Prime Atlantic hurricane season is August, September, and October. This means, the next few months could harness unpredictable weather patterns––to say the least. The most important thing you can do right now is get yourself, your family, and your home prepared.
Ideally, you should stock seven basic items in your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing, bedding, emergency tools and supplies, and special items. Pack immediate items you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers could include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag.
Food and Water
- Store water in plastic air-tight containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that are prone to breaking or decomposing, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
- Store one gallon of water per person per day.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods that require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, and little to no water. Make sure to select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
- Canned juices
- Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
- High energy foods
- Food for babies
- Comfort/stress foods
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
First Aid and Non-Prescription Drugs
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. Be sure to include:
- (1) 5” x 9” sterile dressing
- (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
- (2) triangular bandages
- (2) 3×3 sterile gauze pads
- (2) 4×4 sterile gauze pads
- (1) roll 3” cohesive bandage
- (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- (6) antiseptic wipes
- (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
- Adhesive tape, 2” width
- Cold pack
- CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Activated charcoal
Tools and Supplies
- Paper cups and plates, along with plastic utensils
- Emergency preparedness manual
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Non-electric can opener
- Fire extinguisher
- Tube tent
- Aluminum foil
- Signal flare
- Pencil, paper
- Needles, thread
- Medicine dropper
- Plastic sheeting
- List of local shelters
Sanitation, Clothing, and Bedding
- Disinfectant wipes
- Cloth face masks
- Toilet paper
- Tampons or menstrual pads
- Personal hygiene items
- Plastic garbage bags
- Plastic bucket
Clothing and Bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothes for each person in your household.
- Rain gear
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Hats and gloves
- Thermal underwear
- Sturdy shoes or work boots
Always take into consideration family members who are disabled, infant, or elderly.
- Powdered milk
- Prescription drugs
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Extra eye glasses
- Heart and high blood pressure medication
You should never leave your pets behind at home during a hurricane. In the interest of taking care of your pets, here are a few tips.
- Securely fasten a current ID tag to your pet’s collar and carry around a photo of your pet for easy identification.
- Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.
- Call hotels in a safe/host location and ask if you can bring your pets. Some hotels will waive their no-pet policy in the event of a natural disaster.
- Call friends, family members, veterinarians, or boarding kennels in a safe location to arrange a sitter if you cannot look after your pet.
- Pack a week’s supply of food, water, and other provisions such as medication or cat litter.
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers in case something happens to your pet.
In the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, it’s important that you have important family records in a safe location in case your home is destroyed.
- Keep these records in a waterproof container: wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks, bonds, passports, social security cards, bank account information, and credit card information.
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important phone numbers.
- Family records (birth, marriage certificates).
- Store your kit in a convenient location known to all of your family members.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Replace your food every six months.
- Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year.
We know that hurricane season can be a really frightening, and a potentially devastating time of year. But being prepared ahead of time can help your family prepare for the worst when it strikes. These are a few ways to prepare for when disaster strikes. For more information, visit TheRedCross.org.