Whether you're heading home from Christmas break or somewhere new for New Year's Eve, it's important you're prepared for any type of weather you may encounter. Ada County Emergency Management advises before heading out anywhere this winter you pack an emergency kit to protect you from the unexpected.
“You never know, your three-hour trip might turn into an eight-hour trip,” St. Luke's Disaster Preparedness Officer Lisa Spanberger said.
One of the first steps to being prepared is to plan ahead, check road conditions and, most importantly, tell people where you're going.
“Notify people ahead of time what your travel plans are, that is the biggest thing. Even if it's just too short trips,” Myla Jeffries with Ada County Emergency Management said.
In areas with a lot of wide open spaces, like Idaho, help is not always close-by.
“Idaho is a pretty rural place. So, a lot of times help can be 30 to 45 minutes away. So, being able to shelter in place or have some of those necessities with you to help you until help can arrive is really important,” Spanberger said.
Some of those necessities, including a 72-hour kit, which should have warm clothes, food, water, basic medications. The kit should be equipped to fit any of your needs should you have to stay inside a car for an extended period.
“Looking at foods that might be higher calorie or things that might be a meal replacement bar,” Spanberger said. “Making sure that your kit fits your needs.”
If you are stranded in a snowstorm, do not leave your car and go looking for help.
“Your car is going to be your best chance for survival because it is immediate shelter that you have,” Jeffries said. “You may not know the terrain. It's probably going to end up being a lot farther than you realize.”
Your car should be turned off most of the time, but can be turned on sporadically for heat.
“Some small little exercises in your car can keep you warm, like flutter kicks or doing pushups against your steering wheel. Anything to get that heart rate up that can help keep you warm while you're waiting can be really helpful,” Spanberger said.
A 72-hour kit can help protect you against the winter elements.
“Really important to be prepared and be able to have some resources should you get stranded in cold weather or snowy conditions,” Spanberger said.