If you’ve never lived through a hurricane, all you needed to do was to turn on the news over the last few weeks to see the devastation that Hurricane Harvey caused in Texas and that Hurricane Irma caused in Florida and Georgia. Just seeing what this kind of storm can do should be enough to make you want to be prepared for the next one if you are in an area near seawater (they hit every year, though, thankfully, not usually as hard as these two).
If you decide to stay put through a hurricane (the first consideration is to always consider whether you should leave the area), then there are a few items that you will want to have on hand to make sure that you have the best chance of surviving. Rich M gives some suggestions for items to stockpile if you’re going to stay put through a hurricane, with our comments:
- Bottled water: Having weathered the aftermath of Irma, I can attest to how useful this item is. As long as you have safe water, you can survive a lack of food for three weeks or more. But, without water, you have three to four days to survive.
- Non-perishable food (such as canned). While you can survive for a few weeks without food, it’s not a pleasant experience. Having shelf-storable food is good to have on hand.
- Fuel. This is important both so that you can drive to other areas to get supplies (in my area, during the Irma aftermath, some grocery stores had power when nearby homes did not) or to power a generator to run your refrigerator and air conditioning if you have people in the house who will not handle heat well such as the elderly or those with asthma.
- A way to cook food. A non-electric grill or camp stove can be useful when you don’t have power.
- Flashlights and batteries. Going to the bathroom in absolute darkness is darn inconvenient. That’s all I’ll say about that.
- Battery operated radio. This is useful for both weather updates and updates on restoring power and water services or where you can get emergency supplies.
- Recharging battery for your phone. You may not realize how much you use your smartphone (or even a basic cell phone) until you face the threat of running out of power for it.
- Solar phone charger. See #7.
- Good first-aid kit. People get injured in hurricanes and when cleaning up the mess afterwards. Have first aid supplies handy.
- Toiletries, especially toilet paper. I think you know why this is important.
- Insect repellent. Mosquitoes tend to increase in warm humid conditions, but that doesn’t mean that you want to be their feast.
- Baby formula and diapers if you have a baby. They need to eat and have toiletries, too.
- A complete set of important documents in a waterproof container. This includes insurance information, identification, birth certificates, property deeds and titles. You’ll want these for filing any claims with your insurance companies or for police reports for any looting. Alternately, you can take pictures or scan these items into electronic documents and email them to yourself.
- Laminated list of emergency phone numbers. If you need to dial emergency contacts but your smartphone is down, this will be useful.
- Cleaning supplies. In Irma, the storms were well gone before the power came back on. It’s a perfect time to clean.
- Rain gear. If you have to be outside in the pouring rain, you’ll appreciate having this.
- Water purifier. See #1.
There you have it: seventeen items to consider having on hand to weather out a hurricane. If you find yourself unfortunate enough to have to do that, you’ll appreciate having these things on hand.