It is important for all consumers to be ready for a natural disaster or any other potentially catastrophic event. As officials encourage South Florida to prepare for Hurricane Matthew, however, there is always the fear that something critical might be overlooked. Following is a detailed guide to building a comprehensive emergency store. With the right items on hand, you and your loved ones can effectively weather this event without experiencing any significant harm or loss.

Fresh water should always be stored in abundance. Be sure to have no less than two gallons of water in the home for each person, per day. If municipal water supplies are rendered temporarily unavailable, this water will be essential for keeping your family alive.

You may think that this means you need to run to the store and buy lots of bottled water. It is definitely a good idea to buy bottled water, but if you have a hard time getting out or simply cannot find any at a nearby location due to excessive demand, simply sterilize a few airtight containers by washing these out with several drops of bleach. Bottled water can be stored for quite a long time, but water that you’ve placed in sterilized containers will need to be changed out every six months.

The next point of concern is how you will feed your family. If the power goes out, the perishable goods in your refrigerator will only remain viable for just one to three days. This makes it vital to have a number of canned goods and other dry goods on hand for keeping everyone nourished. When creating your emergency food stores, be sure to stock up on plenty of protein-rich, nutrient dense foods that are easy to prepare. Purchase a manual can opener as well.

If the lights go out, you’ll definitely need to have a way of illuminating the living environment. Sufficient lighting can be critical for keeping people safe during these events. Rather than investing candles which need to be lit with dry matches and that always pose the threat of home fires, purchase neon glow sticks instead.

Consider the benefits of investing in a medical-grade first aid kit. This is far more comprehensive than the small-sized kits that are sold in-store. In addition to bandages and antiseptic ointment, these kits have tools for suturing wounds closed and providing other, more advanced forms of wound care. They are usually available online and they can be incredibly handy at times when local emergency response services are overrun with requests or simply cannot make it to your location.

Aging adults and other people who take prescription medications should have extra pills on hand. This is especially important when using insulin, high blood pressure medication or other pharmaceutical products that are considered to be life-sustaining. Try to keep a one week supply on store when possible.

In addition to the emergency supplies that you have on hand, you also want to make sure that your abode is weather-ready. Have a licensed window installer inspect your storm windows and caulk any gaps in building materials that might let cold air or water in. You should also get in touch with a local HVAC company in order to have this important home equipment serviced ahead of any significant drops in temperature.