(*phrases changed to avoid frivolous litigation and/or confusion as an endorsement of the company Emergency Essentials. I have never and will NEVER be affiliated with Emergency Essentials, nor will I ever use or endorse any of their products or their website beprepared.com. If you want to know why, you should read this article: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140530/04572827406/disaster-preparedness-company-thinks-people-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-use-words-emergency-essentials.shtml Apparently I'm not the only person to receive the form letter from the company's attorney.)
Winter Weather Advice:
If you slide off the road in a snowstorm do get out and check your tail pipe. If there is snow, ice or anything else blocking it or close to it, REMOVE IT! The exhaust will back up into the car if there is something blocking the pipe, Carbon Monoxide can kill you, don't take any chances.
If you are skidding on ice or water, DO NOT panic, DO NOT slam on your brakes, DO gently turn the steering wheel in the direction that your rear wheels are skidding.
IT IS COLD! Be smart, wear weather appropriate clothes, this includes shoes! Yeah, yeah, yeah, you are just running to the grocery store for some milk and those flipflops, pajama pants and t-shirt are just fine for a short errand...are they going to cut it when your battery dies in the store parking lot? If you are going somewhere and need to be dressed up, take a change of warm sensible clothes in a backpack...just in case. No one wants to try and change a tire in a dress and high heels. Consider buying a pair of snow boots, heavy coat and low temp rated gloves to keep in your car all winter.
Always keep a blanket, flashlight, extra batteries, an icescraper/snowbrush, hand warmers, warm gloves, a warm hat, something to drink, eat, and read in the cab of your car or truck. Reading may not seem like an essential, but if you slide off the road and have to wait for a tow truck 20 minutes can seem like a lifetime. Having something to occupy your mind and keep you from worrying or panicking is essential. Why do I say to keep the blanket on the backseat instead of in the trunk? Every time you get in or out of the car it gets colder, minimize heat loss by keeping it close at hand.
Find the switch for your emergency signal on your vehicle. Get a friend to help you test them to make sure all the lights work. If they don't work properly get them repaired, do not pass Go, do not collect $100.
Severe cold depletes batteries. If your battery is more than 3 years old you may need to charge it at night to keep it from dying, ask your friendly local mechanic how to do this.
Clean your battery and test it, don't know how? Take it that friendly, reliable mechanic (by the way ask him to show you WHERE your battery is! It sounds simple but a lot of people don't know). It may pay to replace it altogether, $80 is a small price for peace of mind when it is -10F outside.
Keep CLEAN and reliable jumper cables in your car as well, and more importantly, know how to use them! Again, don't know how? Ask your mechanic for a quick tutorial. DO NOT rely on someone else to come along and have cables and know how to use them! If the contacts on your cables are rusty, recycle them and buy a new set...they are inexpensive.
Keep some weight in your trunk, a couple bags of rock salt, kitty litter, or sand should do the trick. It will help stabilize your vehicle and can be opened and used as traction in icy conditions.
After having had to jumpstart 2 different vehicles in the last 2 weeks I've decided to go over my roadside emergency supplies and see what I have, what I need to replace, and what I am missing and need to add. This should be done every 6 months and after every incident where you use supplies.
Get CPR/First Aid/AED certified. It takes one day and I guarantee you that you will, unfortunately, at some point in your life have to use it, be prepared. Call your local Red Cross, hospital, or medical clinic for information on classes. A first aid kit doesn't do you any good if the only thing you know how to do is slap on a band-aid.
The #1 thing everyone needs in their arsenal is: COMMON SENSE! In an accident, emergency, or anytime you need to get out of your car to fix or check something, STOP, look around and think, "Is it safe?" , don't rush in to be the hero if you are going to end up needing rescuing yourself.
If it isn't safe, call for help and stay in your car! If you are trying to help someone who's been in an accident, you are no good to them injured or dead, don't run across a road until it is safe. You are probably laughing and wondering what sane person does this, but people tend to act on impulse in these situations and impulse can get you killed.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Take a look at the list below. Is there anything I've missed that you find you need? The list is LONG, but most of it doesn't take up much space. Some items have already been mentioned above, but it still good to have everything written down in one place.
The things I'm missing I am going to slowly add as I find good deals. I like to comparison shop but most of the time I find the best deals at IFA, Cal Ranch, Smithfield Implement, and Amazon.com. Just like most emergency situation supplies* (*phrase change to avoid frivolous litigation), think QUALITY, not QUANTITY! So check out your friendly local emergency supply store, hardware store, camping/outdoors stores, or buy them only at amazon.com. If you are in Ireland or Great Britain and would like to purchase Mountain House brand freeze dried meals for food storage, please check out http://www.emergencyfoodstorage.co.uk they rock!
Just buying these items and tossing them in your backseat or trunk isn't enough. Get sturdy and easy to organize storage containers. Know where everything is and how to get to it quickly. If you can't find bags or tool boxes (I like old ammo boxes from Smith & Edwards) that you like to fit these things in, consider using 5 gallon food storage buckets with cardboard dividers (cardboard is easy to cut to fit and can be used as a firestarter in emergencies). The good ones should be water/air tight and in a pinch can be used as seats, flotation devices, or to scoop snow away from your car.
First Aid Kit
- Razor Blade
- Medical Tape
- Ace Bandage or Self Adhesive Sports Wrap/Tape
- Painkillers. Over the counter analgesics, get a travel size each of Aspirin, Acetaminophen, and Ibuprofen. They each work a little differently and you never know when you may encounter someone that is allergic to one or the other.
- Burn Cream or Cooling Patch
- Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Hydrogen Peroxide - can be used to induce vomiting in case of accidental poisoning or overdose.
- Sterile Wound Wash / Saline
- Cold & Flu Meds
- Anti-Nausea Meds
- Allergy Meds
- Anti-Diarrhea Meds
- Extra Rx Meds you need
- Compression Bandage
- Triangle Bandage,
- Instant Cold Pack,
- Instant Heat Pack
- Tongue Depressors (for finger splints)
- Lip Balm
- Aloe Gel with Lidocaine
- Bug Spray
- Glow Light Sticks
- Medical Gloves
- CPR Shield
- Space/Thermal Blankets
- Bee Sting Kit (you'll need a dr. to prescribe an epipen), this is critical if you or anyone you spend time with is allergic, anaphylaxis kills.
- Ziplock Baggies (if something is severed you will want something to carry it in).
- Not necessary but consider becoming certified on and purchasing an AED, Automated External Defibrillator.
- Extra Rx glasses, contact lenses, and sterile saline.
- Flashlight (invest in a good one)
- Headlamp (hands free light so if you have to administer first aid you aren't choking on your flashlight)
- Fresh Batteries
- Matches, remember the rubber containers rolls of film used to come in? Find one for your matches and one to stuff full of dryer lint and keep it with the matches, it makes great kindling. Those containers are air/light/water proof.
- Utility Knife/tool. Schrade, Gerber, and Leatherman are all good.
- Food. Energy bars, MREs, and other shelf stable foods are good, don't forget to rotate them so they don't get stale. Don't forget to keep napkins, sealed condiment packets, eating utensils, and moist wipes handy.
- Parachute Cord (trunk doesn't close? Gotta secure a mattress to the roof of the car? Bumper falls off? Need to tie the annoying kid to a tree before you kill him? This is the stuff for you. Seriously buy some, it is cheap, sturdy and handy.)
- Duct Tape (DUH!)
- Electrical Tape
- Spare Key, duct tape it to the underside of the frame of your car)
- Window Breakout Tool. Try the Res-Q-Me, small enough to fit on your keychain, but big enough to work when you need it.
- Cash - Enough for 1 full tank of gas. Put it in a hard to get to place so you won't be tempted to use it and so thieves won't spot it right away.
- Old Cell Phone and Charger. Even without a service plan all cell phones can still dial 911 if there is a signal.
- Disposable Camera to document auto accidents for your insurance claim.
- Spare clothes and walking shoes
- Roll of Quarters (never know when you'll need a pay phone, need to feed a meter, or punch someone really hard)
- USB Thumb Drive. Keep encrypted pdf copies of all your important documents along with critical contact info, account numbers and passwords and irreplaceable photos in case disaster strikes at home while you are away.
- Tarp. It can shade your car in a hot weather break down, be used to keep rain out of a broken window, or laid on the ground in case you have to get under your car to fix something and don't want to get dirty. They are dirt cheap, very useful, and fold up small, get one.
- Booster Cables
- Tow Strap. You don't plan to pull someone out of a ditch in your geo metro? OK, I understand that. But what if the truck that stops to pull YOU out of the ditch doesn't have one. Don't rely on other motorists to have everything YOU need in an emergency.
- Tie Down Straps. Know how to use them!
- Zip Ties. Also insanely useful and take up very little room. Get them in a variety of lengths and widths.
- Spare sunglasses
- Emergency Whistle. A Whistle can be heard a lot farther away then your voice and takes less effort.
- Mirror. A signal from a mirror can be picked up even further than the whistle. You might want to brush up on your morse code.
- Safety Triangles. You may also want to invest in the LED emergency flasher/beacon.
- Red Flag or bandanna. If you slide off in a snowstorm, tie it to your antennae to help make your vehicle more visible. You'll also need this to signal if you are hauling anything that is sticking out of your trunk past your rear bumper.
- Sleeping Bag
- Rain Poncho
- E-Tool. These are little collapsible shovels that can dig you out of a snow drift or dig you a latrine.
- Toilet Paper. Don't laugh, you'll need it someday.
- Empty Water Bottle
- Fire Extinguisher. Get a small one and keep it under your seat so you can reach it quickly. Don't forget to get it charged or refilled once a year to keep it in good working order.
- Hatchet / Camp Ax
- Good Book, Deck Of Cards. Like I mentioned earlier. If you have to wait for someone to come get you, you will get bored. If you are alone the book is fine, but unless you feel like narrating, the deck of cards is a better option for you and a passenger.
- Leather Gloves
- Tire Sealant/Fix-A-Flat
- Gas Can
- Air Compressor
- Emergency Battery Booster
- Tire Gauge
- Siphon Pump
- Ratchet Set
- Wrench Set
- Pliers Set
- Pipe Wrench
- Hex Key Set
- Screwdriver Set
- Spare Fuses
- Extra Oil
- Extra Windshield Wiper Fluid
- Teflon Tape
- Stiff Non-Wire Brush
- Plastic Sheet. Like the tarp this folds up small but comes in handy. You can cut it to fit a broken window and duct tape it in place. Also use it as a protective covering for your upholstery to save it from animals, muddy shoes, soaking wet clothing.
- Medical Charcoal
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Benedryl. A hurt animal is a scared animal. Benedryl can calm them down so they don't hurt you while you try to help them. Give them a dose of the Benedryl, wrap them in the old towel and hold them while your partner works on them.
- Disposable Razor. Gotta bandage a dog? Gotta get that bandage off the dog? It will peel away from skin a lot easier than from hair.
- Cotton Wool
- Old Towel
- Travel Food/Water Bowl
- Cone Of Shame. If you have to bandage the pet you also have to keep them from licking the wounded area.
- Rock Salt, Non-Clumping Kitty Litter, or Sand
- Snow Boots
- Heavy Winter Coat
- Warm Winter Gloves
- Warm Winter Hat
- Hand/Food Warmers
- SolaTec Aerovest, packs down to the size of a deck of cards and inflates to become a full-size core body warmer.
- Ice Sraper/Snow Brush.
- Tire Chains
- Collapsible Tent Pole. If you don't have an antennae on your car you can stick this in the snowdrift you are stuck in, to mark your car for rescue crews. Tie the red flag on the top.
- Heavy Wool Blankets. Get real wool! They will keep you warm even when you are wet and they are heavy and dense enough to provide a barrier from wind.
- Screw On Propane Stove. Along with a metal cup or mess kit. You can melt snow for drinking water or heat food.
- Wide Brim Hat
- Extra Coolant
- Water. One gallon per person per day.
- Blankets. Even in the summer or in the desert it can get cold at night.
- Camp Stove & Fuel
- Sturdy Ruck Sack/Hiking Pack
- Extra everything...water, gas, oil, spare parts.
- Mountain Bike. You get stuck off-roading you will get to help a lot faster if you can cycle than if you walk.
- Bailing Wire. Think of it as thin, metal duct tape.
- Water Purifying System. Cause it takes forever to boil water to drink and no one likes to drink hot water...and giardia sucks. I have the Platypus Gravity Works filter. Some people will tell you that water treatment tablets work just as well, but to me sterilized frog sperm is still frog sperm and I want to filter that out, thank you very much.