As the likelihood that Hurricane Florence will strike somewhere along the East Coast increases, residents are getting ready for its landfall. This includes making sure that you have needed supplies such as medicine, cash, non-perishable foods, emergency kit items, and baby and pet supplies before the storm arrives.
As we prepared for the storm I saw a lot of people not sure what they needed to get beside water and batteries. After experiencing several hurricanes, snow, and ice storms over the years we have compiled a list of must-haves. Most of which we keep on hand year round. To make sure you are prepared, here is a list of the items that you need:
- Cash If your entire town loses power, you won’t be able to swipe your card at the store nor go to the ATM to get cash. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of cash in hand.
- Water The rule of thumb is that you want to have at least one gallon of water, per person, per day for at least three days.
- Non-Prescription Drugs In addition to any prescription medications, you will want to have over the counter pain relievers, antacids, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea medications.
- Paper and Plastic Products You don’t want to run out of toilet paper. And, you will need paper towels, paper plates, tissues, disposable silverware, and cups. After Hugo, we found that we needed lots of trash bags for clean up.
- First Aid Supplies Restock your kit with any missing items. If you don’t have one now would be the time to get one. In addition to bandages, you’ll want to have sterile dressing, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, and antibacterial ointment in case of an injury during the storm.
- Ready-to-Eat Canned Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables In addition to being focused on all the other things that you need to do, you may lose your ability to cook meals. Quick and easy canned foods can be a time and life-saver in an emergency. You will also need a manual can opener to open these items.
- High-Energy Foods Protein bars, nuts, and other foods will provide you with plenty of energy in case you need to go a long time without eating or have to spend a lot of energy doing manual labor. Cleanup after a storm that leaves lots of damage behind requires a lot of calories to do.
- Battery-Operated Radio, Flashlight/Lantern, and Batteries Power outages are likely and you’ll want to know what’s happening. A battery-powered radio was our only lifeline after Hugo and most recently the Ice Storm of 2014. Also, for those dark nights, you’ll want to have flashlights and lanterns. You’ll need batteries and fuel to keep everything working until power is restored. Consider purchasing a solar powered charger. We have several and they were a lifesaver when our phones and tablets needed charging.
- A Map of the Area Most of us depend on GPS, we have gotten used to looking to our phones for directions. But if your phone is dead, you’ll want a paper map to guide the way if you need to find a shelter or navigate around town.
- Entertainment Items such as books, puzzles, and board games can keep everyone busy and their minds off the storm. Think of things you can do to entertain yourself if there’s a prolonged power outage and you’re stuck without your electronic devices for days.
- Comfort Foods and Drinks Let’s face it, enduring a prolonged weather event like a hurricane can be stressful. But the disruption it’s a little more manageable if you have your favorite food or drink on hand. Just be sure you can still consume it without relying on electricity to prepare it. How will you make your coffee? We have a manual k-cup machine for camping and emergencies.
- Water Purification If the main water supply is contaminated you will need a way to purify water. You don’t want to ingest or use contaminated water to wash your dishes or body. After Hugo, we had to treat our water for weeks after the storm. In addition to using a filter specially designed for this purpose, bleach is a great item to keep on hand for this type of situation.
If you evacuate or go to a shelter, you will need to take all of these items plus blankets, pillows, your insurance binder, and legal documents with you.
Protect your property and home Make sure to plan the time to move, store, secure, and trim. Have a plan in place on where you will put your large items like boats and trailers in storage. You will need to bring in all yard decorations and furniture. Make sure to tie down any items that you can not move so that they will not become projectiles. Buy and install plywood or shutters to protect windows. Trim trees and dispose of the trimmings to reduce the amount of flying debris.
If you are in the path of a storm, heed warnings of state and local emergency officials.