By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every winter, Minnesotans accidentally find themselves stuck in the snow — sometimes for hours, even for days.

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It happened to one Wisconsin couple vacationing in Wyoming last week. They were rescued after six days trapped in their car that was stuck in the snow. A rancher found them Monday morning and took them to safety.

So, we wondered: What do Minnesotans need to survive if they get stuck in the winter?

“Just really think about how uncomfortable it would be in a car if you were there for hours on end, or possibly days,” said Kris Eide, the head of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Minnesota.

The Public Safety Department put together a list of what people should carry in their cars:

— Three-pound coffee can filled with candle stubs and matches which can be used to melt snow for drinking water

— Metal or plastic cup

— Red bandanna and plastic whistle to alert rescuers

— Pencil and paper

— First aid kit

— Plastic flashlight with spare batteries

— Snack foods/water

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— Gloves, mittens, hats, winter boots

— Sleeping bag/blanket

— Jumper cables

— Shovel with sand or other grit for traction

— Tow cable or chain

— Road flares

AAA Minnesota-Iowa also offers a similar list. You can buy AAA Winter survival kits at stores like Target, Walmart and many camping supply shops. Most of the supplies will fit into a medium sized bag.

Eide says if you are stuck and keep your car running, make sure there is no blockage of the tailpipe. To conserve gas, turn on the car until you warm up and then turn it off.

She also says people should stay inside their cars if they get stuck.

“You’re not easy to find it a white-out situation,” she said. “You’re a lot smaller to find than even your vehicle is.”

Eide says people should not keep all of their supplies in the trunk just in case they can’t reach that area. A small blanket and flashlight should go in the glove compartment. And, always tell someone when and where you are headed if you are driving in bad weather conditions.

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“Whether it’s a short trip or long commute, you need to be prepared,” she said.

Heather Brown