Hurricane Season runs from June through November. Modern forecasting usually offers a few days warning of an impending hurricane strike. But waiting until the last minute can leave you without the essentials you need if supplies run out. It’s best to be prepared with the most critical items before hurricane season begins. For starters, don’t let your gas tank get below half full during the season. There will be a rush to get gas – and probably shortages – right before a storm.
Hurricanes can disrupt local services for days, so the government advises everyone to have at least 72 hours of food and water. Some of your water will be used for hygiene (washing and flushing toilets). Drinking water should be stored in food grade plastic containers. You should store one gallon per person per day in total. In addition to food staples that you can have on hand, there are specialty products like self-heating meals and freeze-dried foods that have a very long shelf life.
You should have a portable 72-hour kit, because you might have to grab and go. This kit should have a flashlight, radio, multi-tool, personal protection, and hygiene supplies.
An LED flashlight is preferable because LEDs are more durable than bulbs and last much longer on a set of batteries. If your flashlight or radio are not crank-operated, have plenty of spare batteries.
If you are within a likely evacuation zone – like the beach or a flood area – know your shelter and evacuation options ahead of time. Evacuation usually means heading inland – not leaving the state. If you will be staying in a public shelter, remember that these have minimal supplies. There will be no bedding, so you should have a sleeping bag or blanket for comfort.
Make sure that you have all the parts for your hurricane shutters and that they are in good condition. Clear loose debris from around your house regularly. Be certain that trees have not grown too close to power lines.
During the season, be sure to have an adequate supply of your prescription medication. Ambulances stop service when winds are over 50mpg. Consider having more than a first aid kit. What if someone gets a serious gash or a burn? An emergency medical kit should include ways to stabilize a victim until the storm subsides enough to get professional care. Storms are stressful, particularly to those who might be prone to heart attacks. An automated external defibrillator is costly, but it can be life-saving to someone with sudden cardiac arrest.
Replacing all of the things in your refrigerator and freezer can cost hundreds of dollars. So having a generator could be more economical than you might think. Of course, being able to have refrigeration, light, and communication going when the power is out is a great comfort and convenience. If you live in an apartment, where you can’t run a gas generator, consider having a storage battery with an inverter that can power AC or DC devices. These can be all-in-one units or inverters that can hook up to your car battery.
Have at least one phone in your house that doesn’t need to be plugged in to an AC outlet. That way, if the power is out, the phone can still work. Cellular phones will often work when land lines are down. So even if you don’t regularly use a mobile phone, having a pay-as-you-go emergency mobile is a good idea.
Make sure to take a home inventory. This will be critical in the event of a insurance claim. You can take photos or a video to store in your 72-hour kit so that it will come with you. There are also services that will store your information safely on the internet, where it can be easily retrieved or forwarded to insurers.