Hurricane Katrina opened a lot of people’s eyes to just how devastating a hurricane can be, especially when people are not prepared. An important part of being properly prepared for hurricane season is putting together a hurricane survival kit.
There are different versions of hurricane survival kits, for different purposes. One version would be what you need to stock up on if you are going to ride out the hurricane at home. Another is what you should bring with you if you are going to be staying at a shelter or in some temporary location like that. Another is what you would want to have with you if you are leaving in your vehicle, and it is uncertain if you will end up in a shelter or possibly have to live out of your car or be homeless temporarily.
So we will talk about a hurricane survival kit in general, but with the understanding that depending on the specific version you need to put together, there may have to be an addition here and a subtraction there for it to be suitable.
Here are some of the main things you’ll need in your kit in order to be prepared to survive a hurricane:
Water service could easily be interrupted in your area. It’s best to have a gallon per person per day, for at least a week. Buy bottled water in advance or fill containers from the tap. Filling a bathtub or sink with water is fine, but plan on using that for such things as cleaning clothes, washing dishes, or personal hygiene, not for drinking water.
Assume that you will lose electricity and not have a working refrigerator or freezer, so have plenty of non-perishable food on hand-items like crackers, peanut butter, canned goods, raisins, potatoes and vegetables that do not spoil quickly, baby food or any special dietary food that’s needed, etc. Again, try to have at least a week’s worth. Don’t forget a can opener and utensils, and salt or other condiments.
Sufficient blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, etc. for everyone.
Make sure you have rain gear, sturdy shoes, and anything you’ll need if where you are staying becomes flooded, or you get caught having to spend some time out in the elements.
* First aid kit
Include bandages, burn cream, hydrogen peroxide, insect repellent, pain relievers, and rubbing alcohol.
Don’t forget any specific medications being taken by a member of the family.
You may find yourself in need of an axe, a pocket knife, a hammer and nails, and rope, among other things.
* Waterproof container for documents and other vital items
Secure essential personal records, documents, photographs, backed up computer files, and all the sorts of things you’d need to rebuild your life if everything else were washed away.
* Toiletries, hygiene items
Just like if you’re going on a camping trip or somewhere where you might not have access to a store, don’t think just in terms of food and water, but also the other essentials you use on a regular basis, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, etc.
* Pet care items
If you have pets, don’t forget you’ll need food and water for them, carriers, leashes, immunization records, medications, etc.
* Radio and/or television
Assume you’ll lose electricity, so have a battery-operated radio or television available.
Have multiple battery-operated flashlights for light, of course with plenty of spare batteries. It’s also good to have candles, dry matches, and lighters.
Banks may be closed; ATMs may not be functioning. Be sure to have some cash, including small bills, and credit cards.
If possible you want a landline in case cell phone access is lost, and a cell phone in case your landline goes down.
* Books, games, and other recreational material
You don’t know how long you’ll be without access to much of what usually occupies your time, such as your TV, computer, job, school, etc., etc. Especially if you have kids, make sure you have things for them to do.
If you gather together all of these items in preparation for a hurricane, it could well be overkill. But it’s better to be overprepared and have some stuff you end up never using, than to be trapped in a hurricane or other disaster situation, lacking something essential.
“Disaster Supply Kit.” National Hurricane Center.
“How to Build a Hurricane Survival Kit.” eHow.
“Hurricane Supply Kit.” Hurricane.com.