Assembling your car survival kit. What items do I need in case of emergency?

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Assembling your car survival kit. What items do I need in case of emergency?

You’re driving down the road and suddenly it happens – you get a flat tire, run out of gas, you hit a deer, or you skid off the road into a muddy ditch. Maybe it’s late at night. Maybe there aren’t any other cars around, or you’re out of sight in a snow bank or ditch. The ugly truth is that vehicles breakdown and they don’t always happen in a busy, well-lighted, warm spot with excellent cell phone reception and a service station within eyesight. An emergency survival kit can ease the pain and help remedy the situation or get help. Even if you have roadside assistance and are able to contact help, an emergency kit is designed to help you survive until help arrives.

There are a number of prepackaged emergency kits out there, but you can save some money by assembling your own car survival kit. Even if you purchase a prepackaged kit, you will probably want to add some additional items.

The auto insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group, located in St Matthews, Kentucky and serving the Louisville metro area have put together a list of must-haves for your emergency survival kit. These items will help you survive if you’re injured or stranded in a rural area, especially during severe weather.

Every survival kit should have:

Car Repair Tools – Let’s start with some basics. You should have jumper cables, a folding shovel or snow shovel, some spare fuses, road flares, at least 3 reflective warning triangles, duct tape (the universal fix-it), and a multi-tool piece (one that has small pliers, screw drivers, etc. all in one tool). These are all things you should have for a basic car breakdown situation. You should also have a spare tire that is properly inflated, as well as the jack. It’s also a good idea to carry foam tire sealant. This is a quick, inexpensive way to repair a flat without actually having to change the tire.

A Charged Cell Phone – This may make the difference between getting help fast and maybe not getting help at all. Make it a practice never to get into your car without a properly charged phone. Any phone that is fully charged will allow you to dial 911 in the event of an emergency, and emergency responders will eventually be able to triangulate your approximate location.

First-aid Kit – This should include, band-aids, gauze and gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, painkillers (aspirin, Tylenol, etc), and anything specific to the health of your family like an asthma inhaler or epi-pen.

Fire Extinguisher – It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Flashlight – Make sure the flashlight is waterproof and that you have extra batteries.

Food and Water – Keep bottled water and non-perishable snack in your kit. Protein bars are a good choice. You should have enough water to keep you hydrated for at least 24 hours.

Other Survival Tools – Let’s say you’re in a bad situation and it may be hours (or days) until someone finds you. A basic survival kit should include a warm emergency blanket, a raincoat or poncho, a change of clothes for each member of the family, gloves, waterproof boots, lighters or matches, reflective tape, and a compass. A blanket and additional clothes will help keep you warm.  Lighters and matches will allow you to build a fire. Fire can act as a signal but will also help you stay warm, give you light in the dark, boil water (to purify it), and keep your clothes dry. Reflective tape will help rescuers to find you and your car.  All items should be stored in plastic bags to protect them from water.

While none of us want to be in a difficult or life threatening situation, no one is immune and these things do happen. It is always better to be prepared. Keep a safety survival kit in your car at all times. It doesn’t take up much space and you’ll be glad you have it if you ever find yourself stranded or in a precarious situation.

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