Preparing Your Emergency Car Kit

Teresa Hunsaker, Family and Consumer Science Educator, USU Extension in Weber County shows us how to be prepared as we head out for the holidays this winter season.

Items to consider while preparing an Emergency Car Kit:

• Jumper cables

• Flares or light sticks

• Battery powered or hand crank radio

• Compass

• Cat litter or sand, and shovel

• Ice scraper

• Warm clothes/coats – you may already be packing these for your trip anyway.

• Blankets – including the mylar blankets

• Flashlights—hand crank kind or battery operated

• First Aid kit

• Food—granola bars, single serving size soup, fruit, etc.

• Water

• Sanitation supplies – tissue, latex gloves, hand sanitizer, decompressed hand towels – just add some water and thy “grow” to full size usability

• Money

• Games for kids – deck of cards, books, etc.

• Two way radios

• Can opener

• Candles (100 hour)—the heat from just one candle (along with a blanket) could keep you alive.

• Butane lighter or matches

• Whistles

• Bright colored strips of fabric to tie to the antenna – also consider other refectors

• Hand and feet warmers

• Tool kit and multi-purpose pocket knife

• Cell phone and emergency cell phone charger – they use batteries

• Family and emergency contact information-include medical information

• Work gloves

• Duct tape

• Wire clothes hangers – 2 or 3

• Scissors

• Extra gas can with gas – even a 5-6 foot length of garden hose for siphoning

• Plastic garbage bags-or other sheets of plastic

• Ziploc bags – a few of each size, gallon and quart

Bright colored strips of fabric to tie to the antennae and reflectors

• Hand and feet warmers

• Tool kit and pocket knife

• Cell phone and emergency cell phone charger—they use batteries.
• Work gloves—heavy duty type

• Duct tape

• Scissors

• Extra gas can with gas

• Plastic garbage bags—or other sheets of plastic

Where to Stow:

Look for a variety of little compartments, it does not all have to be in the same spot or all in the same tote. Consider behind the back seat in your sedan if it isn’t part of the trunk, or, use the spare tire compartment to the max, or, string hammocks/net carrier at the top of the trunk space. Store things individually: jackknife and matches in the main ashtray, compass and extra batteries in another ashtray, soft gloves and hats in the flexible saddle bags on the back of many front seats, space blankets or bags in the map compartment in the doors. Put socks on your water bottles, cram individual soft things in between stuff in your cubby holes. For comfort, you can lay a blanket out flat in your trunk inside a flat garbage bag or in the back of your van, perhaps covered by a piece of carpet to keep it clean and in place. Hang small fabric totes of things under your seats with bungees or cord tied to the springs so they won’t be kicked out.

Also consider:

Checking the weather before heading out. Know the terms used by weather forecasters:

✓ Winter Storm Watch—be alert, a storm is likely.

✓ Winter Storm Warning—take action, the storm is in the area (or entering the area)

✓ Blizzard Warning—snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately.

✓ Winter Weather advisory—winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.

✓ Frost/Freeze warning—below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops or fruit trees.

If a winter storm watch is issued, consider not traveling at all. Pay attention to the updates, to see if the advisory has moved to any WARNING status—it means the storm is coming to your area for sure—this usually means strong winds, and/or heavy snow, as well as freezing conditions.

When traveling anytime in winter conditions make sure you have let someone know of your destination and route of travel, as well as estimated time of arrival, and keep your gas tank on the full side—even if that means stopping to “top it off” more often. Try to work your travel plans to be driving during daylight hours.

If you must travel, and do get stranded or stuck:

1. Stay with your car.

2. Try to contact someone via cell phone.

3. Do not try to walk out to safety.

4. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antennae.

5. Start the car and use the heater for about 5 minutes every hour. Be sure to keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow build up.

6. Keep moving your arms and legs in the car—to keep blood circulating and to help stay warmer.

7. Keep one window slightly open to let in fresh air.


American Red Cross

Boy Scouts

Woods Cross City

University of Nebraska—Lincoln Extension

LaRose Enterprise has water filtration systems and much more, email Sandi at

You can contact Teresa at the Weber County Office of the USU Extension Agency at

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