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16 Must-Have Emergency Kit Items to Survive a Storm

Be prepared to survive a storm of any size by creating a kit for your home. Consider these 16 must-haves to start on your family’s storm survival kit today.

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Storage

Storage

Start your emergency kit with the right container. Look for water- and air-tight containers like heavy-duty plastic tubs with latching lids. Store smaller items inside in air-tight plastic storage bags. Make sure your storage box is easy to access and clearly marked so it's you can find it in a power outage.

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Water

Water

Store unopened bottled drinking water in a cool, dark place next to your emergency kit. Calculate 1 gallon per adult per day. If you know a severe storm is on its way, it's a good idea to plug and fill a bathtub with water to use for hygiene and sanitation in addition to your stored drinking water. Plus: Storm Survival Guide

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Food

Food

Store a three-day supply of nonperishable food in your emergency kit, and cycle out once or twice a year, checking expiration dates. Canned vegetables, soups, energy bars and unsalted nuts have long shelf lives. Make sure to include a can opener and any utensils needed to consume the packed food. Check out clever kitchen pantry storage ideas here.

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First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

An essential piece to any survival kit is first aid. Store supplies to treat minor injuries like cuts, wounds, pain and burns. Consider any prescription medications taken in the household, and make sure you have enough on hand to get through an emergency. Find more tips for creating an emergency kit here.

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Toiletries

Toiletries

These items may not seem important until you run out of them. You'll be happy you packed toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste, diapers and hand sanitizer when you need it. Plus: Clever Bathroom Storage Tips

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Radio

Radio

When the power goes out, all your technology batteries will eventually run down. Keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio in your emergency kit to tune in to important storm warnings and other emergency information. To prevent corrosion, store batteries uninstalled and separate from the radio. Plus: Tips for lithium ion battery care.

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Flashlight or Lantern

Flashlight or Lantern

Make sure you have everything you need to navigate the dark during a storm, including a flashlight or lantern. Don't forget extra batteries! A flashlight is a great gift for new homeowners. Here's a collection of additional ideas for gifts new homeowners may not even know they need.

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Candles & Matches

Candles & Matches

When battery power fails, its essential to have a backup lighting source like candles and matches. Store matches in a water-safe container. And be sure you don't leave any candles unattended. You don't want to start a fire and have another emergency on your hands. Here are some life-saving tips for preventing home fires.

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Heat Source

Heat Source

An indoor propane heater or camp stove can be a welcome warmth during a storm. Look for one that's compact, and make absolutely sure the heater or stove is safe for indoor use. Plus: Tips for Using Emergency Generators

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Utility Knife

Utility Knife

A camp knife or multi tool can serve many purposes during a storm. Look for one with a sharp blade, scissors, tweezers, and screwdriver. Another great multi-tasker to pack is duct tape.

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Blankets and Clothing

Blankets and Clothing

Depending on your climate, it's best to keep an extra set of clothing, as well as warm comforts like blankets, hats and gloves in your emergency kit. Mylar emergency blankets are thin, lightweight and easy to pack.

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Contact Information

Contact Information

Today it's easy to look up contact information on your cell phone instantly, but when internet, power and phone towers are down, how much information do you have memorized? Keep a list of emergency contact information, such as loved ones' phone numbers and addresses, hospital information, power company contact numbers, and which radio stations broadcast storm information.

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GamesGilmanshin/Shutterstock

Games

Weathering the storm can take time, and with time comes boredom. For your own sanity, pack a deck of cards, small board game or books to pass the time. A notepad and pen and permanent marker can be useful in a number of situations too.

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Cash

Cash

Post storm, ATMs and credit/debit card machines could still be down. Make sure you have a backup supply of cash to buy any emergency supplies or food needed when stores are unable to accept any other form of payment.

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Activities for ChildrenFamily Handyman

Activities for Children

If you have children in the home, it can be difficult to calm and entertain them during a frightening storm. Consider packing some items that will comfort them, like favorite books or blankets, as well as activities that will keep them occupied like coloring books or puzzles.

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Pet SuppliesFamily Handyman

Pet Supplies

Don't forget your fury family members. Store enough pet food and water to meet their needs during an emergency, too. A leash or tie-out can also be helpful to contain a nervous pet. Plus: Don't forget to stock your vehicle with 15 Things You Need in Your Car Year Round