Despite the fact that the world is more connected than ever via devices like cell phones, computers, and walkie-talkies, there are still occasions when communications are in jeopardy. The occasional loss of a cell phone signal may not be cause for panic, but if communication is impossible and an emergency occurs, it is important to be prepared.
During the hot summer months even a few hours may represent real danger from heat exposure and dehydration, so having emergency food and preparedness items in a car could be life saving. Here are some of the foods and other emergency equipment to keep in a vehicle during the summer to prevent a tragedy:
In areas of extreme heat, the body can lose 1.5 to 2 liters of fluid per hour due to sweating.(1) Being stranded somewhere hot can become unsafe quickly if no liquids are available to replenish lost fluids. Water is ordinarily an ideal way to stay hydrated, but in conditions with intense heat the body loses salt quickly, so it is a good idea to have an electrolyte beverage, such as Gatorade, to prevent perilously low levels of sodium. Keep at least a gallon of liquid in the car. This may sound like a lot, but in hot weather it goes quickly.
Sitting in a hot car can cause food to spoil or become inedible. For situations where a car becomes stranded, foods high in calories are important. The calories help give the body the necessary energy to at least partially withstand some of the damage the heat causes.
A good choice for car food that is designed to resist spoiling and provide the calories and nutrients to help somebody survive are the S.O.S. rations that are available online and at some outdoors/sporting goods stores. These rations are similar to granola bars in texture and come in a number of flavors and sizes. They are designed to supply a lot of calories, make the consumer feel full, and give enough vitamins and carbohydrates to allow for survival in emergency conditions. Other similar brands include Datrex, Wise, and Quakekare.
Aside from consumables, there are a number of other items that are essential to survive a car emergency in hot weather. Of primary importance is keeping as cool as possible. A car provides a poor shield from sun and heat, so remaining inside it is a bad idea. Opt for a protective silver tarp that is big enough to cover all passengers.
A silver tarp protects better than other colors because of its ability to reflect light. A white tarp is also a good choice if silver is not available, but avoid dark colors that tend to absorb light. A simple frame to support the tarp will also help to provide a shaded area.
Sunblock is also important to prevent severe sunburn, because even with a tarp to protect passengers, sun exposure can still be dangerous. Also, make sure a flashlight is in the car. Should an emergency occur at night, having a flashlight will help passengers find the other emergency items and help to provide an awareness of the surroundings.
While it might seem counterintuitive, make sure that there is some sort of materials to start a fire. This may not be important during the day, but even hot places can become very cold at night. Having a fire not only helps keep passengers warm, it also serves as a kind of beacon for anybody who might be searching for the stranded party. A lighter and a commercial fireplace log, such as Duraflame, will fulfill this need.
Make sure that an unfortunate accident or breakdown does not turn into something much worse. Be prepared and know what is necessary to survive in a car emergency in seriously hot weather.