Watching the struggles of thousands of people in the wake of Superstorm Sandy isn't easy, especially if you've been through a similar experience. But, it does serve as a good reminder to put together a disaster preparedness kit if you don't have one. Better safe than sorry, and it's not that complicated or expensive to be prepared.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is hard at work in the wake of Sandy, has a suggested plan for putting a disaster kit together. Among the elements in the kit, they recommend the following:

• Assume you’re not going to have clean drinking water. Set aside three gallons of water everyone in the household, including pets. You may also want to keep a container of plain household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to make disinfectant or purify water.

• No electricity means you won’t have refrigeration, so have a three-day supply of non-perishable food. A manual can opener is probably obvious. Put aside extra pet food as well.

• A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and weather radio.

• A flashlight. More than one won’t hurt.

• Wrenches and pliers to turn off utilities, such as water or gas.

• A whistle to signal for help.

• A dust mask.

• Plastic sheeting and duct tape to help rig an emergency shelter if necessary. If you enjoy camping, you may already have a tent you can use in an emergency.

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

• Local maps and a compass.

• Emergency chargers for cell phones. Solar chargers, inverters or emergency battery chargers may be the only way for you to reach loved ones or help.

• Batteries. Extra, lots and of the right sizes to power your emergency devices.

• Baby formula and diapers.

• Travelers' checks.

• Matches in a waterproof container.

• Prescription medicines and glasses.

Hopefully, your disaster kit will sit in a secure location and never be needed. But, if something does happen, you'll be glad you've taken the time to prepare.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy rikomatic/flickr.com