Emergencies don’t happen only during convenient times. What if something happens and we are at work, school or some other location? Our family has discussions about what we would do if an event were to happen and we are nowhere near each other. We have to make sure we know how to get back together no matter where we are.
Most people rely on their cars’ GPS device or mapping app on their smart phones. But a disaster may cause disruptions to connectivity. If you are in an unfamiliar location when an emergency happens, you need a backup method to find alternate ways back home.
Those maps include: local area map, topographical map and extended area map. You can get local area maps and state maps for free from a roadside travel service such as AAA. I was able to get local area maps and a state map for free. Check with your auto insurance company if they have these maps may be available for free.
You can find free topographical maps at http://www.anyplaceamerica.com/ A variety of maps can also be found at http://www.usgs.gov/pubprod/
Familiarize yourself with using paper maps. Teach your children how to use paper maps as well. One of the things my Dad taught me after I learned how to drive was how to use a Thomas Guide.
Print three alternate routes to any of your destinations
If you currently do not have any paper maps, print alternate routes to your destinations using MapQuest or Google Maps.
When traveling to new areas, pay attention to your surroundings: make a mental note of natural features such as rivers, hills, mountains etc. Also note the towns you are passing by, gas stations, rest areas, the characteristics of the road such as turns, slopes etc. Don’t “zone out;” instead, observe your surroundings so you find a route back if you had to.
Of course, these are all in addition to having a car survival kit at all times.
Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.