by Erin Silver
Hurricane season is approaching, so you’ll want to stock up on all the essentials well in advance – especially since the world is still in the midst of a pandemic.
If you’re a local, you already know what kind of conditions hurricanes can create. From June to the end of November, you might expect wild winds, torrential rain, power outages, and knocked-down trees. That last thing you’ll want to worry about is running out of basic supplies during an emergency. Experts recommend preparing supplies to last at least three days minimum. So what exactly are the essentials if you’re planning to weather the storm at home? Here’s a list to get you thinking…
Canned, nutritious foods – like meat, chilli, tuna, veggies and soup – as well as items like peanut butter, crackers, instant coffee, granola bars, protein bars and even comfort foods like chocolate, are great to have in the pantry. You should aim to get enough for between three and seven days of food per person in your family. Check expiry dates in advance. Don’t forget about baby formula and pet food. You’ll also need things like a hand-operated can opener, plastic cutlery, plates, garbage bags and antiseptic wipes to clean eating surfaces. Don’t forget to buy some fresh foods, too. Fruits like apples can last without refrigeration for several days.
SAFE DRINKING WATER
Experts recommend having three gallons of bottled water per person (and pet) on hand at home. That means that if your family has five people and a dog, you’ll want to have 18 gallons of water each day—minimum. If mom is breastfeeding, you’ll need extra to keep her hydrated. Pick up as many cases or jugs as you need. You’ll also need water for sanitation reasons, such as for washing hands and bathing. Make sure jugs of water won’t break or decompose. In other words, don’t store water in empty milk cartons! You might even want to buy water purification tablets in case you need to boil water before it’s safe to use.
You can buy a ready-made first aid kit or create your own. Make sure it includes disposable gloves, gauze, tape, Band-aids and antibiotic ointment. Don’t forget to include hand sanitiser and wipes, to help your family stay clean and healthy.
Refill any medical prescriptions in advance to be sure you don’t run out. Get to the store for over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol or Imodium in case someone feels unwell.
In case you need to evacuate your home or leave for a medical emergency, stock up on disposable face masks to stay safe—and keep everyone safe wherever you go. These masks will also help reduce exposure to dust or airborne particles that can filter through the air after a storm.
DIAPERS AND WIPES
If you have a baby, make sure you have enough diapers, wipes and cream to change your baby’s diaper as often as is needed. Are there any other baby items you might need? A soother? Bottles? Formula? Medicines for teething? Pedialyte for dehydration? When you’re walking down the aisle of your local store before the storm, think about all the things you’d want to have handy in case a storm hits when you least expect it.
Do the laundry in advance, or perhaps put aside some clothes you might need in a pinch. Do you have enough of everything for every member of the family? Do you have replacements should whatever you’re wearing get wet or dirty? What about your favourite clothes to keep you feeling comfortable and safe when you’re scared? Don’t forget things like blankets and stuffed animals for your kids.
FLASHLIGHT AND BATTERIES
If the power goes out, you’ll need an extra source of light. Make sure that each member of your family has a flashlight or a battery-powered lamp. Change the batteries in each one before the storm. Buy extra batteries in case they run out. Think about what you might pack for a camping trip. Could you use any of that gear? Is there anything else that could be handy?
CASH AND DOCUMENTS
Put all of your family’s important documents in a waterproof bag. You’ll need things like passports, banking information, credit cards, birth certificates, emergency medical information and cash. If you have special photos or jewellery, consider storing them safely in a safety deposit box at your bank.
How will your family stay occupied if the power goes out? Get together fun supplies. You might want crafts, books, cards, colouring supplies and board games. This will help your family pass the time during a hurricane.
CELL PHONES AND CHARGERS
Ensure your cell phones and tablets are fully charged and that you have a back-up battery pack as well. This way you can make and receive calls to check on your loved ones and to let them know if you’re safe or need help; the tablet can also be a good way to distract kids if the storm gets really wild. It’s also a good idea to write down important phone numbers. Post the list in a place where everyone can access it. This list will be helpful if your internet goes out and you can’t look up the numbers you need in an emergency. Do you know who to call if you have a downed power line, need to call a shelter or have to get to a hospital? This is some homework you’ll want to do in advance. Also be sure to make sure your car has gas and that it’s in working order.