Saturday, July 23, 2011

For Safety's Sake #3: What do you carry in your car's toolbox and emergency kit?

As promised, we’re now going to check to see what you carry in your car’s toolbox and emergency kit.

Keep in mind that it is now, theoretically, summer; so I’m guessing you’ve taken out the Yak-Trax, lock de-icer, and packages of hand and toe warmers. You have, haven’t you?

In the years I’ve been conducting sessions on Rural REALTOR Safety, I have amassed a list of some 153 items that we carry in our cars. The possible usefulness of a number of them has had to be explained to me, but I’m always willing to learn.

I understand and totally endorse the duct tape and the pry bar, the rope, hammer, various sizes of screwdrivers, tire gauge, nail file, and bug spray, and I completely agree that if you think you might need it, you’re justified in packing it along.

My personal list runs to about 65 items, and in addition to my regular toolbox, fills a plastic bin about the size of three laptops stacked on top of each other. This leaves plenty of room in your trunk for those signs and riders, lockboxes, measuring wheels, traction salt, and stuff you picked up at the yard sale on the way back from your last showing.

Of course I carry a small first aid kit containing: Antiseptic spray or wipes, adhesive bandages, scissors, tweezers, elastic bandage, tape, hand sanitizer, gauze, After-bite or its equivalent, and a cloth which can be used as a sling.

In addition, I take along any prescription medicines I currently need plus some OTC pain relievers and eye drops. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Now check your clothing situation. Hat, extra socks, extra underwear (well, you never know, do you?) and barn boots. Hunter orange plastic vests for you and your clients as well as a couple of hunter orange bandanas for their dog(s). They will love you for thinking of that.

A bit of food. Not for snacking! For emergencies only. That little empty corner of your tummy after lunch does not constitute “an emergency”. Granola bars are probably the best and have a decent shelf life. Hard candy is good too, and, yes, if you haven’t already heard the “Legend of Mary’s Candy Canes”, it’s true. Check with me in person sometime on that one. Seriously, every year or so we hear of someone who has gone off the road in a storm and survived for six days on some fuzzy, hard candy they found under the passenger seat.

Then you’ve got water, blanket, whistle, flashlight and extra batteries, matches, a bit of extra cash stashed somewhere other than on your person, latex or rubber gloves, light bulb, umbrella, toilet paper, tissues, towel, wash cloth, liquid soap, garbage bag, small plastic bags, and a shovel.

You can improvise with many of these items to fill other needs, i.e. water and tissues can be used to clean headlights; plastic bags can be used as gloves; candy canes can be used… oh, yes, we were going to talk about that later.

The basic thing to remember is that preparation takes but a little time and thought but will pay off, big-time, if you find yourself in a tricky situation. Tossing in those extra batteries for the flashlight will not only make your search for the breaker box less frightening, but will get you more points for professionalism with your clients, and, possibly move you safely closer to a sale.

That is what this is all about, isn’t it?

Mary Kuykendall is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker Heritage Real Estate in Bangor; and the 2011 Greater Bangor Association's REALTOR of the Year


Paula Broydrick said...

What a great article, Mary! And you're a terrific writer. Thanks for all the good ideas presented with good humor!

Jo Ann said...

You do a great job of reminding us what we should do for our own sake! Thank you, thank you. And, I STILL have my candy canes in the car!