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Hurricane Preparedness List: 12 Things You'll Need in Your Survival Kit
Start planning today for the next storm or hurricane.
It only takes a couple of hours to get yourself and your family prepared with the basics.
The time to start thinking about what to do in a severe storm is well before it happens, not when you see a weather report saying a hurricane is heading your way and everyone in your neighborhood is scrambling for the same limited supplies.
Various studies have been run on hurricane/storm preparedness and on average they show that more than 71% of homeowners are completely unprepared for severe weather and do not have a detailed plan - even if they live in a high risk area.
That is a frightening statistic, but unfortunately it's the reality. When it comes to hurricanes, don't leave things to chance. It's just not worth the risk.
Below you'll find the basic steps for creating an emergency kit and having some level of preparedness for a severe storm when it eventually hits.
These kits should be kept in readily accessible areas in the event of a power outage or evacuation. Use these recommendations as a starting point, and treat them as the bare minimum requirements.
The more prepared you are and the more effort that goes into creating emergency kits and making plans for all emergency weather scenarios, the better off you'll be during the next severe storm.
12 Basic Preparedness Must-Haves From The CDC and Survival Experts
Aim to have the following items ready and easily accessible during a severe storm or emergency. Plan on needing two weeks worth of supplies:
- Water - one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation
- Food - non-perishables and a manual can opener
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, plus NOAA weather radios with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- First Aid kits including supplies of any specific medications
- Whistle to attract attention
- Toilets, moist towelettes, garbage bags
- Cell phones and multiple portable battery chargers
- Small board games, decks of cards, any entertainment that doesn't require electricity or external power.
- Important papers such as birth certificates, Social Security Numbers, passports, and other critical documents kept in a sealable plastic bag.
Bonus: We also recommend having access to a reliable portable generator or portable power station in case of a blackout and loss of power.
Deciding Wether to Stay or Go During Severe Weather Conditions
Be sure to listen to the local and national authorities and follow their recommendations around what to do in a storm in your specific area. They issue evacuation alerts to keep everyone safe, even though at the time it may seem hugely inconvenient and maybe even overkill to leave at short notice.
The safety of you and your family is always the #1 priority.
If there has been no order to evacuate, make an informed decision about whether or not to stay or go during the storm. However, you should leave your property if any of the following apply to you:
- You live in a manufactured or mobile home.
- Your house was constructed before current hurricane construction requirements. If it was, then it is vulnerable to storm surge or flooding.
- You have any other reason to believe your home is vulnerable to a storm surge or flooding
If there has been an order to evacuate in your area here are some key things to consider and keep in mind for the safety of yourself and your family:
1. Learn the Evacuation Route
Each community has an evacuation plan in place. It's critical to know how to flee safely in the event of a crisis. Creating an alternate route may be beneficial. The Red Cross lists this as one of the most important steps to take in disaster preparedness.
2. Prepare Your Home
Turn off the power, brace entry points, and lock windows and doors before leaving. Place important papers in the emergency kit or a safe and secure location.
3. Prepare an Emergency Kit
The emergency kit should already be packed by now - well ahead of time. Don't forget to bring any prescriptions, vital papers, and of course your pets.
If you intend to stay, be ready to change your plans at short notice based on real-time developments. Listen to local authorities and flee immediately if an evacuation order is issued.
If no evacuation has been ordered, the following are recommended precautions to take in order to stay safe during the storm.
- Make a Clear and Detailed Plan for all Outcomes
In the case of a power outage, high winds, flooding, or other severe weather, find the safest rooms in your house. If you're not sure your home will withstand a hurricane, look for shelters in your area. Make sure your pet is welcome in your shelter of choice or that there's somewhere to keep them safe until the storm passes.
- Prepare Your Home
Review insurance coverage. Trim trees and keep gutters clear. List and photograph valuables. Test the backup power generator if you have one, which we of course highly recommend. Fill up the gas tank for the car and for your generators.
- Add to The Emergency Kit: More is Better
If the storm damages roadways - trees down or power lines, flooding, debris, and so on - food, clean drinking water, and electricity will be restricted after a hurricane. Refill your supply with necessities in mind. As a guideline keep in mind that one person uses approximately one gallon of water every day. Stock up accordingly based on the size of your household, and the fact it is possible you'll be stuck for multiple days without outside supplies.
A Final Note On Using Generators for Power
A generator should never be placed indoors. CO2 is odorless and colorless, and it can kill in minutes. The PGMA advise against placing a generator within 5 feet of any living area. That includes a deck or patio, for example.
These are the very basics when it comes to hurricane and severe storm preparedness. Remember, the more you do to prepare ahead of time, the more thankful you'll be when a storm eventually arrives. Whether that's tomorrow, next month, or next year.