10 must-have items during a hurricane
The best time to prepare for a hurricane is now. Here in Polk County and in the state of Florida, you should never let your guard down. Who can forget 2004, when three major hurricanes hit Polk County. Charley, Frances, and Jeanne devasted the area. Hurricane Charley came ashore with 150 mph winds. A billion dollars of property damage were assessed between the three hurricanes.
Hurricane Irma hit Polk County on September 10, 2017, with 100 mph winds and torrential rains. Many homeowners were left without power for up to two weeks’ time. Personally, my home sat 10 days without electricity. There are 10 must-have items you should always have in your home in the preparedness of hurricane season to keep your family safe. Click here for a more extensive list to include your pets and personal information.
You want to get food that cannot spoil and doesn’t need refrigeration or cooking. This food should also be as nutritious as possible, not junk food. Canned foods are the best like vegetables, fruit, beans, tuna, and canned soups. Peanut butter and crackers, dried cereals, and dehydrated items can also be good to store for a long period of time. Instant coffee, tea, and powdered juice mixes may also be part of your essential food kits. Energy bars are also nutritious and don’t take up much room. Don’t forget your pets and their nutritional needs. Infants’ food and formula must also be a consideration when putting together a ready-to-go kit.
Try and store at least one gallon of water, for each person, per day for at least three days. Florida officials suggest enough water for seven days. Even if your home is on a well-water system, your home could lose power, and electricity runs the pump. When that happens, you need to ensure you have another way to use the bathroom. One method, without electricity, is to have tubs and sinks full of water. Using a bucket, pull water from the tub and flush the waste down the toilet. The bucket method may also need to be used with a public water source and no electricity is available. The military way is to dig a hole. (lol)
Non-Prescription and Prescription Medications
Stock up on over-the-counter medications like painkillers, antacids, anti-diarrhea medications, vitamins, and any others your family might need. Have two weeks worth (or more) of prescription medications on hand. Some prescriptions may be hard to obtain in advance. Check with your doctor in advance in case your prescription happens to run out during a disaster. Some Pharmacies will actually carry a prescription for a week if it is medically necessary. Of course, they will check with your doctor first.
You should have a stock of necessities like toilet paper, Kleenex, disinfectant wipes, eye drops, soap, hand sanitizers, bug spray, and personal hygiene products. If you use glasses or contacts, have an extra pair. Also, paper or plastic products like utensils, cups, and plates. A non-electric can opener, tools, and any specialty items for the disabled and elderly may need to be thought out well in advance. Especially if an oxygen tank and non-portable items are needed.
Make sure the first-aid kit is complete. After a hurricane, there can be a lot of damage and debris. This means dirt, dirty water, cuts, bruises, and bug bites and stings. Add more bandages, antiseptic wipes, sterile dressings, gauze pads, rubbing alcohol, and antibacterial ointments. Hydrogen peroxide is also a good disinfectant.
Battery Operated Equipment
Have flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and extra batteries on hand. Store an extra charging cable for your cell phones. Consider getting a cable so you can charge your cell phone in the car. Consider a hand crank radio so batteries are not a worry.
Have heavy-duty trash bags to throw away garbage and to keep animals from getting to it. Extra trash barrels are always nice to have. Especially if the trash pick up days get pushed back if the truck can’t get down your street because of debris. You should also have bleach for cleaning and if you need to disinfect water. White vinegar also is a good cleaning agent.
Have at least two to three complete changes of clothing and possibly extra socks and underwear, per person. You don’t want to sit around or try to sleep in wet clothing. It might be best to Ziploc bag each set to ensure they stay dry and clean. A change of shoes or galoshes on hand will help as well. Work gloves may also come in handy.
Have some cash stored with your hurricane emergency supplies. If the power is out, ATM machines and credit card machines won’t work. It is always wise to have coins and small bills in case stores can not give you change. There are a lot of food trucks and mobile services now that can survive off of propane and other sources of energy.
When a hurricane is approaching, you can store important papers, family heirlooms, photos, and cash in waterproof containers. Be sure to have a downloadable copy of your Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and any essential identification papers readily available. Your cell phones and laptops are usually a good storage area for numerous phone numbers, important contacts, and family members’ information.