Even if you don't live in an area usually affected by severe storms, the start of hurricane season offers a good reminder to give your emergency kit a once-over. To ensure you've got what you need, check with a relief organization like the American Red Cross for their approved must-haves. Then read on to discover some handy supplies you may not have thought of that can help you safely ride out an emergency.
"You can tie almost anything with it-it's the Swiss Army knife of string," says Bill Begal, president of Begal Enterprises Inc., a disaster-restoration company in Rockville, Maryland. In a pinch, use this super-strong, waterproof filament to tie a flapping door closed or secure a tarp over a broken car window.
Cheaper than tarps, these water-resistant spill-catchers can provide an instant island of clean, especially after a disaster where dirt and debris litter the floor, says Abby Harrison, a Hurricane Ike survivor who teaches emergency prep classes in Houston.
Triple-Duty Weather Radio
A hand-crank radio is a standard emergency item, but one that also charges small gadgets and serves as a flashlight packs three vital services in a single package. Try the Rover by Eton ($50; brookstone.com), which has a USB cell-phone charger and an LED light—brighter and more impact-resistant than an incandescent, says the Red Cross's Keith Robertory. Just 90 seconds of cranking buys you 15 minutes of power.
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