Hurricanes don’t always knock before coming in — you might have only hours to prepare before a storm strikes.
The problem is that when word breaks that a hurricane will hit your area, many people panic buy and clear store shelves of essentials, leaving others stranded without supplies.
To avoid becoming a panic buyer and ending up without necessities in a bad situation, it is critical to keep these items on hand throughout hurricane season, which typically stretches from June through November in the Atlantic.
Not all water treatment plants can operate during hurricanes and power outages, meaning you may end up without access to clean water. It is best to have at least a three-day water supply for each person, including pets, in your household. The rule of thumb is a gallon of water per person each day. Keep bottled water on hand (fill up all your reusable bottles ahead of the storm’s landing to save money) and freeze as many bottles as possible to provide cold water or ice packs. Before the hurricane hits, fill bathtubs with water to flush toilets.
Stock up on shelf-stable protein sources like peanut butter, protein bars, beans, canned meats, and meal replacement shakes. Keep canned vegetables, freeze-dried fruit, and shelf-stable milk in stock. Canned soups, chili, cup-of-noodles, and one-pot meals can all be cooked with little to no electricity. Because water will be limited, keep hydration-boosting products like Liquid IV on hand. Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) can provide warm meals without a stove — and kids love to play with them. Don’t forget utensils — manual can openers and single-use plates and cutlery will come in handy when you can’t wash dishes.
Make sure to fill prescriptions and have the specific medical supplies needed by everyone in your household ahead of time. Keep extra first aid items such as antiseptic spray, wound wash, bandages, sterile gauze, alcohol prep wipes, eye wash, and hygiene products like body wipes, toothpaste, and toilet paper on hand.
Stagnant floodwater can create an army of mosquitoes, so be sure to keep mosquito repellent in stock, whether it be sprays, balms, citronella candles, or wristbands. As the pandemic persists, it is still vital to keep masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes on hand.
Gear for Kids and Pets
Hurricanes are scary for everyone, especially children. Activities like coloring books, puzzles, “I Spy” books, and more are ways to keep kids calm and entertained while your power is out. Don’t forget your pets — be prepared with pet food, leashes, crates, dishes, and puppy pads/litter.
Backup Power Supply
Charge all rechargeable batteries and have extras on hand to power flashlights and electric lanterns, which will be crucial in the event of a blackout. Generators are very convenient during hurricane season as they can supply power to your home during an outage. If you are able, consider installing a home generator or purchasing a portable generator. While both are costly investments, they can provide the electricity needed to power appliances and your heating and cooling system. Keep an extra supply of gas for your generator, but never use a gas-powered generator indoors, including in enclosed garages, and keep them away from open windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Devices and Accessories
Hand-crank radios, flashlights, slow-burn candles, lanterns, chargers, and portable phone chargers are critical for hurricane power outages. 4-in-1 devices consolidate these necessities. Other necessary tools include matches, multi-use knives, battery-powered fans, cooling rags, ice chests, waterproof tarps, duct tape, and waterproof or dry boxes for important documents. Barbecue pits and charcoal can provide a means of cooking for those who have outdoor access but do not have gas stoves during a power outage. Butane stoves, usually used for camping, can be an option to cook food for people with electric stoves. The most inexpensive alternative is Sterno.
Emergency Evacuation Supplies
For those with the resources and ability to evacuate, keep cash, gas, and maps on hand and make an evacuation plan ahead of time. Hurricane surges can flood areas quickly and cause residents to become stranded, so items like whistles and a tool to help break out of your attic are important for flood-prone areas.
As worldwide temperatures rise, extreme weather events are becoming more and more intense and frequent.
To keep your family and community safe, prepare ahead of time and only buy what you need.
Follow The Cool Down on Instagram and TikTok.