Whether you manage a fleet of work vans or drive them in your business, you always want to be prepared for any emergency that happens while you’re on the road. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the warm rains of summer or the icy conditions of winter, traveling on the road can be unpredictable and unforgiving. Being prepared is your best defense against any problems.
Just as you have equipment like GPS for navigating or tracking or computer chips that help with predictive maintenance, one of the essential accessories your work van upfit should have is an emergency kit. By being prepared for just about any emergency that happens, you can use the on-board kit until help arrives.
Building Your First Aid Kit
According to the American Red Cross, a basic first aid kit should have a pair of non-latex gloves, 5X9 absorbent compress dressings, bandages and gauze, scissors, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone ointment, a breathing mask with a one-way valve, over-the-counter pain relievers, antacids, an instant cold pack and a first-aid booklet.
One other essential item to include is a certified rescue blanket. The blanket is a crucial component if your vehicle is stuck on the road in the middle of winter. It will help keep the driver or passenger warm until help arrives.
Another critical item to have in your kit is a high-visibility vest or jacket for each occupant of the work van. It should be a bright fluorescent color with highly reflective stripes on both the front and back and should be used along with flares or safety cones to alert oncoming traffic to a hazard. Nobody should be walking around the vehicle at night without one.
Speaking of flares, they should be in the emergency kit, as well. They work in all types of conditions, including fog and snow. The best part of flares is that they don’t require any power source to run them. Also, they are a universal sign of trouble, unlike flashlights or other devices.
Flashlights should also be a part of an emergency kit, even though they require batteries. (Extra batteries should be in the package and replaced frequently). They are needed to light exterior areas if changing a tire, for example, or to help check fluid levels or cables under the hood.
Additional Safety Items
Depending on where the vehicles are driven, other items to have in your emergency kit should include necessary tools, jumper cables, a spare tire, duct tape, and a cell phone charger. While one doesn’t think of a spare tire and tire changing equipment as part of an emergency kit, including them will ensure that they are available if needed. Some people also include bottled water and non-perishable food items like protein bars. Others include local maps of the areas that the vans will be driving through. Every emergency is different, so having these items in your first aid kit can help to solve a lot of problems.
Another critical item to keep in each vehicle is a fire extinguisher. There are many different types of extinguishers on the market, but most people go with an “ABC” or multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The “ABC” relates to Class A fires, which involve material fires like wood, paper, or cloth; Class B fires that involve combustible and flammable liquids like gasoline and oil-based products; and Class C fires, that involve electrical fires. The multipurpose extinguisher works on all three types.
It should be standard procedure to continually update the emergency kits as needed, replacing items that are expired like batteries, food or water, fire extinguishers, and other things that require regular replacement. Also, have a standard place to keep the emergency kit in each van, so everyone knows where to find it.