#StaySafeSaturday: Emergency Preparedness

If there’s one weather-related emergency Indiana natives are familiar with its tornadoes. Other natural disasters can strike depending on your region, and it’s important to be prepared as much as possible to ensure the safety of yourself and your family as well as make it easier to pick up the pieces when one of these events occurs. Here are some important things to consider when making sure you’re ready:

Communication: It’s important to have a plan in place and it’s equally important that all members of your family know the plan. Make sure your emergency plan is periodically updated and that everyone reviews and practices to make sure everyone is prepared. You can find tips on creating an emergency plan for your family at Ready.gov/plan.  

At a time when most people carry an electronic telephone book and few numbers are memorized, make it a priority to write down and/or memorize family members’ numbers and other important ones. Also remember to keep your wallet or handbag with you so that any immediate important 

Health and Survival: In the event of a serious disaster, it may be difficult to access basic necessities such as food and water. The National Safety Council recommends having at least three days worth of food and water stored at home, making sure to account for all members of your household. Don’t forget your pets! Also, when selecting food make sure to choose high-protein food that can be prepared without electricity. Don’t forget the can opener either!  

Having an emergency kit in both your home and car could also prove invaluable. Some supplies to keep in your home kit are a hand-crank or battery powered radio (with extra batteries), flashlight, basic hand tools, garbage bags, and an emergency whistle to signal for help if needed. Make sure to have a first aid kit on hand with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, aspirin, gloves, tweezers, and instant cold compress among other supplies. For your car much of the same as the home kit applies, but you will also want to add jumper cables, non-perishable high-energy snacks, water, reflective vest (in case you need to walk for help), rain poncho, and additional items for cold weather. Make sure your spare tire is properly inflated and that you have a tire tool and jack also.

Putting Back the Pieces: Always remember that after a disaster the important thing is that you and your loved ones stay safe. Things can be replaced; people can’t. Up to 50% of all injuries occur after the event during rescue attempts and cleanup activities, so it is imperative to keep safety in mind even after the storm has passed. That being said, life goes on and in order to replace things that may have been damaged or destroyed, it’s much easier if all of your important papers and information are in a single, safe place. Consider a safe deposit box and/or a fireproof safe for your home to keep copies of birth certificates, insurance policies, passports, and more.

#StaySafeSaturday: Crash Avoidance and Electronic Stability Control

Avoiding a crash is ALWAYS preferable to attempting to “manage” the crash.  How a vehicle manages a crash is often referred to as “crashworthiness.” This concept will be addressed in later posts.  

The most significant crash avoidance technology relating to vehicle stability is electronic stability control (ESC). This technology reacts faster than the operator of a vehicle.  It does so by regulating braking, engine speed, and transmission adjustments. The concept of ESC has existed for decades, primarily in the aviation industry. When a passenger airplane encounters turbulence, avionics of the airplane stabilizes the airplane before a pilot can react. Historically without such a system, the pilot would attempt to correct the stability of the airplane. Many times the pilot would overreact, which would cause further instability to the airplane. This is commonly referred to as “pilot induced error.” The same occurs with drivers attempting to regain control of a vehicle that is starting to slide or rotate in an emergency steer maneuver. The driver is undertaking all reasonable actions as a driver perceives. However, the driver’s perception reaction can actually further the instability of the vehicle.

ESC identifies and reacts faster than a driver. Similar to the airplane turbulence scenario, the vehicle will stabilize itself to prevent a crash.   

ESC has existed in vehicles since the late 1990s. However, it was not until March 2007 that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less be equipped with an ESC system. NHTSA estimated that as many as 2,534 lives would be saved annually once all passenger vehicles had ESC systems. In 2004 NHTSA concluded that ESC was approximately 30% effective in preventing fatal single vehicle crashes for passenger cars and 63% for sport utility vehicles (SUVs).  

NHTSA allowed a “phase-in” for vehicle manufacturers to incorporate ESC from 2009 to 2011 model years. Beginning in 2012 all light vehicles were required to have ESC. Therefore, if searching for a used vehicle, only consider model years 2012 to the present as ESC is mandatory in selecting a safe vehicle.