The Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts June 1st of each year and runs through November 30th. But that does not mean that one cannot surprise us and form prior to June 1st. Do not wait until the last minute to prepare. Living the majority of my life on the coast of either the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean, I have finally perfected my Hurricane Preparedness Kit, mostly by trial and error, but also with input from the Red Cross. Please use the guidelines below to create your own kit.
Before we begin, please know…
The MOST important item in your Hurricane Preparedness Kit is a good evacuation plan!!!
Having made that clear, your Preparedness Kit will be necessary to take with you if you do need to evacuate, or to keep you and your family comfortably at home if conditions cause you to be without power or water for a period of time.
To construct your preparedness kit, start by selecting a proper container. It should be water tight, large enough to hold all items, but lightweight enough that you can move or carry it if necessary. Next, create an inventory card. This should be laminated or kept in a zip lock plastic baggy. Your Inventory Card should be kept visible at all times and should list all items in the kit.
Your Hurricane Preparedness Kit must contain:
1. Evacuation Plan. This includes a map with multiple routes highlighted, a full tank of gas, and cash. (the gasoline will obviously be in your vehicle gas tank, not in your preparedness kit!) If power is out, ATMs, gas pumps, or any other ‘check out’ device that would normally scan your card will also be down. In an emergency, cash is king.
2. First Aid Kit. This should include absorbent compress dressings/4×4 gauze squares, assorted band aids, cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes/alcohol pads, Tylenol, breathing barrier, instant cold pack, non-latex rubber gloves, hydrocortisone ointment, scissors, three elastic bandages of assorted sizes, oral thermometer, two triangular bandages/slings, tweezers, and a First Aid instruction book.
3. Water. A good rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day, and to keep at least a seven day supply on hand. Don’t forget to include pets in the count.
4. Food. Include items that have a long shelf life and are easily prepared/can be eaten without cooking. Remember to look for pop-tops on canned food or to include a hand turned can opener. Also include pet food.
5. Medications. This should be a seven day supply of any prescription and/or over the counter drugs taken regularly.
6. Battery operated radio and flashlights, and extra batteries.
7. Sanitation and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, female products, diapers and wipes for babies, etc.)
8. Copies of personal documents sealed in a zip lock bag, inside two to be safe. This should include birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s licenses, and/or other ID cards, health insurance cards, life insurance papers, lease or mortgage papers, medication list, pertinent medical information and doctor contact list, proof of address, etc.).
9. Cell phones and chargers.
10. Bedding and clothing. A pillow, blanket, and two changes of clothes for each family member. Space Bags are great for storing these. Place all items inside bag, zip closed and remove excess air with your household vacuum. The bag will now lay nearly flat and can be placed in the bottom of your preparedness kit.
Now that you have gathered your supplies and created your preparedness kit, it is important to get in the habit of reviewing the contents a couple times a year (going down your inventory card will be helpful) and rotating the supplies as needed. Remember to change out water, make sure food items are still good and in good condition, clothes still fit, and so on.
1) This list contains the absolute basic necessities. Please add anything additional needed by you or your family members.
2) Although we are labeling this a ‘Hurricane’ preparedness kit for the purpose of this article, this is a basic survival kit and should be kept on hand by every household, regardless of location. Rename it your Blizzard Survival Kit, or your Blackout Preparedness kit, or whatever may best fit the unforeseen situations that are possible where you live. The important thing is to be prepared.
3) I have recently added two blue plastic tarps and several rolls of duct tape, and a hammer and several assorted screwdrivers and pliers to my personal kit.