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Preparing for a Disaster: 5 Things to Do, Just in Case

Everybody knows to have candles and batteries, but what else should you have on hand?

Sandy, Sandy, Sandy. Will you be a day of rough seas and great beach combing or a power-outing-roof-ripping-basement-flooding monstrosity?

No one really knows for sure, so we'll take precautions, starting with these five tips courtesy of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Authority, which has built an extensive website to help citizens plan and prepare.

Ready.gov offers instructions on how to ready your family, your home, your car and even your business for an emergency. The site includes tips specific to disasters common in our area such as hurricanes, home fires and blackouts.

Here are five things Patch found that can help you get ready:

1.  Build a tailor-made kit

You're smart enough to build a kit with food and water, but FEMA suggests making sure you include foods your family will actually eat. If you're kids have never eaten a bean in their life, maybe a disaster isn't the time to present them with a can of cold red kidney beans.  Lucky for us, Sandy comes when the pantry is already stocked with Halloween candy.Also don't forget high-energy foods like protein bars and, FEMA suggests, skip salty foods that will make you thirsty.

2.  How much water is enough?

Speaking of thirsty, FEMA suggests storing one gallon for each person for three days. Click here for more tips about what not to use to store your water.

3.  Some non-food items you should have in your kit:

  • Duct tape, plastic sheeting and dust masks in case you need to shelter in.
  • Whistle to alert responders to your location
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Baby wipes and garbage bags for personal sanitation
  • A can opener
  • (Click here for the full list)

4.  Make a national communication plan.

If you've got relatives out of state, they may be just the ones you need when your local friends and family are mired in a disaster. Your Uncle Louie in Detroit or Aunt Emmy in Tampa could be the point person if you and your family become separated. FEMA also offers a PDF family emergency plan you can fill out and email to family and friends. There is also a PDF contact card that kids can carry with them. (We've included both above this story below the photo).

5.  What about the dog? 

Sandy, like Irene, could bring an evacuation to our area. If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency. For some pet specific tips, click here.

For more information on how to prepare for everything from a blackout to a cyber-attack, visit www.Ready.gov.



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