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This summer, wildfires have charred thousands of acres of land and displaced families throughout the Midwest and West. Hurricane-force winds can launch wood through the air like projectile 2-by-4s, and a twister can churn piercing shards of shredded trees through the air.
Head injuries are responsible for up to half of all fatalities in tornadoes, according to researchers at the University of Alabama Injury Research Control Center.
All those first aid supplies in your kit — bandages, antiseptic, burn ointment — won't be worth very much if you don't know how to use them properly.
Obviously, physical health and well-being is most important when facing a disaster, but keeping important documents safe can save precious time, energy and money later. Downed trees, rubble, and washed out roads are just a few of the reasons you may not be able to drive your car in the aftermath of a disaster. From our SponsorsEveryday Solutions are created by Everyday Health on behalf of our sponsors. Now, the East Coast is moving into peak Atlantic hurricane season, which runs until late October — and is expected to be worse than average, experts say, especially with fast-approaching and ominous Hurricane Isaac currently punishing Louisiana. And although flooding is the leading cause of death in hurricanes, high winds can rip gutters from the eaves of houses and send lawn chairs and trash flying — directly toward your head.

Recall that at the end of last summer, Hurricane Irene knocked out power to more than 4 million homes — and in some areas power did not come back on for a week or more after the storm. Although Medicine for the Outdoors is a handbook for wilderness emergencies (addressing everything from minor issues like gastrointestinal problems on up to shock and fractures), coping with injuries in the aftermath of a disaster — when immediate attention is required and help is not on the way — takes the same skills as treating wounds and other medical problems in the backcountry. Along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the nonprofit social investment bank and financial literacy advocate Operation HOPE created the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit. However, while your car is wedged under a large tree or gasoline is unavailable, two wheels might start looking pretty good.
View all.ConnectDon't miss out on breaking news, live chats, lively debates, and inspiring stories. Besides filling up the bathtub for a water source and having enough flashlights and battery-powered candles, staying informed of the latest emergency information is critical to your family's health and safety. The kit recommends you store originals of records like birth certificates, social security cards, and your mortgage or real estate deeds in a fireproof and waterproof metal box or safe. A bike may enable you to get across town in minutes to fetch help or make contact with local authorities. Join the conversation!Free NewslettersPersonalized tips and information to get and stay healthier every day.

And while you may know the basics of emergency preparedness (food and water, first aid kit), the following items will also help keep you and your family safe when a cyclone, tornado, earthquake, or terrorist attack strikes.
Stay in tune with local emergency-response efforts by keeping a crank-powered emergency radio in your kit. It's a good idea to add in pertinent medical records and your family's health history, as well.
Fix-a-Flat and a spare tube, too, might bail you out if you ride through debris and suffer a punctured tire. Make sure any radio you purchase receives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Radio All Hazards, a national broadcast service found on the VHF band, and only accessible on special radio receivers.

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