Sunday, January 09, 2011

Prepare: Winter Weather Survival Car Kit

This bad weather across the country has made it urgent to make sure you have a winter weather surivival kit in your car. A road closure, accident and iced roads can leave any of us stranded in a car or truck for hours while the temperatures plumet. Make sure you have your car equipped.

The key to surviving cold weather is to keep warm, hydrated and let others know where you are. When traveling by car, your shelter is provided; your in it. Now you need supplies to stave off the cold and stay alive until help arrives.

First, always have a cell phone, spare battery and charger. Also, it can't hurt to have an alternate form of communication such as a CB or handheld radio.

Before leaving, make sure the car gas tank is full. Stuck or not, driving will be slow and that uses fuel fast.

Now, make sure you have plenty of water. Too many think that dehydration only happens in warm weather and that is a hardly the case. Hypothermia is compounded by dehydration so pack at least a six pack of bottled water in the car.

Next, have at least one blanket per person. I have a micro fiber fleece which lives under the backseat of the truck year round.

Spare clothing such as a winter hat, gloves, scarf, socks, pullover shell such as a windbreaker, and long underwear. While many leave the house with these things on already, the office worker will probably be in dress clothes and having these spare things can mean a difference between life or death.

Pack food which does not need to be heated, lasts a long time and is high in fat, calories or both. Things like dried fruit, protein bars, canned fish like sardines, chocolate, pudding and crackers. Shivering exhausts energy. Remember, food is only good with plenty of fresh water. Don't forget that water.

Emergency gear like a shovel, flares, tire chains, windshield scraper, flashlight, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, and oil should always be in the car regardless of the weather.

If forced out of the car, have the ability to make fire. Have at least one lighter, tinder (like old newspapers kept dry in an old plastic bag) and an alternate firemaking tool like a blast match or flint is handy. Remember, never have an open flame in a car - it could cause carbon monoxide poisoning and asphyxiation.

The key always, is to stay with your vehicle as long as possible, as it is shelter and better than being out in the elements. And then wait for help. Finally, in wilderness or remote areas, never believe you can "hike out" on your own unless you are experienced in back country hiking and have adaquate supplies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dress for the weather you are driving through. You kinda covered that point when you suggested having winter clothes in the car. I just want to state it in a different way since most people don't stock their car with stuff. Also put a dozen or so of the chemical handwarmers in the car as well. They are suprisingly comforting when you are really cold and last quite awhile.

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