Every winter we hear the local news do a story about making sure you have a winter weather kit in your car, with things like blankets, cat litter or sand, candy bars, a way to melt snow, etc. but have you put together a summer weather kit for your car? I think it can be just as important.
The need for summer supplies was really brought home to me a couple of years ago at an outside church service when a member of the congregation went down with heat stroke. Even though the owner hosts events there all the time he had absolutely nothing to help, no water on site or nearby, no first aid kit, not a backboard or a bandage or a fan or a landline phone.
But my point was it sent me to my car for supplies while we waited for the first responders and I had next to nothing that was of use. I did have a bottle of water, but some more supplies could be helpful.
These are some things I’ve thought of, there are probably others. The incident made focus on ways to cool down, but I’m sure there are other things to include.
1. Bottles of Water
2. Small to Medium sized towels
3. Bucket to carry water and soak towels
4. Hand Fan
6. Large umbrella for shade
8. Phone (and a way to charge it)
9. Portable Weather Radio
10. Wasp/Bee Sting Kit, Itch Medicine
11. Fire Extinguisher
Heat Stress Danger
Most of these assume Heat Stroke or Heat Stress. Here are the symptoms of Heat Stroke:
Here is the PubMed directions for dealing with heat stress:
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to print this out and add it to your kit.
The bandages should already be part of your first aid kit normally carried in the car, but the outdoor activities that often become more frequent in the summer make the need for bandages better. If you haven’t checked your supply lately, do it now. Cheap bandages can dry out and refuse to stick when needed.
The phone is call out if there is trouble. I have now called 9-1-1 four times in my life and those experiences have taught me that you want to be more proactive in calling rather than less. That’s especially true if you are away from an urban area where response might be delayed by travel time. My sister-in-law is an EMT and she always says they’d much rather go out and have it be they weren’t needed, rather than have you wait and it’s too late to help by the time they arrive. Make sure if you’re to an area you’re not used to being in like a campground or a park that you can give clear directions and be prepared to meet the first responders at a major landmark or gate to guide them to where the person is in trouble.
The portable weather radio is important to give warnings because a sultry summer’s day can stay that way or can quickly turn over to severe thunderstorms or tornadoes. The weather radio can keep an eye on such things for you and alert you if there is any change.
The fire extinguisher won a permanent place in my trunk after I saw a car catch on fire.
Your supplies might need to be different depending on the medical needs of your family, but always carrying these basics can be a huge help if you get in trouble while enjoying the summer weather.
UPDATED June 8 2016: I added a link with information about the symptoms of heat stroke.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.