Saturday, February 11

Being Prepared: The Car

This is the first in a four-part series on being prepared.

Many of us have our homes stocked and ready for any type of disaster, natural or man made. But how many of us have a decent showing in our vehicles? Think about it - if you have to leave your house, especially in a hurry, you will not be able to load up all the supplies you have stocked up in your house.

And, if you are on the road and disaster strikes, you need to be able to relay on what you have in your vehicle.

That said, I have a tendency to put too much in my car. I have things that I think I may need or that may come in handy taking up lots of space in the trunk, which becomes problematic when it is time to shop for groceries or take the stroller anywhere.

So what is really necessary to leave in the car at all times? What would you normally have with you? (purse, diaper bag, etc.)

I recently did an inventory of my car emergency supplies backpack, which looked like this:

After consulting internet checklists and reading up on kit essentials, I have made the following car kit:

Survival blanket
Res-cue mask

Sewing kit
Waterproof matches
Hand sanitizer
Emergency Drinking Water
A small notepad
Pencils - The ink in pens can freeze or the pens can leak if the temperature is too hot in your car. Pencils always work, and you can sharpen them with your pocket knife.
Glow sticks
Flashlight with working batteries
Back up batteries
Polar Pure water disinfectant
100 ft of nylon cord
Basic first aid kit
Pocket knife
Folding multi-purpose utility tool
Rubber gloves
Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED handbook
Emergency food rations (MRE's) - I also like to have a box or two of granola bars.
Paper towels
Wiper fluid
Small empty gas can
Maps/gps - The GPS is a great thing, but if your car is inoperable or you are left to walking, you will want a map.
Duct tape
Solar radio
Fire extinguisher
Seat belt cutter
Zip ties/bungee cords
Roadside safety kit
Car repair kit - Tire gauge, jack and lug wrench, spare tire, foam tire sealant, small portable air compressor, spare fuses and jumper cables
Basic tools - hammer, phillips and standard screwdrivers, pliers, tape measure, some sort of small saw, adjustable wrench

Especially in Winter:
Hats, gloves, scarves, dry socks

I use a simple backpack with many pouches, pockets and compartments built in to hold most of my car supplies. I know that list seems long but most of the things on it are small and they fit in that one backpack. I like to keep it secure with a bungee cord so it does not go sliding all over the trunk.

In addition, I keep the Emergency Seat Belt cutter in the glove box, along with duplicates of some of the more common supplies (lighter, pencil and paper, map, Kleenex, etc) in the glove box or in the center console.

In most cases you will have a purse and/or a diaper bag with you when you go out. Make sure that the diaper bag is stocked just in case you are away longer than you thought you would be. I like to carry a small can of formula and an empty bottle - the sample cans of formula that they give you at the pediatricians office work great.

Like most ladies, my purse is home to all sorts of necessities, including an emergency cell phone and a digital camera - both good things to have in an emergency or accident. Make sure your wallet contains all necessary identification and that you always have a little cash on you.

On my cell phone, under the contacts, I have a contact called ICE - In Case of Emergency. I picked a number that I knew would be answered by someone for this contact so if I am unable to call for help, someone can look at my contacts and know to call that number.

Remember, better to have all the stuff and never need it than to be in need of it and not have it.

Printable/Downloadable Checklists: Here, Here, Here, and Here

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