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How to Pack a Car Emergency Kit

Consider these essentials: warmth, sustenance, safety, and communication.

boy seated on ground with an array of emergency road kit essentials, picture
Photo credit
Photo: James Bueti
Photo caption
Sturdy shoes are helpful.

Disasters don't discriminate. They can happen when you're at home, at work, or on the road. “That's why it's smart to be prepared for anything,” says Casey Brennan, director of community impact for AAA.

To build your car's emergency preparedness kit, consider the essentials: warmth, sustenance, safety, and communication. Start by packing blankets and extra clothing and shoes; they will be vital if you end up staying outside for an extended period. Then, add water and protein bars. Brennan also suggests including a favorite snack, candy, or drink as a source of comfort in a disaster.

You will want a first-aid kit, too, stocked with bandages, antiseptic, gauze, and other basics, so you can attend to minor cuts and scrapes before emergency workers arrive. Road flares, meanwhile, will help you remain visible to passing traffic.

Make sure that you have a cell phone and charger, so you can call for help and stay in touch with family.

You might also consider keeping your kit in a backpack, in case you need to leave the car and travel on foot.

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This article was first published in Fall 2017. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.