By Alan Markoff
To prepare for hurricane season, each home should have an emergency supply kit. You will need to pack some essential items to help keep your family safe and healthy.
Keep in mind a hurricane could cut off your power and water supply. You also may not be able to drive because of damage to your car. Roads may be flooded or blocked.
That’s why it’s best to be prepared – stock up on everything you might need now. Ensure there are enough supplies to last at least three days for each person. Do not forget pets. Here is a list of essential emergency supplies, which you may need during and after the storm:
It is recommended to stock one gallon of drinking water per person, per day to ensure hydration. Aim for a three-to seven-day supply. Water is also necessary for bathing, food preparation, cleaning and flushing toilets. This water should be clean, but doesn’t necessarily have to be store-bought bottled water. Fill bathtubs and large jugs prior to a hurricane to have lots of water for a variety of purposes.
If the electricity goes out, the ATMs might not work and the banks might not be open. Merchants won’t have a way of running credit or debit cards, and many businesses will operate on a “cash-only” basis. Have some U.S. dollar cash on hand as well, just in case you need to leave the island quickly.
Stock up on foods that don’t require refrigeration or cooking. Store at least a three-day supply and ensure you have a manual can opener.
Hurricanes tend to cause the electricity to go out and that means darkness after sunset. Flashlights are indispensable for moving around inside a dark house, but they’re less useful for general room lighting. A battery-powered florescent lantern or two are the best bet in kitchens, dining rooms and livings areas after a storm. Don’t forget extra batteries.
FIRST AID KIT
Having a first aid kit – either one you buy or one you put together yourself – is essential. Hurricane debris will create numerous opportunities for a variety of cuts, gashes, scrapes and punctures. And conditions after a hurricane can be unsanitary so it’s important to treat even the smallest wound. The kit should include a variety of different-sized bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze pads and adhesive tape. Also have waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Be sure to have at least a two-week – and preferably a full month – supply of any prescription medication. Have a non-prescription pain reliever on hand as well.
A BATTERY-POWERED RADIO
Having a battery-powered electronic device capable of receiving local radio broadcasts is very important during and after a hurricane. The loss of electricity can prevent television and Internet reception, so a radio might be your only way of hearing important notices, advisories and news. Don’t forget extra batteries.
GAS OR CHARCOAL GRILL
Not having any hot meals can get old very quickly, but many households only have electric ranges, which won’t work if the electricity goes out. If you have a gas range in your home, great, but just make sure the connection didn’t get damaged during the storm before you use it. A gas or charcoal grill, or a propane camp stove, will work, too. Ensure you have full propane canisters or charcoal on hand and remember to use those cooking methods indoors.
PAPER TOWELS AND TOILET TISSUE
You really don’t want to be without a good supply of either of these post-hurricane essentials. Paper towels can be used for a number of clean-up jobs, as napkins and for wiping hands and faces.
HEAVY-DUTY GARBAGE BAGS
These are useful for cleaning up debris, but also for household garbage, the collection of which could be disrupted.
PAPER PLATES, PLASTIC FORKS/KNIVES/SPOONS
The less dishes you have to wash after a hurricane, the better.
A SOLAR PHONE CHARGER
Keeping cell phones, tablets, notebooks and other important small electronic devices charged can be a challenge after a hurricane, especially for those without a generator. Adapters for charging in the car are handy, but cars – as we learned in Hurricane Ivan – can be destroyed during storms. A solar charger can be a vital post-hurricane tool.