2 minute readHealth & Safety
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Are You Ready for an Emergency Away From Home?

We had just sat down for dinner at a restaurant with my in-laws when I smelled something funny. I started to look around in a panic, because that’s the kind of person I am.

My eyes found this at the center of our table. Evidence of what happens when you don’t follow the “three feet from the heat” rule.

Burned flower petals

Poor flower.

While this was an extraordinarily minor incident—easily remedied by removing the centerpiece—it did get me thinking about how emergencies get started.

At home we can control our environment (at least, most of the time). But most of us spend some time outside, if only to commute to work or run an errand. So how can you stay prepared for anything that may come your way?

So we asked—and boy, did you answer!

Before you head out

We love Margaret’s idea of informing trusted contacts of your whereabouts, submitted via Facebook:

“Emergency kit in the car, gas in the tank, phone charged. Someone knows where we’re going… And trained in CPR, AED and First Aid.”

Other ideas to consider before leaving the house include:

  • Download our Emergency App and find a wealth of advice in the Large Scale Event section.
  • Print or download mass transit apps and any other resources you may want to have on hand, should transit information or connectivity become unavailable.
  • Check the weather forecast and wear appropriate clothing.

In your vehicle and on the way

Many of you were more prepared with emergency kits for your vehicle than we expected – awesome! Cindy weighed in on Facebook with a great list of some ideas:

  • Check the inside and around your car before entering to ensure that no one is hiding there.
  • Check your surroundings before getting out of your car.
  • Plan your route and check a map before you start out.
  • Park in well-lit areas if possible.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight inside your car.

 Among other items, Bill suggests some weather-appropriate ideas for your vehicle:

“I rotate a case of water, and a plastic bin that has extra clothes and towels in the summer, and a coat and boots in the winter.”

And Prema makes sure she has enough power for whatever she needs:

“Gas in the tank and my fully charged phone.”

When you arrive

  • If you’re staying in a private dwelling, like a rented vacation home for the weekend, check the smoke alarms and locate a fire extinguisher.
  • When you’re indoors, take a second to identify escape routes. (What, you don’t read the safety cards and hotel map on the back of your hotel door as the first thing you do when entering your room? Just me?)

Bonus points if you actually make the walk from your room to the nearest exit, so you are familiar with the route should something happen in the middle of the night.

Our Facebook friends had a couple other suggestions for your destination safety, whether it’s a grocery store or a concert hall:

“When out and about I keep a sharp eye on my surroundings, know where the nearest exits are and never let fear keep me from enjoying life.” – Shari


“I always seek out where the exits are located in the area of the building I am as well as taking a look at the emergency route so I am well prepared to help out should an emergency arise.” – Valery

Identify situations unique to your family

Pets and children are two primary examples of special cases your family should consider as you prepare to head out. Our Facebook community shared a couple ideas from their lives:

“We travel with our Labrador often, so we make sure to include her in our preparedness plan! Our traveling emergency kit includes an extra leash, dog food, and bowl for our fur baby.” – Jessica 


“In my car are my preparedness bag that consists of extra clothes for me and the whole family, my copy of my documents, vaccines, medications, coins and bills, first aid kit with extra pair of glasses, medications and [epinephrine auto-injectors], my portable radio, multi tool kit, MRE, one case of water, family emergency plan, map, and a whole lot of toys for kids (non-electronic).” – Reil

Remember — you’re not off the hook just because you walk out the front door. My safety motto wherever I go (if I may quote Harry Potter’s Mad-Eye Moody), is “constant vigilance!”