It is Hurricane season, and as a native Floridian I have lived through my share of Tropical Storms. Some are more fierce than others, and I am lucky that I have never been in the direct path of anything over a category 3 storm. My first piece of advice is to listen to the local news/authorities and follow evacuation warnings. Keep your family safe first and foremost.
I know you see the checklists at the grocery store, in the paper, and more about what you need in case of a hurricane. Here are items we keep on hand year round in case of an emergency.
Top 10 Items You Really Need to Prepare for a Hurricane
- Water - Depending on if you have a well, or city water, your family could need safe drinking water for several days. Purchase bottled water and store at least ½ gallon per person per day. Or, you can bleach and clean your bath tub thoroughly (making sure to rinse it out well) before the storm and fill your tub with fresh water.
- Food - Try to keep at least 3-5 days of non-perishable food in your home. Things that work great are peanut butter, tuna, canned beans, cereals, protein bars, dried fruits, etc. Also, make sure you have a manual can opener to get into them. Don't forget about your pets either.
- Batteries - Batteries are important to keep flashlights and weather radios powered if the electricity goes out. Make sure you have enough on hand to power your necessities for at least 3 days. I also highly recommend purchasing a backup battery charger for your cell phone. These Cell Battery Packs can be found on amazon and charged ahead of time. They may be a life saver if you need to communicate and have no electricity.
- Gasoline - Make sure to fill your car up with gasoline a day or 2 before the impending storm. Gas stations often run out of fuel before a storm, and you want to make sure your car is full because it could be up to a week after the storm before they fill back up. Don't forget about filling your gas can for your generator too.
- Cooler- If the power does go out you may want to have a cooler on hand to keep your food or medications cold until the power returns. We have this 75 quart Coleman Wheeled Cooler. That is plenty big enough for our family, and we can use it for summer bbq's, beach, and picnics too!
- Medications- Everyone's needs are different in this department. Make sure you have plenty of your prescription medications on hand as the pharmacies may be out of stock for a couple weeks after a storm. Also make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with bandages, motrin, neosporin, etc. If your medicines need to stay cool be prepared with a small cooler.
- Weather Radio - This is a very valuable piece of equipment that I think every family should have no matter where you live. This will keep you up to date with weather warnings in your area, and local emergencies. I highly recommend this Weather Radio from amazon. It is and all in one Digital AM/FM NOAA Weather Alert Radio and a powerful 3 LED flashlight, with smart phone charger, all in one portable package.
- Flashlights - Your power will more than likely go out, in the event that it does make sure you have a flashlight for each person in the house. It is never fun to go bump in the dark.
- Disposable Items - As a rule of thumb we keep a stockpile of disposable items and paper goods in our house at all times. Make sure you have things like Paper plate, plastic utensils, diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, etc. in case you can't do dishes or laundry for a few days. Also keep a supply of baby wipes on hand. These are great for cleaning up hands and faces, but also if you can't shower or bathe. These work great in a pinch.
- Comfort Items - In this digital age we forget how to act without electricity. Make sure you have books, magazines, cards, board games, etc. To keep you busy. Also, keep your children's comfort items close by. It is nice to have something to keep them calm and busy.
Above all remain safe! Listen to your local authorities, and weather the storm in a safe location with your family.
Do you have any tropical storm or hurricane tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below.