Make a Car Bag for Emergency Preparedness

Make a Car Bag for Emergency Preparedness:

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about emergency preparedness. (Catch up on those posts right here.)

With all the bad weather across the country and especially the stories coming out of Atlanta, it’s time to make a car bag. This is different from a bug out bag, because those are stored in your house–which you can’t get to if something happens and you’re at work, for example.

Imagine a situation like this: you’re at work and there’s an unexpected disaster. Here in California it might be an earthquake. Maybe the main freeway is closed because of a gas leak. Or a water main break prevents you from driving on a major street by your house.

For whatever reason, the cell network is down too. You need to be able to walk to your house or a safe place and you can’t phone anyone for help.

Start with a sturdy, nondescript backpack. Check the back-to-school sales or thriftstores. Don’t get anything flashy, or it might be stolen out of your car!

Here’s what you want to put in your car bag:

Increase quantities if you work or travel far from civilization. Most people can walk 3 miles in an hour, but everyone’s going to need to rest, drink, and eat. Don’t expect to be able to walk for 10 hours straight!

As I was drafting this article, Papa said that he kept many of these items in his car when he was in high school and college. His first car was liable to break down at any time, and since there were no cell phones back then you had to be ready for anything.


  1. says

    You have some great ideas I hadn’t thought of! (especially the PAPER map!) One additional thing I like to keep in my car is a couple of disposable plastic or vinyl ponchos. If your car breaks down in the rain or sleet, it can be a real blessing not to get soaked to the bone while you look under the hood or walk for help.

  2. says

    This is brilliant! I keep some of those things in my car, but I never thought to put them together (d’uh) and I haven’t had a paper map in ages. I would add a compass, too, and maybe a hat.

  3. Becki says

    Since we live in the Northeast, we always carry a small metal coffee can and lid with emergency candles and matches (or lighter) inside. It can help keep you warm or melt snow for drinking water if needed.

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