First Alert - How to make an emergency car kit

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) It doesn't take a lot of snow or ice to become stranded on the side of the road and depending on the circumstances, you may be stuck there for a while.

As we head into the winter months you should prepare now by having an emergency kit in your car.

The first step to any emergency kit is figuring out how much space you have to work with.

"When we're talking about size of kits, maybe this works great in your trunk of your car. Maybe you don't have that kind of vehicle. Maybe you have a truck and you just have a little room underneath in the front part of your cab. So, have smaller packs," Pennington County Emergency Management deputy director Alexa White said.

Now that we have the appropriate sized container, let's talk about what we need to put in it.

"A little bit of food and water. So, that might be granola bars that might be a jerky stick or something like that to give you a little energy. A water bottle," White said.

Food that will not freeze or does not need to be warmed up, items to keep you warm like gloves, hats or jackets, plus items that will help if you become stranded.

"Some chains, maybe some jumper cables. Things that would get you to a warm area faster if you needed to use that for your vehicle," White said.

Besides emergency kits, there are a few other things to check on your car.

"With your windshield wiper fluid, that would be a great time to put the non–freezing fluid in there so that can help you," White said.

Make sure you have plenty of gas. Always treat a half tank like it is empty.

"Always have some gas in your car. That way if you are stuck somewhere, you can turn that on and use it for heat intermittently to keep warm if you were in there overnight," White said.

What should you do if you do get stuck.

"You wanna be aware of carbon monoxide. Make sure your tail pipe is not blocked by snow. Keep that clear so those toxins are not coming back into your car with you. You're safer to stay with your car where you can be found and maybe turn the lights on and flash them. So that people know that there's somebody in there," White said.

Check the electronic items in your kit to make sure the batteries are working.

"As we were pulling this kit out today (Thursday), we found that this one works and this one doesn't. The battery is dead," White said.

Having an emergency kit in your car is important no matter how many or few miles you drive.

"Well, as we found, when we have a large snowstorm about three years ago, it didn't matter how close you were to home. You might have spent the night in your car because of the amount of snow that fell," White said.

Most, if not all of these items will run a total of nearly $40.

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