That Time When You Really Need It

My wife kind-of pooh-poohs my modest attempts at prepping. She did, that is, until that time when I really needed it.

When I put together the emergency car kits for an article on how to build a $50 get home bag, my wife thought I was going a little overboard. I think she saw the use of some of the things but thought I was being paranoid about others.

After I built those bags, they sat in the trunk of the car unused for over 16 months. Then, this past October, I had to fly back to North Carolina at the last minute to attend my Aunt's funeral. My tire was looking a little low the morning of my flight but I did not have time to check it. I drove to Love Field, found a parking spot about as far from the terminal as you can get and still be in the parking deck, and made my flight.

When I got back, very early on a cold, dark, rainy morning, I found my car with a flat tire essentially sitting on the rim. The car was parked at the far end of the parking deck, far from help should I have needed it. The area around the car was dimly lit. Fluorescent lamps provided a dull light around the area but it was hard to see clearly between the vehicles. I was still several rows from the end of the deck, so natural light was not really reaching me.

So, I fired up the car and warmed up a few minutes and contemplated my options.

First, I texted my wife to let her know where I was and what my situation was.

Next, once I had thawed out from the walk from the terminal, I popped the trunk and retrieved the spare tire, the tire iron, and the jack.

I needed light in order to see to manipulate the jack and to remove the lug nuts. At first I tried using my EDC light, by laying it down and pointing the light at the tire. Not good enough.

So, I retrieved my Get Home Bag and fired up the 8-bulb LED headlamp that I had included in my kit. I was able to adjust the brightness and the direction of the light so that I could illuminate exactly what I needed to see.

Working the tire iron to turn the lug nuts was a chore, and the cold air and the cold steel tire iron made me wish I had added a pair of work gloves or warm leather gloves in the Get Home Bag. I made a mental note to add a pair to each kit. Instead, I grabbed a pair of hand warmers, opened them up, and put them in my pockets. This didn't help with the callouses I was working up, but it did allow me to thaw my fingers out.

I got the flat tire off the car and installed the donut spare, lowered the jack and put the flat tire in the trunk. By this time I was quite thirsty. Thank goodness I had several bottles of water in my Get Home Bag. I got back in the car, fired up the heat, and sucked down a couple bottles. I had not eaten all day and was getting a little shaky at this point, so part of an emergency food bar came in handy as well.

Throughout this time I kept an eye on my surroundings, keenly aware that I was very much alone in a remote part of this parking deck. I had no protection, either. As I said, mine was a last-minute flight, and I had very short layovers in Atlanta, so I opted to leave my EDC gun at home. I was in a hurry and didn't leave a gun in the car, either. As I mentioned in the Get Home Bag article, I think I will add an inexpensive, gun some self-defense ammo, and a tactical knife to my bag as well, for just this sort of situation.

Like the insurance policy, the burglar and smoke alarm, the fire extinguisher, or the gun we own for self-defense, the Get Home Bag is built in hopes we never have to use it. Plan meticulously, and don't overlook things just because you or someone else might think it's not necessary or that you're not likely to need it. You never know until you really do.