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Roadside Emergency Kits and ideas on preparation and what to carry with you

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Basic Roadside Emergency Kit (Stock image)

It’s important year round to have a Roadside Emergency Kit prepared for your vehicle, but with colder weather on the way, it’s even more important in the late fall and winter months. Chelan Fire Rescue shares a few tips for staying safe on the road and being prepared for emergencies.

Basic Kit:

  • Cell Phone
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher: recommended is a unit that is labeled 1A10BC or 2A10BC
  • Warning light, hazard triangle or flares
  • Tire gauge, jack and lug wrench
  • Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit
  • Spare fuses
  • Jumper cables or a portable battery booster
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves, hand cleaner and clean rags
  • Auto-club card or roadside assistance number
  • Disposable flash camera
  • $20 or so in small bills and change
  • Pen & pad of paper

Information courtesy of Consumerreports.org

Additional items for long-distance driving:

  • Basic tools
  • Coolant hose repair kit and tape
  • Extra clothes and small tarp
  • Water and nonperishable emergency food
  • CB radio
  • GPS navigation system

Additional items for winter driving:

  • Windshield scraper
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Blanket and winter hat
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Small folding shovel
  • Bag of cat litter, road salt, or sand
  • Candles and matches

More Tips for Preparation

Kit Tips:

  • Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout.
  • Store items in the passenger compartment in case the trunk is jammed or frozen shut.
  • Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold.

911 Tips:

  • If possible, call 911 on your cell phone. Provide your location, condition of everyone in the vehicle and the problem you’re experiencing.
  • Follow instructions: you may be told to stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Do not hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.
  • If you must leave the vehicle, write down your name, address, phone number and destination. Place the paper inside the front windshield for someone to see.

Survival Tips:

  • Prepare your vehicle: make sure you keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Be easy to find: tell someone where you are going and the route you will take
  • If stuck: tie a florescent flag (from your kit) on your antenna or hang it out the window. At night, keep your dome light on. Rescue crews can see a small glow at a distance. To reduce battery drain, use emergency flashers only if you hear approaching vehicles. If you’re with someone else, make sure at least one person is awake and keeping watch for help at all times.
  • Stay in your vehicle: walking in a storm can be very dangerous. You might become lost or exhausted. Your vehicle is a good shelter.
  • Avoid overexertion: Shoveling or pushing your car takes a lot of effort in storm conditions. That work can also make you hot & sweaty. Wet clothing loses insulation value, making you susceptible to hypothermia.
  • Fresh air: It’s better to be cold & awake than comfortably warm & sleepy. Only run the engine for 10 minutes an hour & make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Crack a window while running the engine.


232 East Wapato Ave, Chelan, WA 98816


(509) 682-4476





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