A well-stocked emergency kit during hurricane season can mean the difference between a few uncomfortable nights at home, or a miserable and outright dangerous experience.
Before the next big storm hits your home, make sure you put these five key items aside in your hurricane emergency kit to protect your loved ones during those rainy, windy, flooded days.
1) Food & Beverages
Being hungry and thirsty is uncomfortable in the short term, and can become a serious problem should you become a victim to flooding, home damage, or electrical surges. In the short term, a few snacks will make life easier. In the long term, canned goods can keep you fed—if not happy—until flooding recedes and you can get back to the grocery store.
The key item here that’s easily forgotten is water. In a hurricane, you can end up surrounded by filthy, undrinkable water—and if the storm is bad enough, normal water lines can be compromised, leaving you without a safe source of fluids. A few gallons of clean drinking water kept in a closet can save your life!
2) Essential Electronics
Consider which electronic devices you’ll want available when sealing yourself away in a secure area to ride out a storm.
At the bare minimum, you’ll want to have a cell phone handy for emergency calls, and a charger to keep it powered. If you’re worried about access to a reliable charging source, pre-charged blocks, spare batteries, or hand-crank chargers can also be a sound investment.
Anything else will be for comfort or information purposes—just don’t end up wasting limited power from an emergency power source just to keep a non-essential device turned on.
3) First Aid & Medications
A health emergency during a storm can be exponentially more dangerous than the same emergency any other time; even if the hurricane isn’t so severe as to impede road access for an ambulance. The additional load of calls to emergency services during bad weather can mean dangerous delays.
A severe hurricane can also result in nasty flooding, which can in turn lead to minor injuries, like scrapes or cuts. These minor abrasions can turn into a dangerous infection without appropriate care.
It goes without saying that basic supplies such as necessary non-prescription medications should be kept handy. Make sure to stock disinfectant, bandages, and pills to handle pain, allergies, and other common sicknesses.
4) Access to News Sources
A reliable source of news is critical when riding out a storm, for a variety of reasons. For this reason, it’s recommended that you keep an emergency radio; one that can be charged via hand crank as a part of your kit. This will give you 100% reliable access to ongoing information related to the hurricane, emergency response updates, and other relevant information throughout the storm.
You can of course use more advanced technology to fulfill the same role; a cell phone or laptop can provide easier access to the same information, as well as entertainment, but you may find yourself without power or the ability to recharge your devices. In which case you’ll want to conserve the battery of your cell phone - or invest in a hand crank USB charger, to keep it alive indefinitely.
5) Hand Tools
Additional supplies, such as a few hand tools, can cover a range of minor to major problems that would otherwise be insurmountable - especially if you end up trapped by the ongoing storm that's caused damage to your home. Consider packing a can opener, screw driver, hand saw, hammer, crow bar, or any other small tools you can store in a portable container.
You’ll never regret having too many tools, only missing the one you really need!
Other Resources to Consider
In addition to preparing a basic emergency supply kit, take time to formulate a family hurricane plan to keep everyone organized when severe weather hits.
For even more guidance, read the Essential Hurricane Safety Handbook for Florida Residents.
Impact Windows - Your Best Safeguard During Hurricanes
For the most part, a hurricane emergency kit only becomes truly relevant when a storm exceeds expectations and causes real damage. Avoid relying on your last-resort tools by installing impact doors and impact windows to keep the storm where it belongs: outside of your home, away from your family and your belongings.