If you were forced from your home in an emergency, would you be prepared? Statistics just released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau show almost half, 48.5 percent, of U.S. households do not have an emergency evacuation kit.

The unprepared segment is even higher for South Jersey, where 49.6 percent of households have not put an emergency kit together. North Jersey ranks as better prepared overall, with only 39.6 percent of households lacking an emergency kit.

Beach front home damaged by Superstorm Sandy in Manotoloking in 2012. (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Here are the "basics" your emergency kit should include, according to the American Red Cross:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area