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It's a good idea to have a disaster kit ready, and if you haven't built one before, we chatted with StormWatch7's Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff to give you a few tips of what to include. (Image: Rebecca Mongrain/Seattle Refined)
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Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff helps you build a hurricane emergency kit

Whenever there is talk of a natural disaster in the DMV area, there is a tendency to panic. With hurricane Florence continuing to strengthen and the forecast of it becoming a major Category 4 before it makes a landfall, now is definitely the time to talk emergency preparedness.

The track of the storm hasn’t seen much of a change, and the greatest likelihood for a landfall is still along the NC/SC coast. But this is the time to make your preparations and plans ahead of the storm as tropical storm conditions may be here as early as Thursday. It's a good idea to have a disaster kit ready, and if you haven't built one before, we chatted with StormWatch7's Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff to give you a few tips of what to include. You can go with the bare minimum, or include a few extras, depending on how cautious you'd like to be.

If disaster strikes, the federal government expects everyone to be self sufficient for at least three days, so having enough food and water to last 72 hours is key in an emergency. A good idea is to keep a 72 hour supply of emergency ration food bars (provide dense caloric nutrition while having a long expiration date) in your kit, while also supplementing with some other tastier food options such as a large jar of peanut butter, or calorically dense, canned, ready-to-eat items like beans, chili, tuna fish and other canned meats. Remember, canned food does have an expiration date so you'll want to check your emergency food stash at least once a year and rotate out items that are nearing their expiration date. Lastly, make sure evryone in your house knows where the kit is stored and that it is easily accessible, so it can be grabbed quickly in the case of an evacuation.

Items to Include in your Emergency Kit

  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Bottled water (one gallon per person per day for three days)
  • Non-perishable food items (three-day supply)
  • Sanitation and hygiene products along with garbage bags
  • Tool kit, or at the bare minimum a multi-purpose tool
  • Hand crank radio
  • Charging supply for cell phone, electronics
  • Prescription medications
  • Whistle to signal for help

Extras that Are a Good Idea

  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Family and Emergency Contact Information
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Maps of the area
  • Two-way Radio
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors

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