Watching the struggles of thousands of people in the wake of Superstorm Sandy wasn't easy, especially if you've been through a similar experience. But, it does serve as a good reminder to put together a disaster preparedness kit if you don't have one. Better safe than sorry, and it's not that complicated or expensive to be prepared.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a suggested plan for putting a disaster kit together. Among the elements in the kit, they recommend the following:
• Assume you’re not going to have clean drinking water. Set aside three gallons of water everyone in the household, including pets. You may also want to keep a container of plain household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to make disinfectant or purify water.
• No electricity means you won’t have refrigeration, so have a three-day supply of non-perishable food. A manual can opener is probably obvious. Put aside extra pet food as well.
• A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and weather radio.
• A flashlight. More than one won’t hurt .
• Wrenches and pliers to turn off utilities, such as water or gas.
• A whistle to signal for help.
• A dust mask.
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape to help rig an emergency shelter if necessary. If you enjoy camping, you may already have a tent you can use in an emergency.
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
• Local maps and a compass.
• Emergency chargers for cell phones. Solar chargers, inverters or emergency battery chargers may be the only way for you to reach loved ones or help.
• Batteries. Extra, lots and of the right sizes to power your emergency devices.
• Baby formula and diapers.
• Travelers' checks.
• Matches in a waterproof container.
• Prescription medicines and glasses.
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