Tag Archives: Michigan State University

What to Include in Your Emergency Car Kit


Planning on taking a drive to visit some of the must-see sites in Michigan’s Upper Thumb? When it comes to safety on the road, we should all have an emergency kit in our cars. In order to decide what to put in your kit, you need to take into account the weather in your area (here in Michigan, we know it will often be cold and snowy!) and what items will suit your family’s needs.

Your kit should be divided into three separate areas. These include (1) items you keep accessible in your car, (2) emergency items for an auto breakdown—I keep these in the compartment with my spare tire, and (3) emergency items to take with you in the event that you have to abandon your vehicle on the road. I suggest packing the third group of items in a backpack with multiple compartments to make it easy to carry.

Aside from your emergency kit, you should always travel with a fully-charged cell phone and keep a car charger in your vehicle at all times. If you don’t have a smartphone with GPS (or a GPS system integrated into your vehicle), consider buying a stand-alone unit. And, when you live in Michigan (or any other cold, snowy climate), make sure that you have snow tires (or chains) to put on your car in the autumn.

Items to Keep Accessible

  • Small tool kit. This can include a multi-bit screwdriver, scissors, pliers, box cutter, tape, and Allen wrench.
  • $50 or $100 in small bills, hidden in your center console. If you’re stuck and need food or a hotel room, this stash could be a lifesaver!
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Several bottles of water
  • Ice scraper and snowbrush
  • Adhesive bandages and antibiotic cream
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or a hand-crank model
  • Umbrella and rain poncho
  • Extra medication if you have a medical condition and rely on prescriptions.
  • Extra hats, gloves, scarves, and earmuffs (or 180s)
  • Car safety hammer and seatbelt cutter. This item is one you’ll want to have within arm’s reach. Some models feature velcro strips for easy attachment.


Car Breakdown Items

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Three reflective warning triangles. Most kits come with one, but you should have three of them to place at 50-foot intervals to warn oncoming traffic.
  • Emergency flares
  • Foam tire sealant
  • Spare tire, tire iron, and jack
  • Jumper cables (the longer the better)
  • Tow strap rated to tow 6,000 pounds
  • 550 Paracord. It can be used for just about anything.
  • Assorted bungee cords. These are great for a loose bumper, muffler, or for tying your trunk down.
  • Shovel
  • Cat litter. If you’re stuck, cat litter works as well as sand to give you traction in icy conditions, but it’s much lighter.
  • Ice fishing supplies. If you get stuck near a lake in the winter, what better way to take your mind off the fact that you’re lost! (That’s a joke, although you certainly could bring them along if you’re so inclined.)


Mobile Emergency Kit

  • Hand crank flashlight with NOAA radio and USB port. This is a great multi-use tool that will allow you to hear emergency broadcasts, weather forecasts, and to charge your cell phone in the event that your car charger won’t work.
  • First aid kit and first aid manual
  • Duct tape. Astronauts take it into space as a multi-use tool, so you should take a roll on the road!
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Space blankets. These are compact and lightweight, so you might as well pack a few.
  • Non-perishable snacks. I keep protein bars in my pack and check them every 6 months or so to see if they need to be replaced. The chocolate-coated ones are fine in cold weather months, but avoid having these in your car in the summer!
  • Waterproof matches/lighter/long burning emergency candles. These are staples in any emergency kit and can be used to start a fire, provide light, and even boil water.
  • Maps and a compass. Of course, you’ll need to know how to use them. There are a number of online tutorials available if you need to brush up on your map and compass skills. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to read a map, and one on how to use a compass.
  • Loud whistle or air-horn. These can act as a beacon to help emergency workers find you if you’re lost or injured. Keep several whistles on lanyards in your pack, one for every family member.
  • Glowsticks. Not only will these amuse the kids, they can also help you to keep track of your family in low-light situations.
  • A pack of cards, travel-size games, or a paperback book. If you’re in a situation that you have to wait out, this can alleviate the boredom.

Specialty Items

These are things that you may need, depending on your family composition. If you have a baby, you might want to keep some extra diapers, diaper rash ointment, baby wipes, and canned or powdered formula stashed in your car. If you regularly travel with a family pet, have an extra leash, some sealed dog (or cat) food, and a collapsible pet bowl in your car.

Be Prepared for Any Contingency

A well-stocked car will save you a lot of hassle down the road! You can learn more about preparing an emergency kit tailored to your specific needs from the Department of Homeland Security and the DMV websites.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Highways Agency and Mike P.


NMU Student Study Shows Michigan’s Proposal 3 May Lead to Deforestation

(Developing) Marquette Michigan –  Northern Michigan University undergrad students doing research on the net effects of Michigan’s Proposal 3, up for vote during the 2012 election, found some surprising effects. The Proposal tagged “25% by ’25” has aggressive targets for renewable and bio-fuel production in Michigan. In order to achieve these targets the raw material required may exceed the current supply of bio-fuel producing resources such as waste materials, agricultural field cuttings and debris generated from logging. The net effect would be to turn to forest products particularly Aspen which is common in Michigan and quickly matures. However the available raw forest materials are estimated to be quickly depleted as the consumption of fuel is anticipated to grow through the next decade. Students note that many forestry operators may refuse to participate as it would deplete long term supply of higher grade timber and wood pulp product which is at a premium.

Laker Golf Team Blasts through a Crowded Field to Finish 9th Statewide.

East Lansing Michigan – The Elkton-Pigeon Bay Port Laker Golf team hustled and took every advantage to end up playing in the State finals at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers-West Golf Course for a shot at the State title on June 15-16.  This was a great year for the Laker team that included accomplishments of winning back to back district titles and taking 3rd at regional’s held in Bay City.

The Laker golf team, won the final qualifying spot to end up on the final roster of among 120 total teams competing for the 2012 MHSAA Boys Finals. The placement at regional’s and a top ten finish took some of the sting out of missing the State Finals by two strokes last year, said Coach Charlie Henry.  The Laker’s Golf Squad finishes the season with a 70-15 win/loss record.

The final individual scores of the Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s – 351 – 349 – 700

  • Drew Lawrence – 84 – 80 – 164
  • Tyler Matteson – 84 – 85 – 169
  • Adam Hazzard – 90 – 88 – 178
  • Wade Foltz – 93 – 97 – 190
  • Gary Maes II – 100 – 96 – 196

Final Team Standings 2012 MHSAA LP Division 4 Boys Finals

(First Day – Second Day – Total)

1.         Lake Leelanau St Mary – 318 – 306 – 624

2.         Kalamazoo Hackett – 316 – 313 – 629

3.         Saginaw Nouvel – 321 – 311 – 632

4.         AH Oakland Christian – 321 – 321 – 642

5.         Kalamazoo Christian – 348 – 330 – 678

6.         Fowler – 340 – 339 – 679

7.         Suttons Bay – 339 – 341 – 680

8.         New Lothrop – 341 – 344 – 685

9.         Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker – 351 – 349 – 700

10.       Ann Arbor Greenhills – 352 – 353 – 705

11.       Muskegon W Mich Christian – 353 – 360 – 713

12.       Manistee Catholic Central – 371 – 350 – 721

13.       Frankfort – 364 – 360 – 724

14.       Rochester Hills Lutheran NW – 377 – 366 – 743

15.       Gobles – 383 – 365 – 748