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Are You Prepared? Here Are the Five Things You Need to Survive a Natural Disaster

People stand on the beach watching the heavy surf caused by the approaching Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: Getty Images)

As the media reports on the projected impact of Hurricane Sandy-- already being labeled by some as "the storm of the century"-- it's critical to remember what exactly your family needs to weather a natural disaster.

"The time for preparing and talking is about over," Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, warned.  It's time to get ready.

Here are the five time-honored things you'd be foolish to neglect in preparing:

1) ​Food and Water​:

Ready.gov recommends having at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand.  In specific terms, that means about one gallon of water, per person, per day.  Though people drink only half that on average, pregnant women, or people who are sick, often consume larger quantities.

People buy water at Whole Foods Market in Manhattan on October 28, 2012 as residents do last minute food shopping in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

2) ​Flashlight and Extra Batteries:

How many flashlights do you have in a cupboard or drawer somewhere, about half of which probably have batteries that no longer work?  If it truly is an emergency situation, there is a strong likelihood that the power will be out for an unknown period of time.  Don't prepare halfway-- stock up on a flashlight for everyone if you can, and make sure their batteries work.

3) ​First Aid Kit, Medication

​Don't rely on immediate outside help if something goes wrong.  In a worst case scenario, you should have the resources to tackle a number of first aid issues on your own, at least temporarily.  Similarly, just like you need food and water, you should also have enough prescription and other medication to ride out the storm.

A line wraps around the store as Manhattan residents do last minute food shopping in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

4) ​Local Maps

​In the age of Google and iPhones, many young adults don't even own a physical map.  If your phone or computer can't be charged, however, and you need to seek shelter elsewhere, you better know where you're going.

5) ​Cash, Important Family Documents

Though most places accept credit cards these days, it's always smart to have cash on hand.  Banks can close, and if the power's out for an extended period of time, you'll likely run into a cash-only situation.  Ready.gov also recommends you keep important family documents like insurance policies and bank records in a sealed, waterproof container out of harm's way.

The Marketplace by TheBlaze, a collection of American small businesses who join together to offer discounted prices on the goods they produce, has a number of items that tackle emergency situations like Hurricane Sandy.  Since news of the massive storm hit, the 72-hour kit has been the #1 bestseller, the personal water filter at a close second.

Wherever you get your supplies, Hurricane Sandy serves as a reminder that natural disasters rarely give much notice, and it's wise to at least have the basic necessities.

What other items do you think should be added to the list?

Check out Ready.gov for more on basic disaster preparation. 



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