Winter Is Here: Survival Kit 101
Regardless if you live where the weather takes a turn for the cold during the winter months or if you’re just visiting, everyone should carry a Winter Survival Kit in their car. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers.
Winter Survival Kit Essentials
- Windshield scraper and small broom
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Battery powered radio
- Snack food including energy bars
- Raisins and mini candy bars
- Matches and small candles
- Extra hats, socks, and gloves
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- Blankets or sleeping bag
- Tow chain or rope
- Road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
- Booster cables
- Emergency flares and reflectors
- Fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
- Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
- Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout
- Store items in the glove compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut
- Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold
- Provide your location, condition for everyone in the vehicle and the problem
- Follow instructions
- Do not hang up until you know to whom you have spoken with and what will happen next
- If you must leave your vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number, and destination. Place the piece of paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.
- Prepare your vehicle: make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full.
- Be easy to find: tell someone where you are going and the route you will take.
- If stuck: tie a fluorescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out of the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you’re with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
- Stay in your vehicle: walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
- Avoid overexertion: shoveling snow or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. Don’t risk a heart attack or injury. That work can also make you hot and sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
- Fresh air: it’s better to be cold and awake than comfortable, warm and sleepy. Snow can plug your vehicle’s exhaust system and cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to enter your car. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Keeping a window open a crack while running the engine is also a good idea.
- Don’t expect to be comfortable: you want to survive until you’re found.