Photo via Goal Zero

A Solar Power Kit

Most people don’t typically think of solar power as a go-to energy source, but when power outages occur, having a solar charging kit can mean all the difference in the world. Whether you opt for simple solar panel that can keep your phone alive so that you can contact loved ones or a more robust solution that can sustain refrigerators or home health care equipment, you’ll be making a good investment that you can also share with your neighbors if you need to.

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A Bucket

It may not be the most glamorous emergency preparedness item out there, but a bucket is a multi-use item that can be used to bail water, haul stuff, collect rainwater or lower things down to whoever needs them.

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Battery-Operated or Hand-Crank Radio

Information is critical during hurricanes and other natural disasters, and a hand-crank or battery-operated radio can mean the difference between knowing where to go and what to do or being totally in the dark. Try to opt for a heavy-duty radio that has both a hand crank and a battery slot so that you’re covered on both counts.

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A Supply of Drinking Water

It’s always a good idea to stock up on drinking water in case you’re unable to leave your home during a storm. Shoot for at least one gallon of potable water per person per day.

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Iodine Tablets or Bleach

No matter how much water you have, it can always run out. To be prepared, keep a supply of iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper (to drop the bleach into your water) on hand to sanitize water. NOTE: Only resort to using these measures if city health officials direct you to because ingesting these items is obviously not the best for your health if it’s not absolutely necessary. Another option is to have a heavy-duty water filter that can filter out serious contaminants.

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Photo from Shutterstock

Batteries

Solar and hand-crank power are great but it never hurts to have plenty of batteries on hand for radios, flashlights and other emergency equipment.

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A Whistle

In case you’re trapped in the dark and need to call for help.

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A Hybrid Solar Flashlight

After Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers were left with no electricity for hours, days or even months. Make sure you’re never left completely in the dark by keeping a hybrid solar flashlight in your home. You can charge them using the sun during the day but with the extra backup battery power you need just in case.

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A First-Aid Kit

To treat and bandage wounds.

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Canned Food

Have a supply of canned, non-perishable items in your pantry.

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A Manual Can Opener

For obvious reasons.

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A Land-Line Phone

This is one we’re on the fence about. Nowadays, many people opt not to have a land-line because we use our cell phones so much and it’s arguable that having a solar charger for your cell is a viable alternative to having an old-fashioned phone because those are useless anyway if the phone lines go out. If you already have a land-line, that’s good but if we personally had to choose between spending the money to buy a solar charging kit or a to pay the phone company for a new line, we’d probably go with the solar charger. But you should make the decision that’s right for you.

Lead image adapted from a Shutterstock photo