For several days now, we've been watching what our neighbors in Texas have been going through following a large winter storm -- days without power, no heat, stores being closed, broken pipes, and more.

With that in mind, how prepared are you for an emergency like that?

Our area is no stranger to things that can disrupt everyday life -- we have snow storms, nor'easters, tropical storms and hurricanes, and even some severe weather (remember the derecho back in June, 2012, that crushed Atlantic County and left some without power for over a week?).

So, do you have a disaster kit? ready.gov describes it as, "a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency."

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Ideally, you should have enough supplies for a few days.

While this list is a little long, some of it you probably already have around the house and what you don't have, you can grab the next time you're at Walmart or the supermarket.

Here are the basics:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days for both drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (ideally with the ability to listen to NOAA Weather Radio)
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

It's also a good idea to have a blanket or two in there and maybe some extra clothes.

Gathering those items isn't too hard. And once you have them, store what you can in airtight plastic bags and put everything in one or two easy-to-carry containers.

This is worth nothing: beyond those basic items, customize your disaster kit with things you and your family might specifically need, like prescriptions, pet food, baby formula and/or supplies, etc.

For a complete list of items to consider for a disaster kit, visit ready.gov.

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