Vehicle emergency kit (Winter)

We have an emergency preparedness class for a reason. That reason is that 99% of all threat we face is not interpersonal conflict, it’s us against some condition or event. Let’s be prepared for that, and equip our vehicles with a great emergency kit.

So what goes into a vehicle kit for the winter? Start with this list:

Vehicle needs:
Ice scraper/brush.
Extra wiper fluid.
Jumper cables.
Air compressor and tire gauge.
Tire replacement tools (jack, lug wrench, etc).
Foam tire sealant.
Fire extinguisher.
Basic tool kit. (Includes robust utility knife.)
Spare vehicle fuse kit.
Reflective markers and vest (yes, really).
Work gloves and safety glasses.
Tow strap.
Sand or kitty litter for traction. (Or MaxTrax).
Headlamp (with spare Li Ion batteries).
Extra coolant.
Extra oil.
Paper towels and rags.
Container for these items.

(Assumes occupants already have winter jackets.)
Blanket for each occupant.
Hat, mittens, wool socks, and boots for each occupant.
Lighter, matches, and at least 3 tea candles.

At least 1 bottle of water per occupant.
At least 1000 calories / occupant in energy bars.

Spare cash (approx $300() for towing/hotel, repair.
Phone charger and cable.
GPS (if not in phone).
Paper maps.
Vehicle first aid kit.

Remember, your car kit is not just a list of stuff. Each item assumes you have the training and know-how to use the stuff AND that you have dry-run using the stuff. Are you SURE your air compressor works? Are you SURE its cable and hose are long enough to reach all the vehicles tires? Are you SURE your tire jack works?

Additionally, around this time is a great opportunity to evaluate your vehicles for winter readiness:

Antifreeze/coolant level and freezing point test.
Battery maintenance (if applicable). Replace weak batteries NOW.
Inspect brakes.
Inspect fuel and air filters.
Inspect heater and defroster operation.
Test all lights and turn signals.
Monitor your coolant temperature level over a few days. Replace thermostat is unexpected temperatures are experienced.
Top off your windshield fluid.
Test wipers or replace with heavy duty winter-intent ones.