Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Preparing for Disaster, Planning for Survival | Building the Car Kit

The children were outside playing and the adults were indoors cooking.

The evening sun was setting over a spectacular view of snow-capped mountains.

And someone was pounding on the door screaming:

 “Fire! Get out now!”

We called the kids inside, turned off the stove, grabbed our purses and car keys, and headed for the door.
We were vacationing on a ranch in the high desert of Oregon. Forest fires were somewhat common, and we figured one had sparked up nearby.

But it wasn’t a forest fire.

The Actual Fire. Photo by Flickr - ChinaRoadWarrior 

We walked out the door – me, my sister, our mother and our five tiny children – to flames reaching twenty or thirty feet into the sky. A vacation condo, two condos really, as well as a soaring fir tree, were completely engulfed in flames – just feet from where we stood. The heat was intense and the smell was intense and the sense of danger was very, very intense.

Wikimedia Commons

Are you prepared for tragedy?

What if you were away from home – on a road trip or a day trip or even just a trip to the store? Do you have what you need in your car to prevent an inconvenience from turning into a full-blown emergency?

Wikimedia Commons

September is National Preparedness Month and this is the second in a four part series of posts on Emergency Kits. Last week I wrote about a simple Under Bed Kit in case emergency strikes during the night. Being as woefully underprepared as reportedly 60% of Americans, I’m building my kits alongside you.


This week we are building a Car Kit.

Some call it a Go Kit or a Grab-n-Go Kit, but I like to think of it as permanently in the car.
Basically you want to prepare for car trouble, especially during inclement weather or late night hours; sudden but extraordinary traffic jams, medical emergencies, or even a home evacuation. 
Plan for several hours to a couple days. Be prepared to walk.

CONTAINER   Backpack
  Box, Bin or Crate 


Roadside Kit
         Jumper Cables
         Flashlight (preferably wind-up)
      Reflective Signs
        Basic Tools
         Small Fire Extinguisher
         Seat Belt Cutter/Escape Tool (awesome!)
         A ready-made kit can be purchased at
      any hardware or variety store

         Mobile Phone
         Phone Charger
         Walkie Talkies

Winter Weather
         Cat Litter or Sand
         Folding Shovel
         Ice Scraper
         Space Blankets
         Stocking Hat
         Warm Gloves
         Foldable Jacket
         Tire Chains
        Small First Aid Kit
        Bug Repellant
        Emergency Medications
        Ready-made First Aid Kits are available at
        any variety store

Food & Water
         Pop Top Canned Goods
         Power Bars
      Peanut Butter Crackers
         Bottled Water

Important Documents
         Driver’s License
         Auto Insurance Card
         Auto Registration
      Cash & Credit Cards  

Personal Care
         Corrective Glasses
         Contact Case & Saline
         Toilet Paper
         Wet wipes
         Hand Sanitizer

         Baby Food
         Kid Food/Snacks
         Diapers & Wipes
         Change of Clothes
         Comfort Item

        Collar with Tags & Leash
        Folding Water Bowl

Just for Fun
        Playing Cards
        Pen & Paper


  Restock/rotate items twice a year
  Keep car in good working order
  Keep gas tank at least  ½ full
  Agree on a communication plan with family

  Always check weather reports before road

If this seems like a lot, make it easy on yourself. The American Red Cross sells complete kits, from the very basic to the very deluxe – backpack and all.
This summer I stocked a backpack for hiking, and since it contains many of the items on this list, I tossed it in the car and am letting it double as my Car Kit. 

Here’s a photo of it – along with some of the contents.

The fire I mentioned earlier was brought under control in a couple hours. There were no injuries but the condos did suffer significant damage.

 The rest of our vacation was particularly enjoyable. The fire was one of those reminders that we can’t take anything for granted. 
And to be prepared, of course.

Come back next week for the STAY AT HOME KIT.
The following week will be the very important IDENTITY KIT.

By the way, the following websites have loads of information about disaster preparedness: (a part of FEMA)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these excellent examples and ways to keep your kit up to date!