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...where the road goes is someplace far and unknown...

October 28th, 2009 at 10:38 am

I wanted to add something about emergency preparedness (EP) to one of my previous blogs but since I did not write it down it was missed.

I often wonder, when people have to evacuate an area, do they know where they should go and how much gas it would take to get there? I know that in my current car (getting 25 mpg) I would need about two gallons to get to my moms house, which is my evacuation point if something happened in the valley. Where is your evacuation point, how many miles away is it located, and how much gas would it take to get you there safely?

During the storm several weeks ago a good portion of the area I in which I was staying lost power. Usually I would not worry about anything except…I let my gas tank get WAY below a quarter of a tank. My little gas tank computer told me I had about 50 miles to go with a 22 mile commute to work.

In the past I would never have let my tank get that low. With the advent of the high cost of gas the past few years I have let the purchasing go about 8-10 days between fill ups. It has become a bad habit to let it get to about 30 miles of gas left before I fill up. This can be dangerous to do for many reasons, but let’s discuss this from the EP side.

As I mentioned before, the power was out in my local area when I left for work that morning. I noticed the gas level and realized that if I got stuck in traffic I could have a severe problem and began to realize that my previous strategy of filling up every Sunday regardless of the level of my tank would have come in handy, had I continued to follow it!

Then a second item hit me.

I used to work for a large petroleum company that ran many stations. When the power went out we often could not process credit cards for purchases, even when the power came back on. I realized that if I had not fallen out of my habit of getting gas on Sundays and keeping about $30 cash (in various denominations) in the glove box for gas emergencies then I would be fine and not have to worry as I would still be able to purchase gas with the cash.

I drove for a bout 5 miles when I found an area where the power was on and I was able to fill up my tank, great news! The bad news was that I was soaking wet by the time I finished filling up my tank and arrived to work wet and looking, shall we say, less than professional. If I had stuck to my usual planning neither the worry nor being wet would have occurred.

I remember there were reports of gas shortages as people tried to evacuate the New Orleans area before Hurricane Katrina and in the Houston area before Hurricane Rita. Not having enough gas can mean a lot of abandoned cars along the road, impeding an evacuation.

I have returned to my habits of getting gas on Sunday (or when the tank gets less than half full) to ensure that I could get to where I need to be without any problems.

How low do you let your tank get before filling up?

2 Responses to “...where the road goes is someplace far and unknown...”

  1. miz pat Says:

    We just had a California Shakeup exercise at work, and were told to always refill your tank at half full, so you can go home if there is a quake. So your comment really hit home. This weekend I filled up.

    The other thing I do to prepare, is I have 3 big plastic gas cans in the garage filled with water. Every six months i dump them, put some bleach in them, swish around the bleach, dump it out and then refill them with water.

    If I need the water, I'll pop the cap off and let them sit awhile to disperse the tiny bit of bleach left and then it will be safe to drink.

  2. Purple Flower's Says:

    I don't let my tank get below 1/4.

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