Yesterday we had an opportunity to discover just how prepared we really are. In light of the flood disaster in Alberta, and the train derailment disaster in Quebec recently, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking, again, about emergency preparedness. With that, we reviewed and rearranged our emergency evacuation bin, and set up a new plan. Now, that’s okay if we’re at home, and if we have some notice to get everything together to evacuate our home.
But what if we’re on the road somewhere, and can’t get home. For that, we have a couple of duffel bags always in the back of our van. But let me tell you our story.
We’d decided to take a day to drive to Kelowna to visit my parents, had a great visit, and headed back for home about 4 p.m. We were about 3/4 hour out, on the highway where nobody lives, and there’s nothing in sight. Here I have to say that when we were in California recently we noticed the emergency call boxes everywhere on the road – there is no such thing in BC!
At this point, we noticed our dashboard warning system said to check tire pressure on the left front tire. We were almost at a brake check/chain-up pull-out, so we stopped. And sure enough, we had a flat tire – well, not quite flat, but obviously very low, and it appeared that a small section was actually pulling away from the rim.
Okay, so we need to change the tire. And so we proceeded. About this time a couple in a truck and camper pulled in and kindly checked to see if we needed help. We didn’t and they proceeded on their way.
Grizz put the jack under the van, lifted it, removed the lugs, pulled the tire off…….and the jack collapsed! So there we were sitting on the rotor
I have to say that I wasn’t exactly thinking of taking pictures in the middle of all of this.
Lesson # 1 – wheel chocks would be a good thing to carry in our car to put behind wheels to better stabilize a vehicle in a situation like this
I proceeded to call for Roadside Assistance………and spent almost half an hour on the phone (luckily there was cell service in the area) with a young man in Texas……….who couldn’t seem to understand that we were not in a position to give him an address or even a postal code. We were on a highway, basically in the middle of nowhere, Canada. No matter what I said, what suggestions I made, how I instructed him to follow a map, he kept saying ‘it doesn’t work like that, Ma’am’. I finally said I’d call a tow truck myself, and send the company the bill. At which he replied ‘can I give you the address?’ Now that was worth a laugh!!!
In the meantime three other parties had stopped at this pull-off. all willing to help in anyway they could. One couple had a GPS on which we found the coordinates of our position, but that didn’t help the dispatcher on the phone, because of course the coordinates were for a place in the middle of nowhere, Canada.
These folks had all left while I was still on the phone with RA, but a semi-truck had stopped. They gave us more accurate information on our position, but that still didn’t help. In the meantime, one driver had offered to take a look at our jack, and tried to hammer it back into shape, but it wasn’t going to work. So the other driver pulled out his handy-dandy iPad and looked up a tow truck company number, which I dialed and got help on its way in very short order.
Lesson # 2 – data plans on phones could be very handy in situations like this. But for a once in every 10 years experience (which is about what we’ve had), do we want to pay those kind of fees. Not so sure! Have to really think about that one.
While we waited for the tow truck to arrive, it was past supper time, it was HOT!, we were thirsty, Grizz had got his pants dirty…..and we opened up our emergency bags.
Well, there was water, there was some granola bars, there was a change of clothes, and a few other things we’d completely forgotten. But were we thankful that we had these with us.
Lesson # 3 – keep those emergency bags complete and up to date at all times. I’d been thinking about checking them, and so now I’m impelled to do so. The only problem was the granola bars weren’t so fresh and didn’t taste all that great. So now we’re looking for new ideas for snacks that will withstand time in our bags. And also snacks that will be okay for Grizz.
During this, he checked his blood sugar.
Newly diagnosed with diabetes, and having read that stress can raise blood sugars, and he should test 3 times a day anyway, he proceeded. It was HIGH! So he took his medication, and drank some water, but there’s little else to do to lower blood sugar. But we do need to pack something in these bags that will address low blood sugar should that occur.
So once the tow truck had arrived, and the tire got changed, and we signed our life away to pay the bill (remember we were in the middle of nowhere, Canada), we proceeded on our way home. We arrived safely, thankfully, and happily.
Oh, and while we were waiting for the tow truck, a young man in his 4WD pickup stopped, purposefully crossing the highway and back-tracking to check to see if we needed any help! How very nice it was to have people around who noticed and stopped to make sure we were okay, even in the middle of nowhere, Canada.
So, after this long tale – all I really want to say is – BE PREPARED!