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The big news this week is that a snowstorm in Atlanta left thousands of people stranded in their cars overnight. Here's just
one example news story.

What if it had been you?

We don’t claim to be ready for everything, but the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” is good advice for all of us. A little preparation now could really pay off if you ran into an emergency of some kind. Think of it as insurance for your own well-being, rather than for your car.

My family used to own two store bought car-emergency kits, but the cases were so big that we often took them out of the car to make room for other things. They wouldn’t do us any good in the garage, so a month or so ago I created my own emergency kit. Most of it fits into a small cardboard box. A few items are in my glove compartment.

In case it helps you out, here’s an overview of what’s in the box in the trunk of my car:


1)      Jumper cables and a reflective triangle (stored under the floor of the trunk, with the spare tire – and not in the photo)

2)      Hand and foot warmers

3)      Two stocking caps (they were $2 each at Wal-Mart)

4)      Emergency flares

5)      Two compact emergency blankets (they have a plastic coating to resist tearing)

6)      Several Daltrex water packets (they store for several years through heat or cold)

7)      A couple of tools, some paracord and a bungee cord

8)      One pair of Gorilla Grip work gloves

9)      A small air compressor to inflate tires (I bought it at TJ Maxx for $13, and it works great)

In the glove compartment I store:

1)      A first aid kit, including some OTC medications, bandages, and one QuikClot sponge

2)      A flashlight and spare batteries

3)      A multi-tool

4)      A tire pressure monitor

In our van we keep the same things, plus more of the hats, blankets, and water.

The main thing I’m missing is some food. I’ve been waiting until our next trip to Costco, where we get those Nature Valley bars. (They’re the kind that won’t get sticky in a hot car.) After this week’s news stories I will also add more water packets.

So if I’d been stuck in my car in Atlanta, hopefully I would have been able to stay warm and hydrated. Certainly I’d be in better shape than someone whose trunk only has this in it:

I guess you could use the golf clubs to assault someone who does have food, water, or heat. But it's better to just have your own items to keep you safe and warm. Take a moment and do something today to prepare for the unknown tomorrow. Make sure the teenage drivers in your home know what's in your kit, and that they know how to use the items. 

Even if you never end up needing to use it, you'll be feel better because you are prepared.

Posted 3:00 PM  View Comments

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