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Survival Strategies


Fire | Car | Plane | Ship

The following information
comes from:
National Safety Council
Web Site Communications

1121 Spring Lake Drive
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
Tel: (630) 285-1121
Fax: (630) 285-1315
http://www.nsc.org/lrs/lib/facts.htm

What To Do When You Are Involved In A Car Crash At the Scene
  • Stop your vehicle if it is clear, safe, and legal.
  • Move the vehicle out of the traveled roadway, if it is clear, safe, and legal. (In some states it is against the law to move the vehicle from the place where the crash occurred. Check the ordinance in your area.)
  • Turn off the ignitions of the cars involved.
  • Make a first aid check of all persons involved in the crash.
  • Call the police and, if necessary, emergency medical services.
  • Mark the scene of the crash with flares or retroreflective triangles.
  • Gather the names of all persons in the motor vehicles and people who witnessed the crash.
  • Make a quick diagram of where the vehicle occupants were seated and indicate the vehicles' direction of travel and lane. Also note the date, time, and weather conditions.
  • Ask to see the other driver's license and write down the number.
  • Exchange insurance company information. Do not discuss "fault" or make statements about the crash to anyone but the police.
  • Get a copy of the police report of the crash from the local precinct.

Emergency Reporting
A motorist who has a cellular phone and happens upon an emergency should be prepared to give specific information to the agency called. Most dispatchers will ask for facts, but it is best if motorists have ready the following details:
  • Location of the emergency (road name or number, city, closest cross street or off-ramp, milepost or other identifier, direction of travel, and any distinguishing landmarks)
  • Nature of the emergency (accident, reckless or suspected drinking driver, traffic hazard, medical emergency, fire, crime in progress, etc.)

In every instance, the dispatcher will ask for the caller's name, mobile phone number, and home and work phone numbers in case more information is needed. Important: A caller should stay on the line until the dispatcher says he or she has enough information to be able to send help.

Above all, after reporting an emergency, mobile phone users should never risk their own safety. Calling for trained, professional help is the best approach, although in an immediate life-threatening situation it may be appropriate to take rescue action provided the "rescuer" is not endangered.

What To Do If Your Car Catches on Fire
While you are moving on a roadway:
  • Signal your intentions and move to the right lane.
  • Get onto the shoulder or breakdown lane.
  • Stop immediately.
  • Shut off the engine.
  • Get yourself and all other persons out of the vehicle.
  • Get far away from the vehicle and stay away from it. Keep onlookers and others away.
  • Warn oncoming traffic.
  • Notify the fire department.
  • Don't attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicle's tank.)

While the vehicle is stopped in traffic or parked:
  • Shut off the engine.
  • Get far away from the vehicle.
  • Warn pedestrians and other vehicles to stay away.
  • Notify the fire department.
  • Don't attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicle's tank.)

In all vehicle fire situations, the first thing to think about is personal safety; any vehicle can be replaced—humans cannot. Think and act quickly, in the safest way possible.

What to do When Your Brakes Fail
  • At the first sign of trouble, try not to panic. Instead, work your vehicle into the right lane and then toward the shoulder or, if possible, toward an exit. If it is necessary to change lanes, do so smoothly and carefully, watching your mirrors and the traffic around you very closely.
  • Remember to use your directional signal to indicate your intentions to other drivers. When you reach the right lane turn on your emergency hazard lights.
  • Let the car slow down gradually by taking your foot off the gas pedal. Simply steer as your vehicle slows and shift the car into a lower gear to let the engine help slow the car.
  • Once off the traveled roadway, gradually apply the parking brake until the vehicle stops. If that brake has also failed, direct the car onto a soft shoulder or rub the wheel against a curb, which will help you to slow down. Get the car off the roadway and to a safe place to avoid stopping traffic or being involved in a rear-end collision.
  • When safely off the road, put out flares, warning flags, or reflective triangles beside and behind your vehicle to alert other drivers; keep your emergency flashers going.
  • You will need professional assistance. Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out the window so police officers or tow truck operators will know you need help. Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle; if possible, stay away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
  • All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly. Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones and, of course, if you have a CB radio or cellular mobile phone you can call from your vehicle.
  • It is inadvisable to walk on an interstate. However, if you can see a source of help and are able to reach it on foot, try the direct approach by walking but keep as far from traffic as possible.
  • A final caution: Do not be tempted to drive your vehicle, no matter how slowly, without brakes! Call for help to get your disabled vehicle towed and then have the brakes repaired by a qualified mechanic.

What to Do If You Become Stranded in Freezing Conditions
  • Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
  • To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.
  • If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank.
  • To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia, use the woolen items, blanket, newspapers, and large bags to keep warm.
  • Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
  • Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down on the Highway
  • At the first sign of car trouble, gently and smoothly take your foot off the accelerator. Do not brake hard or suddenly.
  • Carefully work your vehicle toward the breakdown lane or the side of the road. If you are on an interstate, try to reach an exit. Signal your intentions to drivers behind you. If it is necessary to change lanes, watch your mirrors and the traffic around you closely.
  • Once off the road, make your car visible. Put flares, warning flags, or reflectorized triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers; use your emergency flashers. If it is dark, turn on the interior dome light.
  • When you have a flat tire, be certain that you can change it safely without being close to traffic. If that is possible, change the tire as you normally would. Remember, safety must take precedence over your schedule or whatever other concerns you may have.
  • However, when the car is beyond repair, it is best to get professional help. Do not try to flag down other vehicles.
  • Raise your hood and tie something white to the radio antenna or hang it out a window so police officers or tow truck operators will know help is needed. Don't stand behind or next to your vehicle. If the car is in the roadway, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
  • If your car is safely out of traffic, wait inside the vehicle with the doors locked. If someone stops and offers to help, open the window slightly and ask them to call the police.
  • Watch for a uniformed police officer or other emergency personnel. All interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly. Also, some highways have special "call-for-help" phones.
  • It is inadvisable to walk on an interstate, especially during inclement weather. However, if you can reach a source of help on foot, without jeopardizing your physical or personal safety, try the direct approach by walking. Keep as far from traffic as possible and walk on the right side of the roadway. Never attempt to cross a multi-lane, high-speed roadway.


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