The Critical Need for Emergency Car Kits

TheCriticalNeedforEmergencyCarKitsWith wildfires already spreading rampantly across the forests and prairies of Canada—before summer even officially begins—it’s important now more than ever to ask ourselves if we’re prepared.

For many of us, the risk seems distant. But wildfires can spread faster than 10km/hour and an evacuation notice can arrive at the door before we even realize we’re in danger. Sometimes, we’re given even less than an hour to get out.

And that’s why having a car kit prepared and in place is so important. If your car is mechanically ready to drive, the tank is full, and you have emergency necessities to help you get through the next 72 hours or a week—the hour before you evacuate will be much calmer.

You won’t need to worry about forgetting something important, like water, because you’ll already have it ready. Instead, you may even have time to grab a sentimental photograph. Because you know you’re prepared, you’ll be able to communicate better with your family or household members, which brings a level of calmness to the situation. Then, when you’re on the road, you’ll be able to focus on driving safely. The food and water you brought will help you think clearly.

In an effort to get prepared today, before the summer heats up even further, why not start gathering together some of the items from this list? You might be surprised how many items you already possess, and getting them into one place is a good first step!

Here are some of the most basic necessities of a car kit:

  • Food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars, or some of our freeze dried and emergency food products
  • Water—emergency water pouches are best to keep long term in a vehicle because they are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and they have a 5 year shelf life. Be wary of keeping plastic water bottles long term in your car – the interior of vehicles heat up quickly in the sun and the high temperatures reached can cause chemicals in the plastic water bottles to leech into the water
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothing and shoes or boots
  • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle in a deep can and matches
  • Wind‑up flashlight and radio. Many units can also charge cell phones now
  • Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
  • Roadmaps
  • Copy of your emergency plan

If you don’t have a car kit and need to evacuate your home because of a wildfire or other disaster, make sure you grab any other kind of emergency kit you have in your home. If you don’t have any kind of kit at all, it’s best to grab water and food first. Then, if you still have a couple minutes, grab blankets, first aid supplies, a flashlight and your cellphone and charger. Some toilet paper might be useful as well!

Below are the eight components of emergency preparedness, in order of priority, to help you think through the most essential items:

  1. Water (bottles, cans, etc.)
  2. Food (non perishable items)
  3. Heat (blankets, extra clothing layers, matches, fuel, etc.)
  4. Shelter (your car, camping gear, etc.)
  5. Light (flashlight, lamps, etc.)
  6. Communication (cellphone, charger, radio, etc.)
  7. First Aid (first aid kit, bandages, rubbing alcohol, etc.)
  8. Sanitation (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, garbage bags etc.)

Of course, the more you have gathered together and in place ahead of time, the more able you’ll be to cope calmly, efficiently and effectively with a disaster such as a wildfire evacuation.


Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for

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