With each passing season, unexpected regional emergencies catch families and households off-guard. Unfortunately, advance warnings aren’t always able to provide enough time to adequately prepare for sudden tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or fire. Furthermore, these events can trigger extensive power outages and fuel disruptions that last for days. That’s why experts recommend that all homes have emergency preparedness kits. At the very least, it’s wise to have a “grab-and-go” backpack at the ready, containing essentials to survive a minimum of 12 to 24 hours. That means water and energy bars, medications, weatherproof outerwear, cash and a powered-up phone charger.

If you have a vehicle, it should always be fueled up and ready to go in the event of an unexpected evacuation. Always keep a first aid kit, blankets, matches, a flashlight, batteries and a portable radio in your vehicle. You might also want the option to hunker down at home for days. Invest in a portable generator and store dried and canned foods, plus an adequate volume of bottled drinking water. Regardless of your survival plan, consider purchases like plywood to protect your windows, before they’re in demand. Also, ensure your phone has your photos backed up and has weblinks and protected passwords to access safely stored and encrypted bank account information, insurance policies and government documents.