The 10 Things You Need to Have in Your Disaster Emergency Kit

The recent earthquake in Northern California is another reminder to prepare for any natural disaster. Whether it be an earthquake, hurricane, tornado or snowstorm, below are basic suggestions for what to keep in your disaster supply kit:

Water. It's recommended to have one gallon of water per day per person or pet. You should keep at least three gallons each per person or pet at home.

Food. You should have at least three days' worth of food. Concentrate on non-perishable food that doesn't require refrigeration or much prep and water. Consider cereal, ready-to-eat canned fruits (or canned veggies, juice and meat), or energy-rich snacks like trail mix and granola bars. Remember to have vitamins and special supplies around for anyone with special needs, such as pets, babies and the elderly.

Medication. Have some extra medication on hand for times when disaster strikes and you can't leave your home to refill your prescription. Remember to also store over-the-counter medication like painkillers, antihistamines, calamine lotion, Alka-Seltzer, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, sterile eyewash, and contact lenses (if you use them).

First aid kit. It should have latex gloves, gauze pads, a thermometer, sterile bandages, Band-Aids, petroleum jelly, salve for burns, antibiotic ointment, adhesive tape, towelettes, hand sanitizers, sunscreen, and instant cold packs.

Tools and supplies. This includes items such as candles, matches in a waterproof container, scissors, tweezers, a sewing kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, a small fire extinguisher, a manual can opener, a knife, a hand-crank or battery-operated radio (with batteries), and a wrench to turn off gas and water. Be sure to also have a map of the area in case you need to look for a shelter.

Hygiene products. Toilet paper, feminine products and toiletries.

Cleaning products. Garbage bags, dish soap, bleach, disinfectant.

Clothing. Rain gear, at least one outfit, work boots or durable sneakers, and thermal underwear.

Important documents and items. Cash, driver's license, passport, social security card, family records, bank account numbers, and a list of important and emergency phone numbers. Make sure you have a copy of your will, insurance policies, and other contracts and deeds.

Miscellaneous items. Blankets, sleeping bags, paper cups, paper plates and plastic utensils.