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Preparing Your Winter Weather Survival Kit

Published in Trauma Services, Emergency Services, For the Health of It Author: Misty Lemke, Emergency Preparedness Program Coordinator, CentraCare Rural Health Division

By Minnesota standards, it has been a warm winter thus far. But we still have had our share of hazardous conditions.

Starting tonight, a Blizzard Warning has been issued for parts of Southwestern and Southern Minnesota through Friday evening. Much of Northern and Central Minnesota has been placed under a Winter Weather Advisory that could bring anywhere from three to seven inches of snow.

Just three weeks ago, a similar storm passed through Minnesota with 50 to 60 mile per hour winds that resulted in no travel orders throughout the state. Similar orders may be issued again with this storm as 35 to 45 mile per hour winds are expected starting this evening along with the snowfall amounts mentioned above.

Obviously, keeping updated on the weather and not venturing out in extreme weather conditions is the first part of staying safe. You also can check updated road conditions at 511mn.org.

But in those case where travel is necessary, having a survival kit in your car may save your life if you get stuck. But even during “normal” winter conditions, having a survival kit can be reassuring — as you never know when icy roads or cold conditions can leave you vulnerable.

Among the items to make sure you include in your winter driving survival kit include:

Basics & Automotive Essentials

  • Hat, gloves, boots, warm jackets, blankets and/or sleeping bags — be prepared in case you have keep warm without running the engine
  • Cell phone charger
  • Snacks of long-lasting food (raisins, granola bars, miniature candy bars and candies)
  • Bottled water
  • Ice scraper
  • Battery booster cables

Helpful Tools

  • Shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Candles/matches
  • A red bandana or cloth
  • Tow cables or chain
  • Ice melt, sand or cat litter to help your vehicle with traction

If you become stranded, do you best not to panic. Call 911 for help. Provide your location, the problem you are experiencing and don’t hang up until you know who you have talked with and what will happen next.

Plan to stay in your vehicle, unless told otherwise by authorities. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous. Your vehicle can be a good, safe shelter while waiting for help or for the storm to pass.

Review more winter survival tips from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.