The Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross has begun assembling and selling winter survival kits for this winter season. The kits come equipped with 67 items to aid stranded motorists in winter weather.
"So far this year, we haven't had much of a winter, but we don't know when winter is coming. We need to be prepared. Every car on the road should have a winter survival kit, it could really save you in an emergency," said Allan McGeough, executive director for the Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross winter survival kits were assembled by expanding on items that would be included in a personal survival kit. Winter supplies include a chemical hand warmer, a stove and soup pouches, light sticks and a flashlight, and a battery-operated radio.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Jennifer Smallin, American Red Cross Mid-Dakota Chapter volunteer, assembles winter survival kits.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Winter survival kits are available from the American Red Cross Mid-Dakota Chapter.
"Before we put the kits together, we did a fair amount of research into what's recommended by the Red Cross, in addition to what's recommended by other groups," McGeough said.
"We put all of the supplies into a kit that is compact enough to move around, yet still has everything you need, at a price you can afford," he said.
American Red Cross winter survival kits include the following:
+ water packet (2)
+ dust mask
+ first aid kit (42 items)
+ one pair of non-latex surgical gloves
+ tissue packet
+ cyalume lightstick (2)
+ AM/FM radio with speaker with AAA batteries
+ flashlight with AAA batteries
+ drop cloth plastic sheeting
+ duct tape
+ basic overnight kit (comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, wet-nap, soap, razor, shave cream and hand lotion)
+ foodbar (2400 calories)
+ chemical hand warmer (2 pack)
+ waterproof matches
+ emergency Mylar blanket
+ enamel or aluminum cup
+ stove with three fuel source pellets
+ two pouches of soup
McGeough explained how the kit can help if you're stranded on the road. The stove included in the kit, for example, is a product from Germany that is able to give off an intense amount of heat and is fairly smokeless. One fuel tablet is able to heat a car for 25 to 30 minutes, and fuel tablets can be blown out and reignited. The stove can also serve the purpose of thawing snow for water and heating food.
Stranded motorists can use the light sticks to place outside their car, helping individuals locate them. They can use the radio to listen for weather updates, and the 2400 calorie food bar to survive.
The supplies for the kit were purchased from different companies and are assembled at the Red Cross. One kit sells for $49.99, and can be purchased at the Red Cross in Minot.
McGeough said the most essential items were chosen for the kit.
"We (Red Cross staff) didn't see a whole lot of kits out there, and some that are out there didn't have all the essential things. You can spend up to $200 or $300 on one kit. We made a kit with the essential things but at the same time, we kept it affordable," McGeough said.
The Red Cross has had winter survival kits available for a number of years, but due to an increased interest in them, they have revamped the kits and have started assembling them earlier.
"We got more into it last year because of the harsh winter," McGeough said. "We had many people calling and asking about the kits. So this year, we decided to produce 200 kits before winter starts."
McGeough added that in addition to a winter survival kit, winter travelers should also carry jumper cables, a shovel, extra clothing and blankets.