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Emergencies happen, and it is important for you and your family to be prepared. This article provides instructions you can use to create an emergency evacuation kit for your home.

No matter what part of the country you call home, there is always the risk of severe weather, natural disasters and other potential disasters. Whether it is a fire, flash flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado or other disaster, it is important to be well prepared.

Having an emergency evacuation kit at the ready will give you real peace of mind while helping to protect yourself and your family. Putting an emergency evacuation kit together may not be fun or exciting, but the simple items in that kit could be literal lifesavers when the worst happens. Taking a few minutes to plan and create your emergency evacuation kit is a great way to protect the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones.

While the contents of an emergency evacuation kit should be tailored to your own needs, there are some basic items every such kit should contain. Those must-have emergency evacuation kit essentials include:

1. Extra cell phone batteries your cell phone can be your lifeline in the event of a disaster. Your mobile phone lets you connect with friends and family members to plan your evacuation route and make last-minute plans. But your cell phone is only as good as its battery, so make sure your evacuation kit contains a few spares.

2. Flashlights and batteries — it is not unusual to lose power when disaster strikes, so make sure your emergency kit contains plenty of personal flashlights and lots of extra batteries. It is also a good idea to include a large spotlight to give you night vision when you need it the most.

3. Weather radio—you need to keep informed when disaster strikes, and the best way to do that is with a weather radio. These radios include normal AM and FM bands, along with a special band for weather reporting. Make sure your emergency evacuation kit includes one of these radios, along with extra batteries. Better yet, choose a hand-cranked or solar-powered model for even more versatility.

4. Prescription and over-the-counter medications — if you take prescription medications every day, make sure your emergency kit includes at least a few days’ supply of each medicine. Also include any over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you use every day.

5. Emergency food and water — chances are the grocery stores will be closed when disaster strikes. Stocks may be limited even if the stores are open, so be sure your emergency evacuation kit includes food and water for yourself and your family. You can purchase ready-to-eat emergency food, or simply pack non-perishable canned goods and other staples, along with fresh bottled water.

6. First aid kit— you hope you never need it, but your emergency evacuation pack should also include a fully-stocked first aid kit. A first aid kit will allow you to take care of minor injuries like scrapes and bruises.

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