Truck drivers are at the mercy of the roads every time they go out on trucking jobs. Whether they are dealing with sudden snow storms up north or frequent flooding along riverbank locales, there is always the possibility that a trucker will experience bad weather when hauling freight. On top of that we have the dangers of fires, tornadoes, and even social unrest, particularly following a feisty election season. Then there are the times when a trucker breaks down in the middle of one of the last places on Earth not to have cell phone service or a Wi-Fi connection, leaving them stranded and alone. In order to protect yourself and prevent bad situations from becoming deadly pack an emergency supply kit that could very well save your life one day.
Getting Started with an Emergency Bag
The first thing you need to do is find a bag for storing your supplies. This will be your kit bag, so it needs to be waterproof, wear resistant, and easy to carry. Consider getting either a duffel bag or a hiking backpack. As a tip, the Osprey brand of backpacks is top of the line in comfort and performance without breaking the bank. The idea is that you will carry this bag with your entire supply kit with you in an emergency situation so you want a bag that works for your body type.
The Supplies for an Emergency Kit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established a thorough list of everything you might possibly need in an emergency. However, the needs of a trucker vary, so we’ve compiled a list that is adjusted for over the road truck drivers in a jam. Start by making a list according to the following categories:
Trucking tools and equipment
Food and water
Medical supplies and personal hygiene necessities
You will want to make a list that is exclusive to your own needs, as you know what will serve you best. For example, while the CDC suggests bringing supplies to take care of others, such as infants and pets, this may not apply to you. However, if you do have a rider regular, such as your child, a spouse or a dog, you would want to include a category for them as well.
Trucking Tools and Equipment
In this category you would want to include things like tire gauges and extra clamps. However, since you are a commercial truck driver you will already have all of these items including tools on hand in a tool box per your DOT inspection requirements. You will not need to add these to your supply bag to haul around. At the same rate you do want to have all of these supplies in a toolbox or plastic crate so that you can easily access them to take along in an emergency situation, such as a flood or fire in your rig.
Food and Water
As for these essentials you can’t live without food and water. You want to have enough food to last for three days, and the food items you select need to be shelf stable. Look for items like tuna and crackers, peanut butter and pretzels, dried fruit, hummus packs, canned beans, jerky, and other high protein/carb combos. As for water you need to have one gallon per day for yourself, more if you have riders. This will need to be able to fit in your supply bag with everything else, so consider using four individually bottled liters. You should also toss a water purification kit in your bag in case you have to source water from an unclean tap. Check your food and water supply monthly to ensure it hasn’t leaked out or spoiled.
Medical Supplies and Personal Hygiene
Start with a full sized first aid kit that is always stocked. Then add prescriptions and over the counter meds that you use as needed. If you do have a prescribed medicine include a copy of your prescription to have it refilled if needed. In terms of personal hygiene uncleanliness breeds bacteria and germs that can be deadly in a survival situation. Include moist towelettes, mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to help keep you clean.
This is often the last thing people think about when supplying an emergency kit over the road. However, frostbite and sun exposure are two of the most deadly situations you can face in an OTR emergency. Pack enough clothing to last for three days along with compact laundry detergent soap sheets to wash dirty clothing. Keep in mind you will need to update your supply kit every time the seasons change so you aren’t stuck with wool underwear in the summer time.