Emergency Kit PDF Print E-mail

We like to think studiously following the manufacturer's maintenance schedule for our car, and making sure it's done by qualified mechanics at a professional facility like AJ Foreign Auto, means we'll never have a roadside breakdown. But, to put it simply, stuff happens. Bad weather, damaging road conditions, or an unusual mechanical failure can occur when you least expect it. When the unexpected happens, it's a great idea to have a basic emergency kit in your car ready to help keep you, and your family, safe.

You can buy a basic kit from a local department store or various automotive specialists, but why not both save some cash and be sure you have just the right items for your area by building one for yourself. Read on for our recommendations in building your own kit.

Building Your Own Emergency Kit

Start with a simple container. Something like a small duffel or travel bag. Then collect the items most important for your safety, survival and comfort. Here's a list of suggested items. In creating it, we considered both recommendations from our experienced mechanics and what the Boy Scouts of America recommends for Scouts to survive an emergency--the ten essentials list. You can add or delete as you see fit.

For Your Car:

  • tow rope
  • jumper cables
  • spare tire (not really in your kit but somewhere in the car)
  • funnel/cone
  • help flags
  • plastic zip ties
  • duct tape
  • tools - at least: adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters

For You:

  • water (you can go a long time without food but only a short time without water)
  • plastic water bag (something that packs small but can carry water)
  • food
  • flashlight
  • batteries (that fit the flashlight)
  • gloves
  • hat with a wide brim (to walk in the sun)
  • emergency blanket (mylar aluminum space blankets pack small and have many users)
  • rain poncho
  • wet naps or baby wipes
  • area map(s)
  • whistle (you get very tired yelling but can whistle for help a long time)
  • sun block
  • matches
  • fire starter (small wood chips or similar)
  • compass

For First Aid:

  • injury information card
  • cotton balls
  • plastic bandages
  • antiseptic cream and/or towels
  • large gauze
  • rubber gloves

Of course also consider any special medical conditions in your family. Add the specific items that you know you'd need in an emergency. 

Of course, when your car breaks down or gets stuck, the idea is to be ready to use your emergency kit to make minor car repairs and continue your trip. But, if you can't fix it, get it unstuck, or are out of fuel, we have one other suggestion.

Unless you know exactly where you are, where to get help and are used to hiking the necessary distance, it is nearly always better to stay with your car and wait for help. Most rescue professionals will tell you that people leaving their vehicle and hiking out to get help are far more likely to get lost or injured. Most of us are not use to hiking miles or dealing with the elements (sun, heat, cold, rain, snow, etc.) Your car is a big object that is easy to find. It provides shelter, which is your most important need next to water. Don't make the situation worse by getting lost alone or injured.

Mark the area around your car well so that it is easy for rescuers to find. Indicate you need help and stay put. Let help come to you.




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AJ Foreign Auto

130 Cherry Street (Behind Wegmans)
Ithaca, NY 14850
Business Hours: Call for appointment
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