pump included in my go-kit ( I also carry Iodine tablets as a back-up to my water filtration pump.)
Cooking supplies ( I have several choices for stoves, gas powered and otherwise)
A first aid kit ( choose the size required for your group )
Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
Fire starting tool ( matches, ferrocerium rod, lighter, etc.)
Map and compass, with travel information ( a gps receiver is nice, but back it up with a compass and map.)
Weather appropriate clothing ( parka, headwear, gloves, winter boots, etc.)
Bedding items such as sleeping bags ( bags rated for at least -25C if you are travelling in the winter months in Alberta.)
Battery or crank-operated radio ( also, if a ham, a full compliment of ham gear )
Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks)
Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation
Positive identification, such as drivers license, a birth certificate and/or passport.
Fixed-blade and folding knife, as well as a camp hatchet or small axe.
Duct tape and rope/paracord
Wire for binding and repairing things
Plastic tarps for shelter and water collection
I could make due for several weeks or longer with my go-kit, and indefinitely with a extra 20 minutes of preparation before heading out. I always keep my go-kit in my vehicle, so that I have it along with me for the times that it may be required.
 I also carry food-stuff in my go-kit, and stored in a military waterproof container as shown in the photos, and in the winter months such as now, a full complement of clothing required for survival when the unexpected happens and your stranded. I also carry a combination folding shovel/pick axe, as well as a snow shovel that packs away until needed, and a snow saw for building snow shelters.
If your someone new to assembling your first emergency go-kit, it can seem like a arduous task. Everybody you read about has been tweaking theirs for months or even years and has built up a pile of gear. It may be hard for you to know where to start, but if you cover all of the basics with a go-box such as the one I have described here, you will still be much better off while out and about, than 99% of the people out there.

 I have other options available to me while going down the road that can help me or others out in an emergency, or while connecting from a remote location.  Some of these options stored in my mobile include multiple AGM batteries, several solar panels, remote 12 VDC power-pack, 25' push-up mast with antennas, various transceivers including VHF APRS and HF APRS capability that on this day were keeping me connected to the APRS Network and on the map, while all the while, my cell-phone had no service.

So bottom line is, when you plan on travelling down roads less travelled, don't leave home un-prepared, but be prepared should the un-expected arise.

NOTE....all the photos expand
My website..... www.jerryclement.ca

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