SurviveIn the event of a catastrophe, immediate survival depends on a few key things. Water is at the top of this list. With that in mind your car emergency kit should include enough water to last at least a day or two. The rugged Reliance Products Four Gallon Aqua Water Container is compact and storable, making it a leader in its field and a great choice for your needs. This container is designed for easy mobility and access - and because it is made of heavy-duty transparent plastic - you can see how much water remains.
Of course, there is a chance that you may have to also collect and store your own water. In these situations you will also need a water filter.
In addition to water and a filter, LED flashlights and/or headlamps, an emergency radio, fleece blankets, a reflective emergency sleeping bag, a multi-purpose knife, batteries, fire starters, work gloves, binoculars, light sticks, maps, walking shoes for every family member, sunscreen, bug repellant and face masks are all additional essentials. A first aid kit is also mandatory: the American Red Cross offers a number of them, including the Deluxe Family First Aid Kit.
SustainWhile the above materials will help you respond to an immediate disaster, long term survival depends on more sustenance. Pack items with long shelf lives that are lightweight but high in calories, such as energy bars, peanut butter, almonds, jerky, dried fruit, tuna fish, fruit cups, trail mix and seeds. Sports drinks and V-8 juice help replenish fluids while providing nutrients. Avoid chocolate which can melt in high temperatures.
SanitizeWhile these items may not be the most urgent on your list, you'll be grateful for them in any extended emergency situation. Toilet paper, baby wipes and disinfecting wipes are handy when bathroom access is in question. Practice good hygiene by bringing along hand sanitizer, soap, feminine protection items and dental supplies -- such as toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Trash bags and a variety of zip-top bags can help with everything from holding water to containing trash to covering uncertain surfaces. Travel-sized items are typically the most efficient when it comes to stocking a portable apace-saving kit.
SecureWhen the power goes out, so do ATM machines; a lack of cash renders you powerless. Shore up your defenses by making sure you always have enough cash for gas and an overnight stay at a hotel. In catastrophic situations, threats aren't just natural: a whistle and pepper spray can help ward off attackers. Lastly, keep a laminate list of emergency numbers readily available.
Before you head out for that next road trip or just to pick your kids up at school, take a second to imagine the worst happening. Are you prepared? Do you have what you need? If not, you have a new priority item on your daily "to do" list. Use this helpful guide to prepare an emergency car kit and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will be ready when disaster strikes.
Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, ranging from lifestyle, fashion and beauty to business and tech.