In Kentucky, fall means lots of rain storms and probably some tornadoes. Losing power is a pretty common occurrence, and I like being prepared. This was actually one of the first things I did when I was learning about emergency preparedness.
The first thing I decided to focus on was the emergency kit for the car. It was simple to put together and many of the items I had around the house, so I spent less than $15.
Drinks – water is not only useful for drinking, but you will appreciate it if your car overheats!
-Water – keep a flat of water bottles in the trunk in the summertime, and some two-liter bottles or gallon jugs three-quarters of the way full in the winter time so the container does not burst when the water freezes. This water is not just for drinking, it can also be used if your engine overheats.
-Powdered Drinks – Let’s face it, bottled water still tastes like bottled water. Having single servings of powdered drinks like the Kool-aid single packets, protein powder, gatorade or other sports drinks, will help you keep yourself hydrated and help keep your sugar up.
Foods -The following are all good choices to keep in your vehicle. It might not be appealing to eat cold mashed potatoes or oatmeal, but they might just save your life if you get stranded. Be careful eating a lot of dry foods because they will make you thirsty and deplete your water quickly.
- Peanut butter crackers
- Beef jerky
- Dried fruit
- Mashed potato pouches
- High calorie bars that are specially made to be used in emergency situations are also a good choice. They are very filling and expand in your stomach to make you feel full.
- Powdered Vitamins – there are vitamin pouches that you can purchase that are made to be added to a water bottle. I got some free that were on sale and I happened to have a coupon for. I do not particularly care for the taste, but in an emergency they would work just fine.
Light – having a light source in your vehicle will be useful in countless situations. Here are some options for light sources:
- Light sticks are very inexpensive, do not require batteries and can last for hours.
- Battery operated flashlights are nice as well, but be careful to have extra batteries on hand and to check periodically that the batteries have not become corroded due to the extreme temperature variance in your car.
- Hand crank flashlights are also a great option, the charge can last for hours and it does not require batteries.
- Matches and emergency candles are recommended on many websites, but I am very accident prone and I shudder at the thought of having a flame in my car. I do keep matches in my portable emergency kit, but as a last resort.
- Solar Lanterns are also a good option, similar to the hand crank lights they require no batteries. I have a solar light I bought on clearance that holds a charge for two and a half hours if it has been fully charged with the solar panel, but it also has batteries to use as a backup.
Blankets & Warmth: Blankets are not only useful for keeping warm, but the extra blankets are also great for using as makeshift pillows on road trips.
- Foil – Foil blankets reflect heat, there are also foil bags that are made of the same material but are shaped like sleeping bags
- Wool blankets – wool is water repellant as well as very warm.
- Fleece – Fleece is light and thin can be purchased very cheaply at a variety of store including the dollar store.
- Hand and Foot Warmers – this is another inexpensive thing that is easy to stock up on. I regularly see twin packs in the dollar section of Target and other stores.
Clothing: There are many kinds of emergencies, and being stranded in your car is certainly a scary thought, but a less scary thought that is still very much an emergency is a clothing emergency. The day your heel snaps off and you are left to limp through the day or buy a new pair of shoes on your lunch break is certainly a big deal. If you should get stranded because of a flat tire or inclement weather, you do not want to have to hike to civilization wearing your flip-flops or heels. Extra clothing is especially important in cold weather to help keep your body temperature up.
- Winter clothes – gloves, hats, scarves, fleece jackets and sweat pants or other warm clothing designed for warmth and is big enough to be layered.
- Under Armour Heat Gear shirts and pants are the best protection against cold weather. I am fairly cold natured, but I do not like walking around with bulky layers hindering my movements. I buy mine at an outlet mall an hour or so away after the cold season is over and they are on clearance. This makes them a very reasonable price.
- Tennis Shoes – My husband and I keep an extra pair of tennis shoes and socks in the car, not only for an emergency, but also for the times we decide to go to the park and take walks together.
- Flats – My mother got me a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Fast Flats which are just a pair of plain black ballet flats that are very small. I keep them in my purse when I go out wearing heels so that if my feet start to hurt I can quickly change into something comfortable. When they are not in my purse, they stay in the car in case I have a heel break or something happens to my shoes I left the house in.
- Ponchos – I bought the cheap $0.99 ponchos that can be purchased almost anywhere. They are a little bigger than a credit card and are less than an inch thick, so they take up almost no space.
- Bathroom Kit – a toothbrush and toothpaste are never a bad idea to have. I also have a travel sized body wash, pack of diaper wipes, a pair of glasses for myself and my husband in case one of our contacts gets lost or damaged, and feminine products. If you need to take any medicines on a regular basis, your bathroom bag is the perfect place to keep them.
- First Aid Kit – Any basic first aid kit will do. If you are like me and have members of the family who are prone to sprains, add a few extra wraps and braces.
- Sewing Kit – a small sewing kit is great mainly for the fashion emergencies that we all experience. I remember being at my senior prom sewing a friend’s dress strap which had snapped during the dancing. You might not need it very often, but the one time you do, you will be very thankful!
- Tool Kit or Multi-Tool – you can keep an entire tool kit in your car and be very prepared. Some even keep car repair tools in their emergency kit. It would do me no good to keep those in my car because I do not know the first thing about any kind of car repair beyond changing a tire. I do keep a multi tool that has a small hammer head, flat and phillips head screwdrivers and knives in the emergency kit.
- Emergency Flares
- Map Book – This might seem old-fashioned, but there is not always a signal for your GPS or something might happen to your power cord, so keep a map book handy.
- Trash Bags – I keep a large amount of these in my car, not only for emergencies but because they are great for cleaning out the car.
This list might seem overwhelming, so before you despair just grab your plastic tote or bag and grab what you have around the house and toss it in. Put the tote in your trunk and the next time you go shopping, pick up a few of the inexpensive items such as the flat of water bottles, ponchos, and hand warmers. If you gather a few things at a time, soon you will have a fully stocked emergency kit.
Stay safe and be prepared!