As longtime Floridians, and suppliers of emergency preparedness products to the U.S. and Caribbean, we are gearing up for our hurricane preparedness season that is already right around the corner. Are you living in the SE, NE, or any coastal region in the Southern or Eastern portion of the U.S? May we gently encourage you to have your supplies in place, and the peace of mind, knowing you are hurricane ready before many others?
Truth be told, very few households are truly prepared for a hurricane of any significance. Here in the Southern Tri-County area, the last hurricane of significance was hurricane Wilma in late October of 2005. Wilma was the most damaging storm in Broward County since Hurricane King in 1950. About 684 homes were damaged, 100 of which were declared “unsafe”. We were personally without power and municipal water for two weeks. Not to mention I was 9 months pregnant and delivered our youngest daughter 10 days after Wilma hit. Thankfully, we were well prepared with water, food, fuel, generators and even some conveniences had by few.
But there has been a 10+ year lull in hurricane activity locally, and people have become remiss in their diligence around emergency preparedness. It is human nature to become somewhat slack in taking action when an immediate threat is not imminent. But when will the next hurricane of significance hit? I don’t know, nor do I need to worry, short of leaving the state if the storm is extreme enough.
Be prepared with a minimum 14 day supply for your family. The 3 day minimum recommended by FEMA is insufficient, and I can assure you (from experience) that there will not be sufficient food or water supply in your local stores when you face day 4. Our grocery shelves were completely bare within 24 hours after Wilma.
Every family should be prepared to live without utilities and basic services for two weeks or more. The following list of items will be good to have if you find yourself going 14 days without electricity or running water:
14-Day Hurricane Supply Kit
- Water: 1 gallon per person per day – minimum. Fill plastic containers with water, we recommend the WaterBrick for water storage. You should also have a quality water filter such as a Berkey or Seychelle.
- Water purification kit or bleach (use eight drops of regular bleach per gallon of water.) We store our water with the addition of Berkey BioFilm drops, and then filter it so no bleach is necessary.
- Essential medications for all family members
- First-aid book and kit that includes:
– 20 emergency bandages of various sizes
– One 5 x 9 sterile dressing
– One roll of self-adhering elastic bandage
– Four various-sized sterile gauze pads
– One roll of 3-inch cohesive bandage
– Waterless alcohol-based sanitizer and wipes
– Medical grade non-latex gloves
– Adhesive tape, 2-inch width
– Anti-bacterial ointment
– Cold pack
– Small scissors
– CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
– Non-prescription drugs (e.g., aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers)
- Ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup and cereals, canned or box juices, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, bread and any special dietary items you and your family need. We also store Legacy Freeze Dried food – a great convenience for mom when it comes to preparation and variety – they have a gluten free line as well.
- Disposable plates, cups, utensils
- Manual can opener
- Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
- Food, water, leash and carrier for pets. (If you plan to go to a shelter, remember that most do not allow pets.)
- Generator and gasoline supply. We have a Honda gas generator for our large outdoor freezer, and use a Goal Zero Yeti for our indoor refrigerator.
- Sanitary Items:
– Large, plastic trash bags for waste and to use as tarps and rain ponchos
– Large trash cans and trash bags, remember there will be not trash service
– Towelettes or antibacterial wipes
– Bar soap and liquid detergent
– Toothpaste and toothbrushes
– Feminine hygiene supplies
– Toilet paper
– Household bleach or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning
– Rubber gloves
- Blanket or sleeping bag for each person
- Battery-powered, portable radio or portable TV and plenty of extra batteries
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Matches and lighters
- Lantern and fuel (preferable to candles)
- Extra pairs of eyeglasses for each eyeglass wearer
- Extra house and car keys
- Fire extinguisher (ABC-type)
- Cash and change
- Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
- Mosquito repellent
- Detergent for dishes and clothes
- Clothesline and clothespins – we also keep a Scrubba Wash Bag on hand for convenient clothes washing!
- Games, such as cards, and quiet toys
- Duct and masking tape
- Rolls of plastic and blue tarps if you face roof leaks
- Heavy duty gloves and goggles
- Small tools
- Cleaning supplies
- Brooms and mops
- Pails and buckets
- Plywood and nails
- Rakes and shovels
- Chain saw, gas and oil
- Battery-operated clock
- Axes, hatchets, pruners
While the length of the list may seem a bit overwhelming for hurricane prep, I can assure you it is well worth it. Ask any hurricane survivor with experience under their belt.