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When disaster strikes!

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Are you prepared?

When disaster strikes, families need to know where to find the stuff they need. A flashlight's a good start, but it's not enough. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), your family should gather up supplies and keep them all together in a cabinet or in a plastic tub. This Family Disaster kit will provide your family with the bare essentials.

Drawing of disaster preparedness supplies, including canned food, drinking water, toilet tissue, flashlight, and batteries. Other things are implied to be in the plastic bin.

FEMA recommends storing a three-day supply of non-perishable food. If your house is snowed in during a blizzard, or you lose electricity for several days, having food on hand that won't spoil is essential. Canned foods such as fruit and veggies, meat and tuna, soup and juice can be stored for a long time. Just make sure you pack a can opener with all the supplies.

You should also keep high-energy snacks, like granola bars and trail mix in your kit, too. Keep some crackers to eat with peanut butter and jelly, and don't forget snacks that'll keep you and your family in a good mood—cookies, candy, and other treats. Sugar, salt, and pepper will go a long way to spruce up some of your meals.

Water is the most important item to have on hand; you should always store one gallon per person or pet, per day. You'll use half a gallon for drinking and the other half for washing. You'll need to treat your water to keep it safe for drinking.

Every family member should have warm clothes and shoes stored in the kit. Blankets and sleeping bags are important, too. You'll need a complete first-aid kit, and other items, like toilet paper, a sewing kit, and various tools. You'll want to pack matches, flashlights (and spare batteries), and don't forget a radio with extra batteries, so you know what's going on outside.

Look through the family emergency disaster kit below for more detailed descriptions of the supplies needed to be prepared for a disaster.