Yay! It’s swimsuit and barbecue season… but unfortunately, it’s also hurricane season. It seems as if hurricanes are affecting more and more people in recent years (Hurricane Irene, Sandy and Katrina to name a few), and since the official storm season runs until November 30th, it’s best to have emergency supplies ready to go. Ben Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so follow his sage advice and get yourself prepared for anything with these eight must-haves.

1. Battery-Powered Radio and Flashlight (+ batteries): It’s easy to remember to pack the radio and flashlight (or a fancy combo of the two), but harder to remember to pack enough batteries. (via Nola)

2. Water: Water is definitely the most important supply to stock up on. Used for both drinking and sanitation purposes, you should have one gallon of water per person per day (and for pets, if you have them — Fido needs to drink, too!). Stock up for at least three days, preferably for seven. (via Kohler Generators)

3. Food: You want to make sure you have at least three days worth of non-perishable food (again, keep Fido in mind). And make sure to throw in a manual can opener. Those black beans won’t do you any good if you can’t get at them! (via Modern Survival Online)

4. Cell Phones + Battery-Powered Cell Phone Chargers: Battery-powered and/or solar-powered cell phone chargers can be found relatively cheaply on sites like Amazon and eBay. There are also gadgets like hand crank emergency chargers you might want to add to your kit. (via CDC Blogs)

5. First Aid Kit: Whether you want to purchase one at a drugstore or put the kit together yourself, make sure it includes the basics like bandages in a few different sizes, scissors, gauze and anti-bacterial wipes. (via Sitata)

6. Personal Sanitation Items: In the event that sewer systems become unusable, you’ll want to have moist towelettes, garbage bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer and plastic ties on hand. (via Amazon Supply)

7. Cash and Records: Including some cash and copies of personal records like driver’s licenses, passports and bank information (all in a sealed, waterproof bag) will make life easier in case of an evacuation. (via USCIS)

8. Survival Kit: When trying to prepare for any situation, it can be hard to remember every little tool or gadget you’ll need, which is why it makes sense to include a survival kit in your plans. You’ll be able to build a fire, catch a fish or signal help with this bad boy. (via Silodrome)

Each family is different, so once you have the basics, be sure to personalize your emergency kit. For example, if there’s a baby in your family, make sure you include baby food or formula. If you have young children, throw in some board games or magazines to help keep them occupied until the power comes back on. If you live in an area that gets cold at night, add a few blankets — you get the picture.

Once you have all your supplies, store them together, preferably in a dry, airtight and waterproof container (like one of those big plastic bins everyone uses at moving time). If you live in an evacuation zone, you may also want to consider keeping a backpack or duffel bag in the kit in order to make things easier to carry.

Check out the National Hurricane Center or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about how to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters. Stay safe!

Are we forgetting any essentials? Let us know what’s in your emergency kit in the comments below!