No Chaos No Order

March 4, 2015

Car Emergency Kit

Filed under: health, home — fairyguts @ 10:38 pm

The next suggested area to tackle in the Organize Now! book is the car.  I have not cleaned or organized my car since Robin was born and I used to be quite particular about that.  I deep-cleaned my car at least twice a year: renting a carpet cleaner, using a toothbrush in the door spaces, and waxing the exterior.  Until recently, my car smelled like rotting milk and there were toys and crumbs everywhere.  Once I decided to super clean my car, my parents gave me their old one, so I avoided the cleaning after all, but had to move all of my things out of Bubbles, The Androgynous Adventure Van and into the new car (which has yet to be named).  While I was doing that, I noticed I have a woefully inadequate emergency kit. It worked well for a single gal, but a mother of two wouldn’t last an hour if there was an emergency.

I looked at several webpages to help me decide what to put in my kit, ranging from basic (“all a girl needs is a simple sewing kit and lip gloss!” – well, ok, not that simple or sexist) to complex (“live for 3 days out of your car when the world ends!”) and I have come up with my own lists.  I separated items into several lists to help me mentally and physically compartmentalize them and to provide a timeline for purchasing.  For example, the “Short Term Car Emergency Kit” list is, I think, the most important one to gather first because it’s the most likely to happen; then I’ll work on the “Long Term Emergency” list.

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Printed checklist.

Car Emergency Kit - Google Sheets

I really debated if I wanted to go so far as the “Long Term Emergency” kit.  A simpler, 24 hr kit makes sense to me – even if I’m not stranded in my car for a full day, I could use all those things for spontaneous road trips, or miss-packed vacations.  But, I don’t expect the world to end any day soon and the chances that I’d be in my car AND able to avoid the ensuing traffic jams are slim.  But then I thought

“Unless I veer off the road in the snow somewhere in the mountains!”

“Well, that’s why I don’t drive in the snow,” I responded.

“EXACTLY! When I’m driving in the mountains and a freak, sudden, snow storm I’m not expecting shoves my car into the ravine, I’ll need to be able to keep my children from dying until help arrives.”

… apparently I have gotten more paranoid since having kids. So, my Long Term kit is less “Survive the Zombie Hoards in Luxury and Repopulate the Earth” and more “survive some crazy drastic emergency in relative comfort until someone brings us back to civilization.”

Just a warning here: The more you collect, the more you think of adding! Maybe give yourself a limit by picking your storage containers first.

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Cell phone charger; tissues; pens, pencils, permanent markers, and paper; scissors; plastic bags; and a very simple first aid kit in one of the storage spaces in the front of my car.

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Proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and manuals in the glove compartment.

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Sunglasses, napkins, coin bank, diaper changing kit, and my special knit hat in a basket between the front seats.

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Tire changing supplies (jack, wrench, tire repair) and chains for the car in a hatch at the rear of the car.

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The bulk of the gear is in these containers: a backpack, an insulated lunch bag, and two plastic totes.

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The car-focused tote includes: Jumper cables, a glass marker, WD40, twine/rope, work gloves, multitool set, cable ties (zip ties), bright vest, wind-up flashlight, and a tarp.

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The backpack holds extra cloths for the boys (hoodie, hat, long sleeve shirt, pants, shoes and 2 pairs of socks) and two small, wool blankets.

This backpack is small and broken. If I had to carry my two babies away from the car, this bag would cause me unending discomfort.  I have a larger, more comfortable backpack that I will probably switch out sometime soon, but I’d like to try to carry the backpack AND sling both my kids before I decide to commit to it.

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Ursula, at Home Made by Carmona (see link below) used an insulated bag for her kit and I thought it would be great for reducing temperature fluctuations on possibly sensitive items, as well as provide another liquid barrier in case of leaks. This one I found has two insulated zippered areas as well as three non-insulated pockets and a very long strap which I thought would come in handy if we had to leave the car. I decided to store personal hygiene items, the first aid kit (not made yet), and a part of the food and water (still collecting) in this bag.

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The top compartment holds the hygiene items in a large seal-able bag.

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Hygiene items (the glow sticks are in the second compartment): deodorant; toothbrushes, paste, dental floss, and hair ties; cotton swabs; nail clippers; lotion, sunscreen, and chap stick; hand sanitizer; liquid body soap; (not shown) diaper rash ointment; and bar soap.

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The bottom compartment holds some bagged water, baby formula, glow sticks, and bottle supplies.

Our doctor’s office hands out free formula samples, so I was able to get some smaller, sealed containers from them to put in this kit. Although, at the same visit, I got the go-ahead to start transitioning my baby to whole milk, so I won’t be needing the formula for much longer!  I realized later that my son uses around 1, 8oz tin of formula a day, so I really should have put three in this kit. But, since we’re moving to milk, I’m not going to worry about it.

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Some ‘dry’ hygiene items are kept in the second tote in their own sealed bag: compact, quick-dry travel towel; feminine pads; ear plugs; and bug repellent wipes.

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The second tote also holds: paper, pens, pencils, and permanent markers; rain poncho; army knife; multitool; super glue; hand warmers; tissue; whistle; extra cording; hook-and-loop ties; waterproof matches; a variety of plastic bags; four space blankets; some extra cash and coins; deck of playing cards; toilet paper; diapers; wipes; and a power adapter.

I have some other things I need to collect, but this will be sufficient for now!


The bulk of my list came from Anita’s article on Live Like You’re Rich The Easy to Build Kit for the Worst of Times… Your Proven 72 Hour Survival Kit!  with some added ideas from the following articles: Family Van Emergency Kit by Ursula at Home Made by Carmona, Car Emergency Kit (With printable list) by Christy at Christy’s Cuties, How to Make a Winter Emergency Survival Kit for Your Car by Jenni at Sweet Pennies from Heaven,  Assembling a Car Emergency Kit with Printable Checklist by Angela at Food Storage and Survival.


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