The battle against a hurricane is won before hurricane season begins. The keys are PLANNING and PREPARATION! The time to organize your hurricane kit is now. Do not wait for a hurricane watch to be posted. That’s the time to pull out the kit and get everything set up. A good practice is to assemble the supplies in a waterproof box and store the kit in a safe, dry area of the house. If the watch is escalated to a warning, then it’s time to assemble shutters, pull out the generator and plan for possible evacuation. Once a watch is posted you should pay particular attention to local news and weather bulletins.
Your hurricane kit should include:
- Water—at least one gallon per person per day
- Nonperishable food— sufficient for the entire family for one week
- First aid kit
- Medical needs (extra prescription medicines, extra oxygen cylinders, spare batteries for ventilators, wheelchairs, etc)
- Battery-operated radio
- Blankets and pillows
- Manual can opener
- Hard-wired phone; not cordless/electric phone
- Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged and consider purchasing additional portable chargers (keep in mind even when phone calls don’t go through, text messaging often does)
- Protect your devices with a surge protector
- Extra cash
- Flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs
- Garbage bags (blue Plantation bags and regular lawn bags) and plastic ties
- Hygiene products
- Moist towelettes and several towels
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Special supplies for infants including diapers and formula
- Special supplies for pets including pet food and proof of vaccinations
- Crayons, coloring books and small toys for kids
- Toilet paper
- Utility knife and work gloves
- Pens, pencils and writing paper
- Photos of valuables
- Copies of insurance documents, personal ID, credit card and bank account numbers placed in sealed plastic bags
- Other items specific to your family
A Note About Candles
During a power outage, candles are both unsafe and impractical. In order to light the candles a match or other ignition source is required. Matches may get wet and other lighting sources may get destroyed. Candles left burning can create a fire hazard. Flashlights, with extra batteries, are safer and more reliable.
Window & Door Protection
All windows and doors should have approved hurricane shutters. Properly installed plywood panels may serve as an alternative. Now is the time to take out all the panels, ensure they are in good order and match them up with their respective screws, holes, and bolts. If they do not, make the repairs now. Each set of shutters should be installed and left in place for a short time, then stored in an easily accessible place. All shutters should be removed and or opened during times when no imminent threat is present, in accordance with Florida Building Code.
During a storm power outages are very common. A gas powered, portable generator is an excellent source for temporary power supply to refrigerators, fans, TVs or home medical equipment. Be sure to empty any old gas in the generator, replace worn filters and have a fresh supply of gas available. Generators should be stored and operated in a well-ventilated area, outside the confines of the home and away from windows or doors, as the exhaust fumes may fill the home with toxic carbon monoxide gases.
Water is an essential. Plan on maintaining a supply of drinking water for each member of the household. One gallon, per person, per day, is considered a reasonable supply. This does not include water for bathing, washing clothes or dishes.