When it comes to emergencies, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Being prepared for an emergency is the only way to ensure that you and your family remain safe when someone bad happens. Because emergencies do not announce themselves, it is important to stay prepared so that you are ready at all times.
Winter weather has less impact in sunny, temperate climates, but many Los Angeles-area residents travel into mountainous areas on skiing trips or vacations. Having an emergency winter kit in your car can be the difference between getting out of a dangerous situation safely or suffering injury.
Keep Your Kit In Your Car
You are unlikely to need a winter weather kit in your home, although you may want to keep other emergency supplies there. However, if you travel into areas where ice and snow may be present, it is wise to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle at all times.
Remember to check the weather forecast whenever you travel. It is easy to be caught in winter weather conditions in mountainous areas with no warning, so listen to travel and weather reports before you drive in unfamiliar areas.
Assembling a Winter Emergency Kit for Your Car
You can purchase ready-made kits for your vehicle that contain supplies that will help you weather being stranded in winter conditions. However, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with all the contents of such kits before you need to use them. A dark, freezing roadside is no place to try to learn how to use your winter emergency kit supplies.
Whether you purchase a ready-made kit or assemble your own, tour kit should contain, at a minimum:
- Blankets or sleeping bags. If you are stuck in your car for any length of time, you must conserve body heat. Explore the new options in heat-conserving materials for blankets or sleeping gear. Some of these items can be rolled into very small parcels for storage.
- A flashlight with rechargeable batteries or a secondary power source. Some flashlights include chargers similar to those you use for your cell phone to plug into your car’s power source.
- First-aid kit. At a minimum, you should have non-aspirin pain relievers, bandages, and a disinfectant in your kit.
- A good knife. Something to cut with is imperative, so be sure that your knife is sharpened and of a substantial enough size to cut rope or packaging.
- High-calorie, non-perishable food and water. You can melt snow for drinking, but having a few bottles of water is important. Be sure to change your water periodically to keep it from becoming stale. Protein bars are a good food choice.
- A shovel and sand or cat litter for digging out of drifts and for traction to move your vehicle.
- A large bucket or can and toilet paper.
- Compass and road maps. If your GPS is not working, these items can help you find your way if you are lost.
- Extra clothing such as jackets, mittens, and knitted hats.
- An auto tool kit for emergencies. You will need rope, chain, a windshield scraper, and jumper cables to ensure that you can keep your vehicle moving.
Other Winter Tips
Be sure that your gas tank remains full; this will prevent freezing of your fuel lines or tank.
Tell others of your travel plans before you leave, and have someone call authorities if you do not check in on a pre-arranged schedule.
Winterize your vehicle prior to traveling in snowy or icy areas, and be sure your tires are rated for travel on winter roads.