What's Inside Your Family Survival Kit

When natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods or tornadoes strike, you may have only a few hours' notice to evacuate your home. What comes with you? Fill one or two heavy-duty storage containers with must-have items now so you'll be free to focus on getting your family out safely in an emergency.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), your kit should contain the basics: food, cooking utensils and cleaning and safety products. "Staying hydrated is essential, since humans and pets can survive longer without food than without water," says the ADA's Ruth Frechman. Here, the survival kit tools you can't live without.

Food:
• Water (one gallon per day per person)
• Canned juices, shelf-stable milk, instant coffee and tea
• Pre-packaged beverages (those juice boxes may come in handy!)
• Instant oatmeal, granola bars, trail mix, low-salt crackers, unsalted nuts
• Ready-to-eat canned meat, vegetables, fruit and soup
• Packets of sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup and other condiments

Cooking:
• Can opener
• Waterproof matches
• Heavy-duty aluminum foil
• Paper towels, paper plates, cups, plastic utensils
• Dry ice packs

Cleaning and Hygiene
• Large plastic trash bags, a trash can (which can be used to store other kit items)
• Bar soap, liquid detergent, bleach
• Toilet paper
• Toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, sunscreen and other toiletries

Safety
• Essential medication (for family and pets)

• First-aid kit
• Extra eyeglasses, sturdy shoes for all family members, extra socks
• Flashlight, portable radio, batteries
• Rubber gloves, mask
• Tent, inflatable mattress
• Hammer, screwdriver, pliers, duct tape
• Razor blades, knife

Kids' Survival Kit
Once you know they're safe, you'll want to keep the kids occupied during an emergency. Norris L. Beren, author of Disaster Strikes Home! 101+ Ways to Protect Your Family from Unthinkable Emergencies, suggests some age-appropriate items that are easy to stow and transport:

For Younger Kids:
• Some puzzles or favorite books
• Crayons, pencils, marking pens and lots of paper
• Favorite toys
• One or two board games
• Playing cards
• Small people figures and play vehicles that you can use to act out what's happening during the disaster, such as an ambulance, fire truck, police car, small boats, etc.
• Favorite stuffed animal, blanket or pillow

For Older Kids:
• Video games, portable radio, CD player and CDs
• Batteries
• Stationery and pens
• Board games
• A craft project

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