Essential supplies to store in vehicles during the winter season.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

How long could you survive using only the items in your car? 

Empty Car Trunk
An often overlooked but critical location to store emergency supplies is your vehicle. Severe weather patterns and sudden disasters have made survival go-bags a necessity regardless of your location. 

Each winter, thousands of motorists across the country find themselves stalled on icy roads, stuck in long lines of traffic, or stranded in ditches waiting hours for assistance. Most recently, snow and ice stranded motorists on I95 in Virginia for over 19 hours. Parents, children, and pets were subjected to harsh temperatures without food, water, or heat.

Alternatively, a quick evacuation may be necessary. The fast-moving Marshall fire in Colorado last year forced 30,000 people to evacuate. Families had only minutes to collect essential items. In 2017, nearly 7 million Floridians clogged the state's roadways attempting to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma. Motorists encountered long lines of traffic, fuel shortages, and a lack of shelters.    

Accidents and disasters can happen anywhere and are most often caused by factors beyond our control; however, you can control the safety items available to you should you need to shelter-in-place. 

Use this guide as a roadmap to build your go-bag, with the destination being peace of mind knowing you are prepared for any roadside contingency. 

Essential Go-Bag Items

Non-perishable food and water - 3 Day Supply 
Granola bars, crackers, and other non-perishable snacks provide nutrients, require no preparation, and are easy to store. Include a sufficient amount to sustain the number of people in your vehicle, including pets. An alternative to store-bought food is Emergency Food Ration Bars. These bars have a 5-year shelf life, can withstand exposure to extreme temperatures, and are formulated with a balance of nutrients, fats, and carbs to sustain energy levels. 

Keep in mind: Most store-bought food and water bottles will not store safely in a car when exposed to extreme temperatures. Check expiration dates and routinely replace food items. 

Battery and non-battery powered lighting & Radio
Stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm is not an ideal situation. Stranded on the side of the road in a snowstorm in the dark is even less ideal. Include a battery-powered flashlight and AM/FM radio, extra batteries, and fluorescent lightsticks in your bag. For bonus points, add a hand-crank powered flashlight/Radio combo as a backup. Lightsticks can illuminate the outside of your vehicle, increasing your visibility to other motorists and first responders. A portable radio provides news bulletins and updates if your cell phone loses reception or power. 

Keep in Mind: Don't rely on your vehicle to provide light and heat. Modern cars can idle for about 12 hours on a full gas tank, and odds are, your car won't have a completely full gas tank.

Mylar blanket, sleeping bag, and poncho
Originally designed by NASA for space exploration, mylar blankets aid in preventing heat loss. The slivery water-proof material reflects heat and may stave off hypothermia if used correctly. To properly use a mylar blanket, first wrap yourself in a blanket or sleeping bag for insulation, then secure the mylar blanket around your body. Simply wrapping yourself in a mylar blanket without a layer of insulation will not prevent heat loss. Toss a sleeping bag in your trunk alongside your go-bag during winter months. Ponchos provide protection against wind, rain, and snow should you need to venture out of your vehicle. 

Additional Items
Phone charger and charging bank 
First aid kit with backup prescription medications
Tool Kit with Multi-Purpose Tool and Glass Breaker Tool
Foldable shovel
Water and food bowls for pets
Extra pair of gloves and a hat
Duct tape
Tissue paper or toilet paper 

We are here to help provide advice and guidance on either purchasing or building your own vehicle survival kit.

Stay safe and warm this Winter!