7 Things You Should Put in Your Emergency Kit ASAP

If disaster strikes, don't leave these important items behind.

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As the Boy Scouts say, "Be prepared." And with hurricane season looming in the South and East, the best way to stay safe is to have an up-to-date, easily accessible emergency kit. Think spare water, nonperishable food, first-aid supplies. But some key items might not be so obvious. Double-check your go bag to make sure it has the following essentials.


1. Household bleach. Bleach is a great multipurpose tool, since it works as a disinfectant, a cleaner and even a water purifier (six drops for each gallon of water). Be sure to pack only regular unscented chlorine bleach (not any marked as "color-safe" or "scented").

2. Can opener. All that canned food is useful only if you can actually get into it! Throw a manual can opener in your bag and you're good to go.

3. Extra batteries. Your flashlight will last only as long as the batteries do. Have a spare set on hand to power any small portable electronics you've packed.

4. Keys. Make a spare set specifically for your kit so that in case of an evacuation, you'll be able to get back into your home.

5. Leash. The last thing you want to deal with during an emergency is a runaway dog. A spare leash and other pet supplies (food, extra bedding) are a must for pet owners.

6 . Prescription meds. If you or a loved one are on a maintenance medication (think thyroid meds or antidepressants), ask your doctor for another round of that particular prescription—the Red Cross recommends at least a seven-day supply—specifically for your kit.

7. Cash. Keep it in a waterproof bag to have on hand for buying food, gas and other essentials.