Emergency Preparedness on the Trail

Grant has asked me to write a short column on emergency preparedness and what I take with me when I  leave the beaten path.

Okay…first a little bit about me.

I am an old Boy Scout,  US Navy veteran, and I was a commercial Bus driver. Now I’m a Volunteer Fireman/EMT  and a Wildland Fire EMT-F, so I have a little experience.

But the following is only “my opinion” don’t take this as gospel do your research. CYA!

My first bit of advice … everything comes down to the 6 P’s “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”.  You are welcome to quote me on that.

Emergencies or “Oh shits” is actually a huge topic so I’m going to break it down into it’s components as I see them.

The questions are:

What’s likely to happen?
How to prevent bad thing from happening.
How to prepare for bad things happening them?
What can you do something about?
When are you just SOL?

What’s likely to happen?

The way I figure … it comes down to the three major categories: mechanical, medical, and environmental.

Today let’s tackle mechanical.

I am in no way a mechanic or an expert on Subarus. I keep my car in the best mechanical shape I can afford. If I can’t do the work myself  it’s done at the dealership because they know what the hell they’re doing … that way I prevent mechanical problems as much as possible.  My 09 Forester has over 105,000 miles on it and so far it hasn’t let me down.  I carry a full size spare on my roof rack so I have a lot room in the  donut hole under the rear lid to carry a lot of this stuff but not all of it.  Just in case  I carry the following,
Fire extinguisher
Basic tools set:
– Real simple metric sockets
-crescent wrench
-screwdrivers
-pliers
-set of Allen wrenches
-Box Cutter
Wire cutters electrical tape and extra wire
Jumper cables
Floor jack
Full size tire iron
Emergency triangles and Road flares
Leather gloves
A full set of replacement light bulbs including headlights, turn signals, and a whole bunch of fuses.
Three cans of Fix a Flat
Motor oil
Replacement air filter
A portable jumpstart/ compressor unit from Costco
Roll of duct tape
2 ton come-a-long
Tow strap
Good quality LED flashlight and extra batteries
GI folding Shovel  (get a real one, the all the rest are crap)
Toilet paper
Bunch of MRE’S
Case of water

I also carry an extensive first aid/BLS kit and camping supplies but that’s for another day.

Don’t get the idea that I drive around in blissful ignorance; I know the chances of something happening that I can actually fix are slim.  So I’m covered for very minor electrical problems a flat tire and maybe just maybe minor mechanical.  And because of the water, MREs, shovel, and toilet paper I’m okay for several days if I get stranded.

emergency preparedness

The come-a-long, tow strap, and shovel might help if I get stuck,but we drive Subarus so that’s pretty unlikely. Unless you think your Subaru is a rock crawler and Mudder, then you’re probably going to get yourself stuck.

My second piece of advice “know your equipment”.  Practice with it before you need it. The time to read instructions is not “when the feces is hitting the rotating oscillator”.

Okay that’s enough for now next topic medical.

One thought on “Emergency Preparedness on the Trail”

  1. This is an awesome, thorough list! Thank you. I see a lot of your firefighter in this, esp the train on your equipment part! That’s all we do is train train train! But it is so necessary!

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