Hurricane preparedness tips – gather your supplies now so you’ll be ready.
Hurricane season is from June 1st – November 30th, and even though we haven’t had a hurricane come through for over 10 years, we Floridians take hurricane preparedness seriously. But even if you don’t live in a hurricane-prone area, you probably still have times of severe weather and power outages, so these tips can help you be prepared as well.
For basic supplies like food and water, the National Hurricane Center recommends you have enough supplies to last for 7 days,
so here are some very useful hurricane preparedness tips to get you ready!
How to stock up on food and water.
Nonperishable foods are easy to store, so stock up when they are on sale!
It’s always a good idea to stock up beforehand because once people know a hurricane’s coming, everyone panics and runs to the grocery. You know what always goes first? Bread and water! So, start saving those water containers now and stock up on crackers, which last a lot longer than bread.
Canned fruit and vegetables
Canned soups and chili
Dried fruits and nuts
Crackers and cookies
Coffee, tea or drink boxes
Peanut butter and jelly
Evaporated milk or Parmalat milk
And don’t forget a manual can opener (if you don’t have one, get one!)
Drinking water (at least a 7-day supply; 1 gallon per person per day – including pets). We use milk jugs. I wash them out with soap and dry them out thoroughly. Then I put the cap back on and we string them up on a piece of rope and hang them underneath shelving in our garage. They stay clean and out of the way. When we hear about a hurricane threat, we can then fill them up and have them ready for use. You can also fill up your bathtub for water to use for washing hands or other non-potable uses.
Here is our supply:
What to do with food in the fridge.
Note: a quick way to make an ice pack for your cooler is to fill empty bread bags with ice and store them in your freezer so they are ready for use in an emergency.
Keep your freezer full (it will help it stay cold longer. And DON’T open the doors. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full) – info from foodsafety.gov.
Ways to cook food without electricity.
Propane gas (for grills)
Charcoal and lighter fluid
We also have sterno packs and a small portable camping stove.
Waterproof matches and lighter.
Here’s a nifty way to make a match container using a jelly jar and sandpaper.
Put all those decorative candles laying around your house to good use as well. Just make sure they are not left unattended while lit!
In a pinch you can also add a couple cans of Crisco or olive oil to your supplies. They also makes a nice candle. You should pick up lantern wicks to have on hand for the olive oil.
Here’s a trick on how to put your water jugs to another use, too.
Fill it with water and stick a mini LED flashlight into the opening. The light will diffuse through the water and make a bright lamp.
And don’t forget about the solar lights that line your sidewalk.
These are great because you can just stick them back outside during the day. I have seen these for as little as $1 a piece at Wal-Mart, so stock up! You can fill up a glass or vase with dirt or beans or rice and stick the spiked end into it so that it stand upright.
Solar or battery-operated radio and clock (TV if available)
Spare batteries (2 spare sets for each device)
Solar-powered or rechargeable battery packs for cell phones/tablets, like these:
We have one for each of our phones, and they stay charged up and ready to use for months.
Other supplies that make life better when there is no power or water.
Toilet paper and hygiene items
First aid kit (including bandages, antibiotic ointment, aloe, Tylenol and calamine lotion)
Bleach for sterilization (unscented with Hypochlorite the only active ingredient)
Iodine or water purification tablets or a device like LifeStraw. Our house backs up to a pond, so that would be an option for us.
Disposable plates, glasses and utensils
Plastic garbage bags (both kitchen and yard waste sizes)
Home-made toilet (since your home one will not be usable unless you do this…)
Disinfectant and Clorox wipes
Soap, Hand Sanitizer and Dish Detergent
Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
Corded, non-electric phone (look at places like Goodwill if you no longer have one). This will work much better at communication than possible lost cell phone service.
Hurricane season is during the hottest, most humid part of the year, and it can be unbearably uncomfortable. If you have a power source like a generator, you can actually make and run an air conditioner that will help cool down a room.
This one costs about $8 to build!
Here’s one that uses a solar panel – even better!
For the kiddos.
Books, magazines, games, toys, decks of cards.
Diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, and food for 7 days for infants.
Here are some more boredom-buster ideas that can be planned ahead.
Plastic sheeting / tarp
Duct and/or masking tape
Nails, rope, lumber, tools (hammer, multi-head screwdriver, saw, pliers)
Fuel for generators (so fill up your mowers and a couple of gas cans) and cars (and I know you already know this, but I will remind you anyway. DO NOT RUN A GENERATOR IN AN ENCLOSED SPACE – like in your home or garage – EVER!)
Don’t forget your pets!
Make sure you have enough water, food and any medications for them as well. And make sure you add their vaccination and microchip papers to your emergency binder, and be aware that many times emergency shelters will not accept pets, so find out NOW whether your local shelters do. If not, make arrangements (with non-local family, etc.) to have a safe place for your pets should you need to evacuate.
Emergency binder of important papers.
This is an absolute MUST to gather all of your important papers before an emergency strikes and you need to leave quickly.
Here is a post I wrote specifically on creating your family binder. It also includes a free printable checklist of important documents.
I know this is kind of a scary subject, but an emergency situation like a hurricane or other natural disaster can happen so quickly. It will help you and your family tremendously during and after a disaster if you take some time now to prepare.
So, use these hurricane preparedness tips and check out great resources like the National Hurricane Center for more info or for those who are here in Florida, this is a great guide from our local Tampa news station, WFLA.
So, start saving up now.
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