NDSU Extension - Mercer County


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Prepare Now for Winter Travel Safety

Winter Travel Safety, Winter Travel Kit, Winter Survival Kit Smartphone App, Winter Weather Preparation, Myriad Devices

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

As winter approaches, your thoughts might turn to what to do if you become stuck in your car during a winter storm. Some items the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends you include in a winter travel kit:

•Blanket/sleeping bag


•Windshield scraper

•Battery-powered or crank radio



•Nonperishable snack food (candy bars, raisins, dried fruit, granola bars)

•Extra warm clothes, such as insulated coveralls, jacket, hat, gloves, socks, and boots

•Tow chain or rope

•Tire chains

•Road salt, sand or non-skid mats (for traction, if stuck)

•Fluorescent distress flag (a bright bandanna tied to an antenna will work)

•Jumper/booster cables

•Emergency flares or reflectors

• First aid kit

•Two or more day supply of medications

•Candle, coffee can, and matches (stored in waterproof container)


It’s also a great time to download the Winter Survival Kit smartphone app. The Winter Survival Kit app from the North Dakota State University Extension Service can help motorists stuck in winter weather. It can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions. The app is available free for Android and iOS systems.

The app will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family, calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. You can use the Winter Survival Kit app to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance. You also can designate emergency contacts you want to alert when you become stranded.

If you become stranded, the Winter Survival Kit app will help you determine your geographic location and contact emergency services. The app's gas calculator will help you estimate how long you can run your engine on your remaining fuel.

The Winter Survival Kit app will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to turn off your vehicle's engine periodically and check the exhaust pipe for snow buildup. These alerts are critical in helping you avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Winter Survival Kit app also provides NDSU Extension Service information on how to put together a physical winter survival kit, prepare your vehicle for winter driving and stay safe when stranded in a storm or stuck in snow.

The app was developed by Myriad Devices, a company founded by students and faculty in the NDSU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and College of Business. The NDSU Extension Service provided design and content input, and funded the project with a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Smith-Lever Special Needs grant.

This is the second smartphone app developed jointly by the NDSU Extension Service and Myriad Devices with NIFA support. The Disaster Recovery Journal app lets users record information about home inventory and/or damages as they enter their flooded homes.

Learn more about the apps at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/extension/apps.

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