Having a plan in place for common emergency situations can make it easier to handle adverse conditions, particularly when away from home. Metro News Service photo

Stock the car for roadside emergencies

Disasters can happen in a flash and having a plan in place for common emergency situations can make it easier to handle adverse conditions, particularly when away from home.

According to MFASCO Health and Safety, a supplier of first aid supplies and kits, 90% of people do not carry first aid supplies or other emergency gear in their vehicles. Among those who may carry supplies, 30% never check to determine if they’re in good working order. The National Safety Council says that drivers should always keep emergency supply kits in the trunks or cargo areas of their vehicles. Kits should be inspected every six months, and worn out items should be replaced.

Roadside emergency kits can make the difference between getting back on the road safely or being stranded for hours. Such kits also may help prevent or treat injuries, potentially saving lives. Weather should be considered when preparing vehicle emergency kits, which should include the following.

  • A properly inflated spare tire and tire-changing equipment
  • Jumper cables
  • A multipurpose utility tool and/or tool kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Flares or triangle reflectors
  • An extra quart of motor oil
  • A first-aid kit containing at the least, gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, nonlatex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers, and instant cold compress
  • A blanket
  • A tire pressure gauge
  • A portable tire inflator
  • Paper towels
  • Nonperishable, high-energy foods
  • Drinking water
  • A reflective vest
  • Duct tape
  • A fire extinguisher
  • An ice scraper
  • A folding shovel
  • Coolant and washer fluid
  • A phone charger
  • Baby/child supplies, if pertinent
  • Rope

Keep roadside emergency kits organized at all times. Store items securely in a milk crate, box or backpack so they are always readily available. People should familiarize themselves with the items in the kit so they know how to use them correctly and quickly. With some planning and organization, drivers can have the supplies they will need to make it through roadside emergencies safely.

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