Preparing for Hurricane Season: Stocking Up
In the first part of our Preparing for Hurricane Season series, we looked at preventive measures you could take to help preserve the safety and structure of your home. In this second edition, we’ll look at some tips and steps you can take for the comfortability and safety of both you and your family during hurricane season.
I know what some of you are thinking (because I’ve thought so myself), that you don’t need to load up on water and nonperishables because you’re going to evacuate and make it out of town before it gets too bad. In an ideal world, yes, that’s what you should do. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and you could find yourself trapped in your home for a few days.
Storms can be unpredictable, and you want to be prepared for the worst. In the months leading up to hurricane season, slowly stock up on some of the later mentioned items to add to your ever-growing toolkit for emergency preparedness.
Food & Water
At the minimum, you should stock a 3-day supply of food for each member of your family, including your pets. Store the items in unbreakable sealed containers. Notice the expiration dates, replace them as needed and rotate the stored food every six months.
There should be one gallon of bottled water per person for 3 to 7 days. Don’t forget about your pets; include enough water for them as well.
In an ideal world you won’t run out of water, but, in the event of, you can purchase water purification tablets. These tablets are easy to use and extremely safe. They are EPA registered and are the current standard-issue water-purification tablet for the US Military. All you have to do is add two tablets to some questionable water to make it bacteriologically safe to drink.
Non-perishable foods should be stocked up enough for 3 to 7 days. Non-perishable foods have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration. This includes food items such as canned meats, canned nuts, canned fish, peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese mixes and canned soup and vegetables. You may need to take into special consideration options for infants and/or the elderly.
Some of these items you may already have laying around your home, but in the event of a disaster, you’re probably not going to be able to get to the store. Check over this list, account for the size of your family and have these items on hand for when disaster strikes. Being stuck without power and inside your home for days on end is going to get stressful, so making sure you have the following items ready will ease you into a more comfortable state of mind.
Toilet paper and moist towelettes
Baby diapers, wipes and extra changing supplies
Sponges and paper towels
Soap and shampoo
Change of clothes
Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription
Rain gear: ponchos, umbrellas and boots - It’s going to be wet!
Flashlights - one flashlight per person with an extra set of batteries
Battery powered clock-radios
Extra batteries, extra batteries and extra batteries
Portable cooler/ice chest
Ice/dry ice for keeping important items cool
Hand operated can opener - You don’t want to be breaking into those canned goods and not be able to get into them
Gas powered hot-plate
Pots, pans and cooking spoons
Disposable plates, cups and utensils
Butane lighters and waterproof matches - Keep these items stored in a plastic bag to protect against moisture
Lighter fluid, charcoal or stove fuel
Mobile device power banks
You never know where disaster will find you later. You want to be prepared for anything. That anything can be not only the destruction of your home and property but of your important documents as well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in making sure there is enough food and that the windows are boarded up properly. So, the documents that are locked away in the office are out of sight and out of mind. Until that filing cabinet gets carried off by rushing waters and you and your families’ documental life along with it.
Take an extra moment out of your emergency preparedness schedule to collect these items. Keep them stored away in an air- and water-safe container that can be carried on your person if the situation gets to where you need to relocate. Be sure to include the following:
Driver’s license or photo IDs
Important phone numbers - This may seem silly to have handwritten phone numbers, but in the event your cell phone is without power and with no way to charge it, you’re going to want to have access to your important numbers
Photos and videos of your home before and after the damage for insurance purposes
An extra set of keys, both for your home and your vehicle
With wind pounding and rain that won’t end, the last thing you want to worry about is if you have enough on hand for a small medical emergency. Worst case scenario: you can’t get to the store or even the ER. Be sure to have the following:
A two-week supply of prescription medication - Two weeks may seem like a bit far off, but if you can’t get out of your neighborhood, chances are your pharmacist can’t either. Keeping a lengthy supply of medication during an emergency will be a lifesaver, literally.
Your doctor and pharmacy’s contact information
Medical paperwork, including but not limited to: insurance cards, a copy of all prescriptions and a list of known allergies
Pain relief and other common over-the-counter medications that are appropriate for your needs
First aid kit for any small emergencies or incidents that happen during the plight of the storm or its aftermath
Where there is standing water, there will also be mosquitoes - Keep you and your family at peace by grabbing a few extra cans of insect repellent