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FEMA Offers Holiday Travel Safety Tips

November 24, 2015 - 1:05 PM

CHICAGO –The Thanksgiving week ahead is one typically filled with travel, a busy schedule and potentially bad weather.


“Don’t let this hectic time of year sidetrack you from safety on the road,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Take some time now to talk to your family about how to handle a travel emergency, and stockpile necessary supplies in your car in case you become stranded.”

Remember to take these simple steps to help ensure safe travel for you and your family:


1.      Know the risks before leaving home.  Listen to the radio or television for the latest weather forecasts and road conditions. If bad weather is forecast, drive only if absolutely necessary. 


2.      Keep your gas tank above half-full.  When temperatures are extremely cold, condensation can build up in a near-empty gas tank, potentially freezing fuel lines and leaving you stranded.   


3.      Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:

       Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing. 

       Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels. 

       Exhaust system - repair as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.        Fuel and air filters - replace as needed.   

       Battery and ignition system - make sure they’re clean and functioning properly.           Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly. 

       Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability. 

       Thermostat - ensure it works properly. 

       Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.        Install good winter tires - make sure the tires have adequate tread. 


4.      Have an emergency supply kit for your car in case it’s needed. Include the following items:

       Jumper cables - consider including flares or reflective triangles 

       Flashlights - with extra batteries 

       First aid kit - remember any necessary medications, baby food or diapers  

       Food -  non-perishable food such as canned food, and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars        Manual can opener 

       Water - at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days 

       Basic toolkit - pliers, wrench, screwdriver 

       Radio - battery or hand cranked 

       Cat litter or sand - for better tire traction 


       Ice scraper 

       Clothes - warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold     Blankets or sleeping bags 

       Charged cell phone -  and car charger  

       Pet supplies - food and water   


You can always find valuable information to help you prepare for winter at, and click here to watch our video on preparing your car for weather emergencies. Bookmark FEMA’s mobile site, or download the FEMA app today to have vital information just one click away.

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