Be Prepared

Sample car emergency kit

I realized as I was driving around the other day that I needed to be prepared in more aspects of my life. And by prepared, I mean ready. Ready for the challenges ahead.

I’ve thought a bit about this, in light of the past 18 months and the increasing shortages we are seeing in the Tri-Cities and around the world. And I’ve concluded that there are two main benefits of being prepared: we can live our lives as close to “normal” as possible; and we can live without fear of hard things that may be coming around the corner. This reminds me of an old Scandinavian saying which is also the title of a good book: there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

But being prepared is such a huge, sometimes amorphous topic that it can be overwhelming to even think about it, let alone do something productive. This is because when you are preparing for the challenges that might come your way, there often is no good way of knowing what they might be or when they might come. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.

Although some people might need to prepare for regular earthquakes (Californians and Chileans) and devastating hurricanes (Texans and Floridians), the more fortunate might only need to prepare for temporary loss of power (Californians again) or the inability to buy toilet paper and mint Oreos at the grocery store (the whole country?). And this just scratches the surface of the physical challenges we might face, not to mention the mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges that often come with less advance notice.

Preparing against earthquakes could be expensive if it involves stabilizing the foundation of your home. Preparing for hurricanes should be less expensive, because most people would just need to have extra plywood around the home to protect your windows. A loss of power could leave you without the ability to cook food or to warm your house, so a generator or a backup propane tank could be just the things you need. Making room for a few weeks or months of food storage could solve the supply-chain issues we have been seeing at the grocery stores.

That said, being prepared for challenges is about anticipating the little things as well as the big things. In fact, preparing for the little things can be more important for maintaining our daily sanity and well-being. So, last week I asked Josie, our office manager and newly-designated Captain of Preparedness, to see what it would look like to put together a small preparedness kit for the car. This is what she came up with for just over $50.

Cell Phone Charger

Your cell phone is one of the most valuable tools you can have on hand. Few things are worse than when you need to make a call or get directions, but your phone is dead and you don’t have a charger cord. We found an extra one in our drawer, so it didn’t cost extra.


An emergency in the dark can be extra stressful if you aren’t able to see around you. Make sure you keep some extra batteries with the flashlight. The flashlight we found was only $1.

First Aid Kit

Bandages, antiseptic, and gloves are useful in so many different scenarios. Our little kit was $5.

Pain Relievers

From headaches to sprained ankles, pain relievers can help ease some discomfort before getting home. If you have young children, make sure to keep some infant and children’s pain relievers as well. The total for the adult and children’s medicines came out to be $13.

Burn Gel

Burn gel temporarily helps cool and soothe damaged skin from minor, accidental burns such as sunburns. We scored our bottle for $4.50.

Flares (or Reflective Triangles)

If you need to pull off on the side of the road for a flat tire or car collision, you want your car to be noticeable to oncoming traffic. Flares will also help notify first responders, if they have been called, to find you more efficiently. This was the most expensive item, coming in at $7.

Snacks & Hydration Packets

If you are hungry and thirsty in the midst of an emergency, it can make the situation more difficult. Keep some of your favorite nutritious snacks and hydration packs on hand. The granola bars were $4.50 and the hydration packs were $5.50.

Feminine Hygiene

Menstruation does not stop during an emergency and often times gets forgotten about. Be sure to have the hygiene items that work best for you. The pads and tampons together totaled $8.

Paper Towels & Baby Wipes

There are so many different uses for paper towels and baby wipes, from cleaning up vomit (ewww) or holding on a bleeding wound. These were only $1.50.

Hydrocortisone Cream

This cream helps reduce swelling, itching and redness that can occur from insect bites, poison oak/ivy, or allergies. This tube cost $4.25.

Altogether, these basic supplies came out to be only $55 and are great for your day-to-day outings. For longer road trips or traveling during the winter, you might want to visit Ready.Gov to find a more comprehensive list.

Emergency preparedness is crucial to your health and safety, especially when you are out on the road. By taking the time now to prepare your car with the supplies you need, you’ll be ready to help yourself and others when those unexpected challenges comes your way.

Let me know in the comments below what you carry in your preparedness kit and what else we should add to ours.

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