A man and woman, missing for three days, were found and rescued on Wednesday, February 15, in Placer County, California. They had been out sightseeing in their car when they drove down an unplowed remote road and got stuck. They survived for three days, subsisting on Girl Scout cookies, peanuts, and melted snow.
Stories like this read almost like a list of what NOT to do.
1) While they had a cell phone, the battery was almost dead and they had no car charger for it. The man had to hike several miles in snow a couple feet deep to find a strong enough signal to call for help. What would they have done if the phone had completely died? Always have a car charger for your cell phone in your vehicle, just in case.
2) They had no food, water, or presumably other supplies in the car. If they’d had even a basic emergency kit, they’d have been much better off. The story says they would run the car every thirty minutes to warm up. What would have happened if the car ran out of gas? Emergency blankets, even old comforters, would have served them well to help keep warm.
3) They had told no one where they were going or when they were likely to return. The story mentions searchers were looking in the wrong area. Had the couple just told a family member they were heading out to see the sights in even a general area, they may have been found much quicker.
Use stories like this to illustrate to friends and family the need for even just a basic emergency kit in every vehicle, as well as the need to follow basic precautions. Thankfully, despite the many errors in planning and judgment, this story turned out ok. That may not be the case for the next folks in a similar situation.