Winter is coming, and with the weather we’ve had on the East Coast lately, now’s the time to prepare for the worst. Just because you live in an apartment, doesn’t mean you can count on your landlord or property manager to save the day.

Certainly, we don’t mean to alarm you, but blizzards, nor’easters, ice storms, and other catastrophes happen. When disaster strikes a good emergency kit can save time, money, and your health.

They’re cheap and easy to assemble, too. All you need is a little time and common sense. Use these tips, adapted from the American Red Cross, to protect yourself, your family, pets, and your apartment in New Jersey:

  • Enough cash to last several days
  • IDs and paperwork: passports, Social Security cars, passports, etc.
  • A battery-operated radio
  • Two battery-operated flashlights
  • Spare batteries
  • A week’s worth of bottled water (one gallon per day per adult)
  • Blankets & clothing
  • Soap, toilet paper, and sanitary products
  • Canned goods & snacks, including pet food
  • Prescription drugs & medicines
  • Basic tools: hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, knife, tape, etc.
  • Books, cards, board games, etc.

Come up with two spots to meet your family if separated: one near your apartment (i.e., the parking lot) and one local landmark (i.e., a school). Tell a neighbor your plan, and ask them to help kids or pets link up with you if needed.

Remember that severe weather may knock out the Internet, ATMs, and other resources, so your apartment emergency kit should be able to sustain you until you can find other accommodation or return to your NJ apartment.

Chances are you won’t need your emergency kit. But having it will bring peace of mind—and isn’t that what matters?

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