Roadside Essentials – Don’t Hit the Road Without These!

Are you already thinking about summer and hitting the highway for a few road trips? Well, don’t forget your emergency kit!

The time is approaching where it’s time to get those dreams realized, get those vacation brochures out and plan your summer trip. Camping? Driving cross country? Maybe going to the amusement park? Wherever your summer takes you, you need to make sure you have this: An emergency roadside supply kit to get you out of a bad situation and back on the road to fun. Even if you had your car checked from “bumper to bumper,” stuff happens. Whether it’s a flat tire or something in the road that gets caught in a belt, you’ll know you’ll be prepared for whatever the summer season has in store for you.

There are a handful of items that every caravan should have in its trunk. Most of these items can be located around the house or garage. A couple of items can be picked up at a hardware or parts store at a low cost. When it comes to the emergency kit, you’ll have to remember: The benefits out-weigh the price tag. Even more importantly, these items will fit into a portable file box or an old duffle bag, so you’ll have more room for luggage or other goods.

1) Battery jump box: Throw away those jumper cables! A battery jump box – which has 101 uses – can save your summer vacation. Accidentally leave the lights on while trying to get the family out of the car for an event? Need a quick charge on your cell phone? Need an extra electrical outlet for a camping item? The battery jump box is your answer! The cost is around $35 to 45 and can be purchased at a big box retail or home improvement store.

2) Tire puncture sealer: This easy to use tire inflator, sealer is a great get you out of a jam product. There is nothing more deflating during a summer trip to come out into the parking lot and see a tire flat on your vehicle. The quick fix to get you to the repair shop for a proper fix? Self-inflating, sealer all compact into a pressurized can. Remember: this is a point A to point B – from the incident to the repair shop — fix! Don’t rely upon it long term! As a courtesy, let the shop know you installed the additive when checking in with the advisor.

3) First aid kit: You never know when walking in the wrong shoes will give you a blister. Catch yourself on a sharp object and cut your finger? How many times have we been looking through papers and got one of those notorious paper cuts? Why do a search and rescue in a strange town for a drug store when you can have all the essentials in your emergency tool kit? Band-Aids, antiseptic, sunburn spray – items you already have in the medicine cabinet – can be within reach within seconds in your kit.

4) Small tool kit: You never know when you might need to make a minor repair on the family truckster this vacation. A burned out tail light bulb? A dangling front bumper air dam? Something you can repair in the driveway with little effort, but need to fix before traveling forward. Small screwdriver set, utility knife, tie-straps, small socket set – all things you find in your garage – can mean the difference of going forward fast or wasting time waiting for a repair at an out of town shop.

5) Duct tape: What a great product with a 1001 uses – at least! Whether it’s putting a temporary fix on an inflatable beach toy, anchoring an object to another or securing a bumper skin after a minor fender bender, this product is a must in every emergency tool kit. And, you don’t have to get the fancy colors or designs. This is strictly for utility use and recommend keeping your monies for souvenirs and purchasing the plain-Jane, gray tape. It’s just as effective.

6) Sealed snacks and drinks: You never know what life’s going to throw at you and this includes a road-side breakdown or accident. Waiting for emergency personnel or a tow truck is no fun. And, sometimes, events like these can turn into hours, so if you or a loved one needs to have a snack every so often to keep health issues in check, I always recommend having sealed snacks – like peanut butter and crackers or sealed packet of fruit juice — to keep you on the road, even if your vehicle isn’t.

7) Mosquito spray: No one likes dealing with the discomfort of a mosquito bite – especially while trying to enjoy a game of mini-golf, outdoor movie or a fishing expedition during summer vacation. The easy fix? Keep mosquito repellant ready. It doesn’t matter if it’s an organic or commercial product, whatever the medium, keep it handy for those after dusk, pre-dawn activities

8) Second set of keys: And, I’m not talking about going out and purchasing another $300 to $500 key to start your vehicle. Everyone needs a backup key. Moving suitcases out of the trunk and the keys accidently get locked inside? Preoccupied with children only to find your keys in the ignition after the doors are locked? Keep money in your wallet and purchase a $10 door lock key – cheaper than a locksmith – to get you out of that jam. I recommend keeping it in an under the car “hide a key” container – easily accessible to you.

9) List of emergency phone numbers: You’ll never know what to do when you’re in a jam and your cell phone is MIA. A printed, emergency phone number list will help get you out of that situation. Accidents, lost smart phones, strange cities can really get a person discombobulated. But, getting in touch with a trusted friend or relative for help is your key to getting you back on the road – fast!

10) Clear painter’s tarp: Want to keep those wet, sandy beach toys from soaking into the car carpet? Have a window that is in the stuck-down position and it’s going to rain? Trying to keep that dirty, nasty blown-out tire away from the suitcases? No time like the present to get out your $1.99 clear painter’s tarp from your emergency roadside kit! This compact, disposal item is a must for that emergency tool kit in the trunk. With a 101 uses, clear painter’s tarp will make life a little easier this summer vacation.

11) Pet provisions: Taking Fido and Fluffy on the road with you? Don’t forget a 1-day backup supply of food, water and pet waste pickup provisions. Also, that list of pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, too. You want to make sure that your furry friends are stress-free, making your trip worry-free.

12) Backup ATM card: Lost your wallet? Need funds fast before the credit card company overnight’s your replacement? Nothing like a pre-paid ATM card to rescue your trip. You can choose any amount according to your budget. And, if you don’t need it for an emergency during your trip? Use it to pay for pizza and drinks when you get back home.

13) LED flares: Remember those nasty, smoky flares you would see on the road when someone “broke-down?” Fast forward to the future: Reusable, LED emergency road flares are now available at a minimal cost – between $10 to $14 – at major home improvement stores or auto parts store.

We hope that this list helped you out! And we also want to remind you that Pop-A-Lock Jacksonville offers Emergency Roadside Assistance if you’re ever in a jam!

Pop-A-Lock Launches Educational Awareness Series To Support Caregivers With Essential Tools to Keep Children Safe

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Summer Safety

With the start of summer, thoughts turn to the school year’s end, family vacations and swimming in the community pool.  However, in addition to typical safety concerns that most parents share – such as wearing sunscreen, bug bites and talking to strangers – Pop-A-Lock wants parents and caregivers to be informed about:

  • Keeping “latch-key” children safe and secure during summer vacation while their parents are at work;
  • Keeping one’s home secure while on summer vacation; and
  • The extreme – and sometimes fatal – dangers of locking a child in a vehicle during soaring summer temperatures.
pal saves kids
PAL Saves Kids, a FREE Emergency Door Unlock Program


The PALSavesKids Program is aimed to support local police and firefighters, and the program educates parents to first call 9-1-1, and then call 1-800-Pop-A-Lock.  The Pop-A-Lock technician nearest to the scene will leave all other priorities aside to arrive as soon as possible to unlock the child from the automobile. This free community service was originally launched in 1991 and since then has saved thousands of children. The following are some daunting facts about the severity of leaving children in locked vehicles:

The Department of Earth and Climate Sciences at San Francisco State University cites that: “Last year, 2013, there were at least forty-four deaths of children in vehicles; thirty-nine of which have been confirmed as heatstroke and five which, based upon the known circumstances, are most likely heatstroke.”

Since 1998, media reports about the total 606 child vehicular heatstroke deaths shows the following circumstances:

  • 52% – child “forgotten” by caregiver (316 Children)
  • 29% – child playing in unattended vehicle (175)                                                 
  • 18% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult  (108)
  • 1% – circumstances unknown (6)

To prevent these situations from occurring, Pop-A-Lock’s PALSavesKids program includes a call-to-action:“PALSaves 1-2-3.”

The “1-2-3” reminds caregivers to “look before you lock” by:

  • 1-stopping;
  • 2-looking; and then
  • 3- locking.  

PALSavesKids’ mascot, PALS Puppy, is a gentle reminder to caregivers to always look in the backseat before leaving the vehicle.  Specific recommendations on using the PALS Puppy as a visual reminder are noted in the campaign’s “PALSaves 1-2-3” Tips Sheet.  The following is an excerpt:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
  • Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., on the floorboard in the back seat.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal or favorite toy in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the stuffed animal or toy in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that anytime the stuffed animal or toy is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.

“We launched this program in 1991 to educate caregivers about the severe dangers of leaving children in unattended vehicles or mistakenly locking a child in an automobile,” said Don Marks, CEO of Pop-A-Lock.  “By using our expertise in the security industry, we are able to quickly and efficiently remove children from harm.  This program is one of the numerous ways we give back to the community.”

 For more information about Pop-A-Lock, Pop-A-Lock’s Summer Safety Educational Awareness Series, or the PALSavesKids Emergency Door Unlock Program, please visit: and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@popalock).