Gather all your favorite photos, scan them -- if they're not already digital -- and save them on a memory card you can take with you if you evacuate. Make a copy of your memory card and mail it to an out-of-state friend or relative, just in case the original gets lost or damaged.
Another good idea -- just in case -- is to email yourself your favorite photos. This way, they will be safe and dry, no matter what. I have a folder in my Gmail account where I save photos that I've taken and photos family and friends have emailed me over the years.
Published:Caption:Alina BradfordPhoto:Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET
It's always good to have a couple portable phone chargers ready in case you need to flee. The Zagg ($50) is my charger of choice because it's reliable, but a charger that you can recharge using the sun, like the Portable Solar Power Bank ($25) or the Anker Solar Charger ($52) are smart choices, too.
Get all of your important documents, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, bonds and other items and put them in a waterproof storage bag. A zippered gallon freezer bag will work. Keep the bag somewhere where you can grab it and pack it in a moment's notice.
As many people find out in evacuation circumstances, drinking water becomes a scarcity quickly. You can make sure you have water no matter what by packing devices that can purify rain, river or puddle water for drinking. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle ($45) or the Icon LifeSaver ($150) are good choices.
If you're going to ride out the storm (please, evacuate if you are ordered to!) store drinking water in gallon freezer bags. Just fill with filtered tap water from your sink before hand and store them in a safe place.
You're also going to need water to operate your toilet if water services fail. Don't use your drinking water, though. Fill up your tub with water beforehand. Cut the bottom off of a gallon milk jug and use it to scoop water into the toilet tank to flush.
You can download a brochure from the ASPCA on how to prepare your pet for a disaster here. One excellent tip they provide is to have a backup. Be sure a friend, family member or neighbor can evacuate with your pet if you are unable.
You can also fill your washing machine tub with ice, then bury your perishables in the ice.
This is a great option during a short-term power outage (or parties!) and you can just drain your washing machine when the ice melts. Be sure you only try this with upright washers. Front-loading washers will make a mess when you open the door.
Whether you are evacuating or staying, you need to put a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer in everyone's pocket. Places to wash your hands are far and few during a disaster, but bacteria is aplenty.
When we were stuck in an ice storm without power or running water for two weeks, having plenty of hand sanitizer (and baby wipes) was the key to my sanity.