Emergency Management Director Randy Frank carries things like blankets and snack bars in his truck for emergencies, and he used them as recently as last week.
When an accident happened on 190th Rd. west of Marion, Frank said the occupants of the car were extremely cold and he was able to hand them blankets to warm up.
“In bad weather, like at any time, it’s good to be prepared,” Frank said. “If you have a traffic accident in bad weather, it can take emergency responders longer to get to you. In weather like we’ve had lately, there can be numerous accidents, so it’s good to keep your kit in your car.”
Frank suggested some must-have items for winter driving.
“Have a powered-up cell phone with you,” Frank said.
Other essentials include a flashlight and a small, all-purpose fire extinguisher, Frank said.
Frank also suggested people know some basic first aid, carry a first aid kit in the car and know what’s in the kit.
Kansas Department of Transportation recommends a cell phone, ice scraper, extra winter clothing, a red flag, shovel, blankets, fuses or flares, sand or cat litter, non-perishable food, matches or lighter, traction mats, can opener, flashlight, tow rope or chain, first aid kit, candles, jumper cables, and metal coffee cans as a winter survival kit for cars.
Sheriff Rob Craft said most of the recommended items can be purchased at an auto supply store. Most people won’t get everything on the recommended car emergency list, but they should certainly have some of the items handy, Craft said.
“If you can get as much of that as you can get, people are better prepared for an emergency — not only in the winter, but in the summer as well,” Craft said.
Craft said a whistle is a great item to have for emergencies to get the attention of someone too far away to hear a yell.
Like the emergency manager, deputies also carry emergency supplies, including drinking water, water for radiators, blankets, snack food and first aid kits
“This time of year, we go through more of it,” Craft noted.
Craft recommended cars have winter-formula windshield wiper fluid so the windshield can be kept clear if the car is stranded.
While a deputy can reach a disabled car within 10 minutes most times when roads are clear, it can take longer when there are many accidents happening or when roads are too dangerous for deputies to drive fast, Craft said.
“We’re going to get there as quickly as we can,” Craft said. “The main thing is, we’re going to get there.”
Craft also recommends that when it’s necessary to drive in hazardous conditions, allow plenty of time and make sure someone else knows where the driver is going and the expected time of arrival. That way, if they don’t arrive within a reasonable amount of time, someone can let the sheriff’s department know.
Craft said that any time someone is stranded or injured, they should call 911.