First Aid for the Car

Are those of you in Colorado drying out yet?  Did you have to build an ark?

Last summer, back in Colorado, there was this week where Rick went out of town for work.  In fact he was in San Antonio.  We had some terrible thunderstorms that week, and the power went out in the middle of the night and I had a kiddo crying in bed with me, terrified.  All this happened during one of the worst wild fire seasons Colorado had ever seen.  And I had the thought… what if.

What if my house caught on fire and I was here by myself with the kids?  What if there was a flash flood (we lived in a flood plain) and we had to get out quick?  What would I do?  What would I grab?  How would I manage the kids?

I’m not a doomsday-er but those what-ifs stayed on my mind.

We taught the kids Stop, Drop and Roll as well as our phone numbers and address.  I mentally started writing lists of what I’d like our family’s emergency preparedness to look like.  And I started thinking about posts on preparedness.  I mentioned back in January that I’d like to write more about it.

Inventory your kit

Let me preface all this by saying, I’m not an expert on prepping, and I’m sure you can easily Google a billion-and-one sites on the subject.  These are just the small steps we are taking now.

We started simple.  The first-aid kit for the car.

I started with this because it was easy to put together, and didn’t feel too crazy, zombie-apocalypse, doomsday prepper.

The car first aid kit was especially easy because I started from a pre-assembled kit.

My first real job after high school was working for a masonry contractor as an estimator and project coordinator.  Sometimes the job required me to go out to job sites, and any vehicle on a job site had to have a first aid kit.  My boss gave me a kit for my truck.

I totally stole the kit, unintentionally keeping it after I left the job.  Sorry Gregg, if you’re reading this.  I honestly forgot it was there.  I stuck the kit under my seat when it was given to me and never touched it again until I sold the truck six years later.  And what did I do with it then?  Stuck it under the seat of the next car.

So when I pulled the kit out last month to check it over… well, let’s just say a few things had expired.


Yeah – that’s pain-killer that expired ten years ago, and band-aids that are less than sterile.  The wrapper just shredded and flaked off when I tried to open one.


So after taking inventory of the kit, I updated it.

I put in fresh band aids and pain-killer.  I kept the old, non-sterile band aids for my toddler to use up on all her imaginary owies.  😉  I also added some chewable children’s pain-killer tablets.

It should be noted that most pain-killers says to store it under 85° because medications tend to lose efficacy after exposure to higher temps.  While this is a bigger concern for heart and thyroid medications, it’s a good general rule to not keep medication of any kind in the car during the summer.  For my family, I understand that and am choosing to keep the medicine in the car anyway.  I promise to change it out if it expires.  In my opinion, less effective pain-meds are better than no pain-meds, in an emergency.   

Rick has a slight allergy to wasp stings, à la Will Smith in Hitch.  Not enough to get an epi-pen (we asked the doctor for one, he said no), but enough to justify adding Benadryl to the kit and a sting kit to the glove-box.

I also put in tweezers.  I mean what’s a first aid kit without them?

With all of that, I stuck the updated kit back in the truck.  And I promise to take better care of it by keeping it up to date.

Restock your kit

But a first aid kit and sting kit aren’t really enough in the car.  Here is a short list of what else we keep in the back.

Rope and bungee cords
Road Atlas
Emergency blankets (updated from one to multiple)
Jumper cables and basic tools, including vice grips
A good knife and a bone saw (this and the tarp made our road-kill elk a possibility)
Granola bars
A couple of jugs of water (those 3 gallon ones with the spouts fit nicely by the wheel well)


Most of that stuff fits in the little side compartment in the back of the 4Runner.

I’m sure there are more things I could do to prepare the truck for an emergency, however, we are driving around with three kids and a dog and all the various gear that goes with that.  Plus we still need room for groceries.

This is a baby step.  There are a lot more things we can do to get prepared in case of an emergency.  But in the spirit of the old Independence Days Challenge, even small steps count towards the bigger picture.

What steps, big or small, have you taken to be ready for an emergency?

Categories: Preparedness | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “First Aid for the Car

  1. Our motivation here in Victoria is spurred by the threat of bushfires. Everyone has one to a greater or lesser degree, eversince Black Saturday in 2009 (
    Our emergency precautions include always having an up to date first aid kit in the car, along with lots of water (everyone has a waterbottle for drinking, plus a big canister besides) and a woolen blanket. Our fire escape plan is simple. Everyone packs their overnight bag and pillows(they can do this un under ten minutes now, and are getting better all the time) and we grab the two dogs, three cats, two rats, two birds, and photo albums, and everyones favourite toy, and we head to Mum and Dad’s place for our safety zone.
    Our around the home safety precautions incude keeping our gutters clear, making sure no tree over hangs or blows against the house, keeping the yard tidy and free of rubbish and making sure there is an easily accessible, long, working water hose on the ready.
    Definitley worth being prepared!

  2. Lorraine r.

    We have similar things in the car, but also in our garage we keep a 72 hour kit for each person in our family. A change of clothes, toilet paper, food for three days, a small stash of cash, mini board games, diapers, etc. if something were to happen, it could take a day of travel and or a day for Red Cross to help out so it’s good to be prepared for 2-3 days. Plus if its in the garage next to your vehicle you can be out in 5 mins..

  3. Cynthia in Denver

    It isn’t really an emergency kit I have in mind, but one thing I have learned from the wildfires is this: upload ALL of your photosto sites such as snapfish and photobucket. Once they’ve burned, they are gone. Also share them with other family members so more than one copy exists. You can’t replace them if you don’t.

  4. This is a great post. With winter coming, you don’t want to be caught without these supplies (especially here in Colorado). I never think to check the expiration dates on the contents of ours. I think will doing that in the next couple of days!

  5. Amanda Lane

    Colorado sure is an adventurous state, huh? Lol. We were evacuated from Manitou last summer from the Waldo Canyon Fire. City government handled it terribly and they were allowing evacuees from Colorado Springs in to stay in Manitou while the fire was just over the hill and there should have never been a soul in the town during that time. This summer, we’ve had terrible floods. It’s been fun!

  6. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. We recently got a floor safe that’s fire and water proof to keep documents, passports etc, safe. I’m hoping we don’t have any fires this summer to try the theory out!

    Like you I’ve just gone through my first aid kit. Wow, the stuff that I had to replace because it was either out of date or had gone missing, was incredible.


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