Has you car ever broken down, leaving you stranded for hours?
Have you ever been caught in a sudden snowstorm, or ice storm, making roads impassable, or worse yet, end up with your car stuck in a ditch? Ever run out of gasoline in a remote location – or have your truck over-heat in the desert? Discovered that a flash flood took out the bridge leading to your home? Been involved in an accident?
A few weeks ago, I discussed the benefits of having a First Aid Kit in our vehicles, as well as in our home. You can read the content in: Survival Tip: Accidents Happen. But, today I’d like to take it a step further and talk about having an Emergency Kit in your vehicle.
Being Prepared for the Unexpected
Being prepared for all types of unexpected circumstances helps us to not only be more self-reliant, but gives us some sense of a peace of mind. It’s not a fun experience to have your car break down. But wouldn’t it be less traumatic if you knew you had resources on hand to stay warm, hydrated and fed while you wait for assistance?
It’s true, I don’t have to worry about ice and snow here on the west coast, in southern California. But I’ve lived in the Midwest and in Colorado, and I haven’t forgotten about those storms. People living in those areas tend to carry extra coats, blankets, shovels, food, water and chains in their vehicles at all times.
But even here in sunny California, we have our own natural disasters. Wildfires and earthquakes can be even scarier, in that we don’t get a weather notification the day before saying that it’s heading our way!
But where do you start when planning an Emergency Kit for your vehicle?
I wish I could wave my magic wand and give you the perfect answer, but alas it depends on many factors: where you live and the weather, your age and physical condition, whether you have children, pets, how far is your commute to work?
Every Car Emergency Kit should be, and needs to be, tailored for you and your family’s individual needs. When I first began thinking about creating a kit, the task felt daunting. That’s why I decided to share my own personal Car Emergency Kit with you– to give you someplace to start. You can use this list and customize it for your own weather, location, children, special needs, etc.
The important thing is to start – one step at a time will get you there!
My husband and I have the following Emergency Kit items in each of our vehicles. No matter which vehicle we’re in, we’ve got the same resources on hand. We used medium-sized backpacks to store all the smaller items in one place. We made sure to purchase packs that wouldn’t be too bulky or heavy to carry, if need be. And they are easy to grab and go. Larger items, such as the wool blanket, Aqua-Blox and Water Brick, are stashed in a large mesh bag, so that they are also easy to move.
Here are the items found in our Car Emergency Kits:
In the backpack:
San Diego County Map (highlighted possible emergency routes on maps)
List of phone numbers and emails to use if cell phone is inoperable
Photocopies of important documents, such as passport, birth certificate, medical info
Cash (make sure you have some smaller denomination bills and coin, as well)
First Aid Kit
N95 Dust Masks
Led Flashlight and Batteries
Whistle and Lanyard / mirror
Small Notebook and pencils
Heavy Duty Work Gloves
Strike Anywhere Matches / Waterproof Matches
Canned meats you can open and eat without cooking such as tuna, chicken, sardines
Travel Size Toiletries: toothpaste/brush, soap, shampoo, comb
These are additional items we keep in a mesh bag in the trunk as well:
Wool Blanket (Army Surplus store)
Empty Water Brick (to gather water if needed)
Hand-Made Soup Can Burner with Sterno candle and Enamel Coffee Cup
Still Find This Overwhelming?
If you still find the thought of doing this overwhelming, or too big a strain on your budget, do what we did. Start with the most important basics: First Aid Kit, Led Flashlight & Batteries, Mulit-purpose Tool, Mylar Thermal Blanket and Water. Then each week add something from your list. You can find some of these items at an Army Surplus, or discount stores.
Before you know it, you’ll have a great resource in the trunk of you vehicle.