Car survival kits are specifically designed to provide survival supplies if you are trapped in or become disabled or lost in your vehicle. They are NOT automobile emergency kits that are designed to help your car not you and generally contain flares, jumper cables, spare fuses, etc. Most folks don’t understand why a car kit is important; however, those same people can vividly recall the news reports of a person pinned in their wrecked car for days living off of water dripping from nearby plant leaves!
Depending upon the type of vehicle you drive, keeping your emergency supplies in a locked trunk may prove them to be inaccessible if you are actually trapped in your vehicle. For such a scenario, you’d want supplies within reach of the passenger compartment. This may not be a problem for a pickup truck, minivan or SUVs where there is access to the entire vehicle and you or your passengers can reach the supplies.
However, sedans with a separate trunk are trickier. Yes, you could be trapped in the driver’s seat and be unable to access your supplies in the trunk. Although, such scenarios have a very low probability and most victims are found before they needed life saving supplies. Although, when it is just my wife and I, I move our kit to the backseat of our sedan. Keeping your car survival kit in the trunk would prove effective for the majority of your extended disabled vehicle or hopelessly lost scenarios. However, being stuck in traffic for an extended period due to weather or major accident could have you wishing for water and some food. Just think about the parking lot known as Interstate 45 from Galveston to Houston any time an evacuation order is given for a hurricane!
Keep in mind, the storage of food supplies in a hot trunk will shorten the shelf-life of most food products, so refresh them annually. Similarly, certain first aid supplies can become unusable if exposed to long periods of intense heat, so check your supplies at the end of summer and refresh what is not useful.
While there may not be one right answer for where to keep your emergency kits, any amount of forethought will do you well in locating your kits. Keep in mind that every area of the country has different hazard considerations and your car survival kits and storage location should be based upon your higher probability disaster scenarios.
Jim Serre has over 30 years of engineering safety, management consulting and corporate training experience. Additionally, Mr. Serre has over 7 years of experience actively providing the following emergency services:
A certified trainer for FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) curricula
- A certified Disaster Instructor for the American Red Cross
- An American Safety & Health Institute authorized First Responder/CPR Instructor
- Search & Rescue operations
He holds a BSME and an MBA and is currently the President of GetReadyGear, Inc., an emergency preparedness supply and consulting company. He regularly provides consultation to schools, businesses and families related to disaster preparedness planning.