Remembering The Interstate 39 Pileup Near El Paso, Illinois
It’s difficult to forget the chaos caused by the 100-plus car pileup from Normal to Mononk early this year, after which 30 miles of highway nearby were completely shut down. The catastrophic accident occurred during periods of heavy snow and reduced visibility in February earlier this year. It was a full day before emergency vehicles could clear the debris and the highway was reopened.
Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt in the massive accident — and only around two dozen vehicles sustained damage.
That’s no reason to write off the car accident, though. It pays to notice signals and prepare for the worst in the future. While emergency vehicles were quick to arrive on scene, what might have happened had the accident occurred farther south on a backcountry road — where no cell signal could be found?
The biggest concerns for the people caught in the accident were the plummeting temperature, and lack of food and water, authorities explained. Many victims of the crash escaped their vehicles quickly to avoid oncoming traffic, but then had to worry about how quickly they would be rescued — and whether they would freeze to death in the interim.
It’s important for Southern Illinois residents to recognize that accidents like these are quite common in frigid regions of the country, and it pays to prepare. Almost important is the fact that power lines are sometimes downed by downed icy tree branches, leaving many residents without power. Regardless of whether you’re making a disaster kit for home or your automobile, some of the necessities are the same.
For example, always keep a few days worth of extra non-perishable food in your home and vehicle. Store plenty of fresh water. Your kit should also include batteries, flashlights, firemaking tools, and heavy blankets and/or sleeping bags. Other helpful items recommended by the United States government include: first aid supplies, battery-powered or hand crank radios, a whistle, plastic sheeting, duct tape, dust masks, moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, wrench and pliers, can opener, local maps, and a backup battery for cell phones. Plastic utensils can also come in handy. Do you own a fire extinguisher? You should.
Purchase a pay-as-you-go cell phone and know how to use it — because it won’t necessarily be possible to keep your usual smartphone operational (because those batteries are a pain to switch out!). Consider purchasing an external power pack instead.
Many individuals will require personalized kits as well. Those who require prescription medications will want them on hand in an emergency. Always keep extra infant formula, diapers, wipes, rash cream, and bottles in the closet. If you own a pet, your emergency kit should also hold pet food.
Other necessities you might need but never think of include extra paper towels and toilet paper (remember what happened during the first weeks of COVID). Less necessary items include books and games. Puzzles can keep children occupied while adults deal with emergencies.
Last but not least, always keep a few hundred dollars in your kit.