I hate to say it, but if your family thrives on bread and milk, you’re probably going to have to go to the store to buy your bread and milk after the hurricane warning is announced. Bread and milk just don’t keep well in an emergency kit. The good news is that lots of other things do!
As you know, there’s usually some warning before the hurricane to give you time to purchase your comfort milks and address last minute details, but doing your major preparations now will make those last few steps go much more smoothly. Your emergency preparedness kit should be ready with essentials that you and your family will need if the power goes out or you need to evacuate. Hurricanes are notorious for causing power outages, floods, and structural damage to homes. Evacuation is often the best option.
Be sure that your kit has the essentials and a couple of comfort items, but avoid cramming it with nonessentials. Keep in mind that your emergency kit should also be customized to the specific needs of the people in your group. Ready.gov, the official emergency preparedness website from the Department of Homeland Security, recommends that you create multiple emergency kits and keep them in several locations: your home, workplace, and your car.
Your home’s emergency kit should be the most extensive, and should include everything you need to shelter in place for up to three days. Your larger emergency kit should include go-bags that can easily travel with you if you need to evacuate quickly. Cover your bases when things are peachy, and emergencies will feel less like near death experiences.
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Create a kit that contains the following basic items and incorporates additional selections depending on your family’s needs:
- Water: a gallon per person per day with a total goal of three days worth of water for drinking and cleaning
- Food: stock a three-day supply and focus on shelf-stable, nonperishable goods
- Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- A fully-charged power bank or external battery to power phones or even a hot plate
- Copies of important personal documents (passports, birth certificates, lease/deed, insurance policies, etc.)
- Extra cash (ATMs may be down because of power outages)
- Extra fuel (to power generators or your car)
- Flashlights (at least one per person) with batteries stored separately to avoid corrosion
- First aid kit
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags to control sanitation
- An emergency tool kit
- Medications: over-the-counter pain medications and any prescription medications
- Battery powered radio
- A wifi device with charger, and compatible chargers for all of your existing phones
Candy is always a crowd pleaser in a crisis, and has the added benefit of being a high calorie food. Pack your family’s favorite sweets to bring some calm to a scary situation.
Additional Supplies (depending on your individual needs)
- Infant formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
- Pet carrier, food, water, and comfort item
- Sleeping bags/blankets for each member of your group
- Change of clothes per person
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Disposable utensils and plates
- Paper and pens
- Activities to keep young children and restless adults occupied
You’re off to a great start! Let’s keep on trucking.