I am extremely glad to say that we survived our rainstorm here, though it did have one harrowing moment when a tornado warning (extremely rare for So Cal) came through on my phone at 3:30am. It did end in comedy with me saying a sentence to my mother that I never thought I would say…”Mom, you can come out of the closet now.” She had grabbed her dog and ran for her very small tile floor closet to hide from the storm and called me in a dead panic to make sure I was safe. The conversation ended in laughter with those 8 little words.
That said, the fires in January followed by these storms only reinforces the need for emergency preparedness. In fact, it seems to be all around me these days. I was watching one of my favorite shows, Person of Interest, and sure enough they are rescuing a person who works for 911. In one scene she is taking an emergency call of a woman whose car had ran into the river and was taking on water. She asks the girl if she is wearing heels and to use her heel to break her driver’s window at the smallest part near the rearview mirror. That got me thinking, “Should I carry an extra pair of heels in the car for just this purpose?” Well, the obvious answer is yes…no…maybe… but it does lead into my topic for today’s post. The Car Kit. Another essential element to being prepared for emergencies is to remember that you are not always at home when one happens.
There are those that would say having a second 72 hour kit in your car is the way to go. And they have a point. However, then perhaps by that logic, you should keep your original 72 hour kit in the car. I think this is impractical. There are definitely some cross over but your car kit should be more focused on your car, its needs if you are stranded and how to survive that scenario. I actually believe you need two car emergency kits – one that is in the trunk of back of your car and another that is right by each door.
The Car Door Kit
Now this is probably more important and vital here in California where earthquakes are a big deal (okay so anywhere you drive and there are earthquakes). However, if you can get stuck in your car in an accident, these little kits are just as vital. In fact, in any instance that you can’t get to your trunk, there are some items that are just essential to your survival. I purchased my kit from Earthquake Solutions but you can easily make your own. Oh, and after my latest episode Person of Interest I am adding one more thing to my kit. My kit was put together in honor of Buck Helm who was the last survivor pulled from a freeway collapse in 1989. However, after four days without water his kidney’s went in to irreversible failure and he passed away. It is a sad reminder that water is essential to our survival.You Car Door Kit should include:
- 1/4 quart of water
- whistle – to signal emergency personnel of your location
- /green stick/snaplight safety stick – to signal emergency personnel (these do have expirations so make sure to include them in your rotation for replacing)
- emergency survival blanket – its not uncommon to have instances where you could go into shock or its cold. These emergency blankets not only add heat, but they fold up small AND are yet another way to signal emergency personnel
- Emergency Hammer – in case you need to break a window and/or cut you seat belt (FYI – from what I have been reading, the perimeters of the car window, more specifically near the rearview mirror and the upper left corner, are the weakest for emergency window breaking)
I would recommend having at least one of these kits in your driver side door but would highly suggest considering having one for each car door side pocket or one for each of the average number of people who ride in your car. In my case, it generally consists of my husband, my son and me in our cars so three is plenty but for my mother, one would be plenty. If you are a family of five that commutes, consider 5 kits but only 4 hammers.
Your Car Trunk Kit
Now this needs to be a little more expansive as it more of a I’m stranded kind of a kit. It should include the following:
- water – a case of 6-12 bottles would be ample
- 72 hours worth of high calorie meal bars in vacuum sealed packets – high calorie bars allow for the smallest amount of food with the highest nutritional content. These are not your typical granola bar
- first aid kit
- emergency blankets or blankets
- jumper cables
- small emergency air compressor – for flat tires
- auto fire extinguisher – in case of small fires (I knew someone who burned their hands trying to put a engine fire out without one)
- jack and tire changing kit (if not included with car)
- fix-a-flat spray – for a quick fix of a tire
- flares – especially important for at night
- green sticks/snaplight safety stick
- rain poncho and/or umbrella
- flashlight – crank flashlight preferred as it does not require batteries
- bungee cord
- work gloves
- flat and Phillips screwdriver
- crank radio – again does not need batteries
- emergency triangle – to signal people/emergency vehicles and to create a safe zone/make people aware you are there
- toilet paper (trust me women, you really do want this around if you are stranded)
- personal supplies – tampons, diapers, wipes, change of clothing for small children
You can either buy prepaid kits for you can make one yourself. I recently priced a couple at Wal-mart and Target. Neither came with everything I thought was essential BUT they are great jumping off points. I priced a few of the items in the Wal-mart kits and after just the flares and the emergency cone, I discovered the kits were a good buy on their own ranging from $30-40. I intend to supplement the kit with the extra items listed here. As I am not a car person by any means, if you have some other suggestions, I welcome them.