While most drives and trips are safe and pose no problems, when you head out on the road in your car just about anything could happen. From accidents to flat tires and mechanical problems, a whole range of things can happen that could leave you stranded on the side of the road. One way to avoid this is by having an emergency preparedness kit stowed in your vehicle.
So what should good emergency preparedness kits contain, you ask? There are a variety of things you should have in there, each of which will help you stay safe in various ways. Here are some of the most important.
Cell phone (and car charger) – Most everyone has a cell phone these days, but it’s important to remember to keep it with you whenever you leave home and hit the road. The benefits of having a cell phone as part of your emergency preparedness kit are self-evident; you can use it to call for help if you get stranded on the road and your location can be tracked via your cell signal.
First aid kit – If you have an accident or even cut your finger changing a spare, having a good first aid kit in your emergency preparedness kit can be a lifesaver. Keep one on hand, make sure it’s well stocked and be familiar with what’s in it as well has how to use it.
Warm clothes, blankets and emergency candle – These are particularly important for winter emergency preparedness kits. You can get cold quick when stranded on the side of a winter highway, so make sure you have what you need to stay warm.
An All-Purpose Knife- many knives have glass breakers on one end, and different knives on the other. You can find affordable options which are a step above even Swiss knives.
Fire extinguisher – A car fire is never a good thing and they can start much easier than you think. Keeping a fire extinguisher in your emergency preparedness kit can help you contain a fire before it gets out of control. Make sure your fire extinguisher is multi-purpose dry chemical, so it can handle different kinds of fires.
Hazard kit and flares – If your car breaks down on the side of a busy freeway or a narrow highway, you need to let other drivers know that you and your vehicle are there. So every emergency preparedness kit should have at least one warning light and a reflective hazard triangle marker. Flares and a gun will also come in handy if you happen to go off the road or get stuck somewhere.
Tire repair and spare – Perhaps the most essential part of emergency preparedness kits everywhere is a good spare tire. Check your vehicle’s spare tire periodically to make sure it’s properly inflated and not damaged, while making sure you have a jack and lug wrench which are both in good working order. Also, ensure these are easily accessible and that you know how to use them. It’s also a good idea to keep a tire pressure gauge, air compressor and foam sealant in your kit so you will have the option to repair a flat tire if necessary.
Jumper cables and battery charger – A drained battery will get you nowhere, so always have these tools in your emergency preparedness kit. It’s very easy to damage your vehicles circuitry by improperly using jumper cables, so make sure you learn the right way to use them before trying. If you’re picking up a battery charger, make sure it’s of good quality because you may have to depend upon it.
Flashlight – If you get stuck on a roadside in the middle of the night, a good flashlight is going to be essential. Good emergency preparedness kits should have a bright, weatherproof flashlight fitted with fresh batteries – along with an extra set of batteries and a replacement bulb. A backup flashlight is ideal and remember that batteries drain more quickly in the winter when you may need your light the most.
Spare fuses – Locate the fuse panel on your vehicle and look at the amperages of the fuses inside. Then go out and pick up a package of fuses that fit and keep them in your emergency preparedness kit. This will let you fix troublesome electrical problems that can be caused by burnt out fuses.
Accidents do happen, and being prepared to handle one can make all the difference. Whether you get a flat on the side of the road or are in a collision, having essential gear like drinking water, repair kits, bandages and emergency tools in an emergency preparedness kit, is one to be safe, rather than sorry.
This article was written by Colin Stein, who is a survivalist and understands the value of a good emergency preparedness kit.