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Natural disasters have already ravaged large swaths of the nation this year. Spring brought the busiest tornado season on record, inflicting singular wrath on Alabama. In the wake of the violent weather has come flooding along the Mississippi. It’s also a record season for wildfires, which so far this year have burned nearly 2.3 million acres in the United States. And experts are already predicting that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season (PDF), which begins June 1, will have well-above average activity, with five major hurricanes.

Are you prepared for an emergency? Maybe you already have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at home, along with a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and some flashlights. But those are just the basics, and even they need to be checked every year. There’s no better time than now to reassess how well you’re prepared for an emergency at home.

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