Resolve to Be Prepared
If hurricanes and other natural disasters haven't already spurred you to prepare for emergencies, now is the time. Here's a four-pronged approach to readying your family for the whims of Mother Nature:

Plan - Find out what types of disasters are most likely to hit your community, and what specific steps you can take to prepare.

Stock - Gather an easily accessible, three-day supply of food, water and other items that your family and pets would need, including important documents. For information on stocking an emergency kit, check out the American Red Cross Web site at For a free Emergency Financial First-Aid Kit, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency online at

Connect - To prepare for situations in which your family becomes separated, choose a meeting place near your home, and one outside your neighborhood. Choose an out-of-state contact for everyone to call in case local phone circuits are tied up.

Maintain - Change stored water and food every six months, and rethink your emergency kit yearly, replacing batteries, clothing, etc., as needed.

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