Hurricane Preparedness Week 2020: Assemble Disaster Supplies

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 7:35pm

As National Hurricane Preparedness Week continues. Today we focus on how to assemble the supplies you may need before, during and after a Hurricane. 

You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of three days. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones. The CDC recommends if you need to go to a public shelter, bring at least two cloth face coverings for each person and, if possible, hand sanitizer. (Children under two years old and people having trouble breathing should not wear face coverings).

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put a plan together by discussing the questions below with your family, friends or household to start your emergency plan.

How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?

What is my shelter plan?

What is my evacuation route?

What is my family/household communication plan?

Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?

Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update my emergency plans due to Coronavirus.

Get cloth face coverings (for everyone over 2 years old), disinfectants, and check my sheltering plan.

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or specific needs like operating medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance. Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

Different ages of members within your household

Responsibilities for assisting others

Locations frequented

Dietary needs

Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment

Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment

Languages spoken

Cultural and religious considerations

Pets or service animals

Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

FEMA has a useful tool to use for this. To see the tool click here.

Most importantly practice your plan with your family/household.

Assembling a disaster kit

You'll need to plan for two situations: Remaining in your home after a disaster or evacuating to a safer location.  

Have a three-day supply of food and water on hand -- plan for one gallon of water per person per day and food that won't spoil.

Keep a manual can opener and emergency tools including a fire extinguisher, battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of batteries. 

Disaster Supply Checklist

Be sure to gather the following items to ensure your family's basic comfort and well-being in case of evacuation. 

Cash -- Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods. 
 

Water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three to seven days, plus water for pets.
 

Food -- at least enough for three to seven days, including: Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, food for infants and the elderly, snack food, non-electric can opener, vitamins, paper plates, plastic utensils. 
 

Radio -- battery powered and NOAA weather radio with extra batteries.
 

Blankets, pillows etc. 
 

Clothing -- seasonal, rain gear/ sturdy shoes. 
 

First Aid Kit -- plus medicines, prescription drugs. 
 

Special items -- for babies and the elderly. 
 

Toiletries -- hygiene items, moisture wipes, sanitizer.

Flashlight and batteries. 
 

Keys. 
 

Toys, books, games.
 

Pet care items, proper identification, immunization records, ample food and water, medicine, a carrier or cage, leash.

Store important documents in a fire and water proof container.

Insurance papers
 

Medical records
 

Bank account numbers
 

Social Security cards
 

Deeds or mortgages
 

Birth and marriage certificates
 

Stocks and bonds
 

Recent tax returns
 

Wills 



Keep Your Kit Fresh

Remember to replace stored food and water every six months, keep a supply of fresh batteries on hand and keep your most important up-to-date family papers in a fire and water proof container.

The Importance of Water

Stocking an emergency water supply should be one of your top priorities so you will have enough water on hand for yourself and your family. 

While individual needs will vary depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate, a normally active person needs at least two quarts of drinking water daily. Children, nursing mothers and people who are ill need more water.

Very hot temperatures can also double the amount of water needed. Because you will also need water for sanitary purposes, and possibly for cooking, you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. 

When storing water, use thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined containers. Don't use containers that can break, such as glass bottles. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Camping supply stores offer a variety of appropriate containers.

Plastic containers, like soda bottles, are best. Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place. It is important to change stored water every six months.

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