The long-standing Boy Scout motto is “be prepared”. Some of us live that motto both spiritually and physically. However, there are many who do not prepare for the most expected of events. For instance a snow storm that has been predicted for days. That happened recently in Iowa where I live. The day of the storm several people at work were distracted by the storm. At break times some people were complaining about the after work commute and how dangerous it would be.

I found out that none of the employees in my work area had an emergency plan if their vehicle got stranded on the road. The next morning I wrote a basic cold weather survival kit list. I’ll share that with you here. You may have items to add based on your experience, climate, and comfort level.


Be prepared for up to 12 hours in a stranded vehicle

Renew all items in survival kit annually.

  1. Mylar emergency blanket. Amazon sells a package of 10 for $9. (Need 1 per person)
  2. Disposable hand warmers. (1 set per person)
  3. Bottled water. (Minimum 1 per person)
  4. Toilet paper (The call of nature never waits for convenience.)
  5. Plastic shopping bags (2 per person. Place between socks and shoes if walking becomes a necessity.)
  6. Hard candies. (Quick energy)
  7. Whistle.
  8. At least 1 reflective vest.
  9. Spare socks.
  10. Warm clothes. (At least a coat.)
  11. Cell phone charger.
  12. Note pad.
  13. Mechanical pencil. (Ink does not write when it’s cold)
  14. Puzzle book or reading material. (Helps pass the time)

Most of the items can be stored in plastic bags under vehicle seat.

In the event of becoming stuck in a vehicle during a winter storm your best chances are to stay in the vehicle.

If you have cell service do the following;

  1. Call appropriate authorities for help.
  2. Post to social media your location and condition. Be sure to state that you may not reply immediately to preserve battery.
  3. If you accept a ride be sure to post that information. (I.E. police car, license plate of Good Samaritan, etc.)
  4. Be sure to mark yourself safe when you are.

Until help arrives run the engine only long enough to heat the interior back up and with windows open slightly. Do not walk from vehicle unless it is the last resort or you can clearly see the destination, such as an open business.

When you leave vehicle for any reason, such as help arrived, leave a note on dash with name, phone number, destination, and method of leaving.


Being prepared for an emergency brings peace of mind. By being prepared you can focus on tasks at hand. The same holds true for Spiritual preparedness. An eventual for all of us is a time to die. Being prepared for eternity brings peace of mind and spirit. It also allows you to focus on living in the now without worry of the future.


Rev. Burt Schwab




About burtschwab

I currently live in Iowa, USA. My goals are to simply live life as a journey and embrace each day. I am married to a wife with similar passions and that makes me a blessed man.
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