Hurricane and Disaster Kit

Summer Storms Arrive and Hurricane Season is On the Way . . . Are You Prepared?

By: Dr. Brenda C. Williams, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent

Have you prepared your disaster supplies kit? This is an excellent activity to plan when the children are out of school (or you may want to go ahead and do it now so it's ready).

The first 72 hours following a disaster is a critical time. It's the time you are likely to be without basic services - water, gas, electricity or telephone. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Families that are prepared can better cope with disasters.

Your plan should include for two options:

Staying in your home for at least three days without services and for evacuation. Ideally, you can collect the items on the checklist, store them together along with easy-to-carry containers. Then if you need to evacuate, the items can be quickly packed and loaded.

Here's a checklist to get you started:

  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) for every family member. Store water in sturdy plastic containers, like soft drink bottles. Do not use containers that are breakable. Replace water every six months.
  • Food that won't spoil, needs no refrigeration and no cooking. Nursing mothers, babies, toddlers and the elderly require special foods. Don't forget food for your pets.
  • Lighting sources: flashlights (check the batteries and purchase extra), oil lamps, lanterns and camp lights. Candles and matches. Waterproof matches are ideal to have on hand.
  • Radio that is battery operated with extra batteries. (It is convenient if the flashlight and radio use the same size batteries).
  • Medicines. Prescription medicines may be hard to get so keep a supply on hand.
  • First-Aid Kit. Include: bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, thermometer, medicine dropper, safety razor and blades, bar of antibacterial soap, packaged moistened towelettes, tongue depressors, cotton-tip swabs, petroleum jelly or other lubricant, latex gloves, and non-prescription drugs such as aspirin, anti-diarrhea and antacid medications, laxative, eye wash, rubbing alcohol, antiseptic or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Personal care or special items. These include: toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, antibacterial soap, combs, brushes, deodorant, shaving equipment, hand lotion, fingernail file, and other hygiene items.
  • Sewing Kit
  • Chlorine Bleach
  • Money. Keep a small supply of cash and change. Credit cards and traveler's checks may also be useful.
  • Clothing. At least one complete change of clothing for each family member. Pack sturdy shoes and include rain gear and work gloves.
  • Bedding. Each family member needs a blanket or sleeping bag. Older adults, babies and small children need additional clothing and bedding.
  • Tools: These tools will be handy to have: adjustable wrenches, hammer, nails, pliers, screwdrivers, grip-type wrench, crowbar, duct tape, shovel (collapsible), pocket or utility knife, signal flare, paper and pencil, rope.
  • Cooking and eating utensils. These include: paper towels, plastic wrap, plastic bags that are self-sealing, heavy-duty aluminum foil, pot holder, liquid detergent, plastic bowls with tight fitting lids, heavy-duty garbage bags, disposable plastic gloves, can opener, bottle opener, sauce pan with lid, frying pan, pitcher, paring knife, spoon, and tongs. Knives, forks and spoons, drinking cups and plates for eating all need to be plastic or disposable. A gas grill would be handy for cooking in prolonged emergencies.
  • Games, books and toys for family members.
  • Extra pair of glasses.
  • Important family documents in a waterproof container. This should include a copy of insurance company contacts, doctors, and your household inventory.

Gathering the items will take a little time but then items can be rotated. You will always have what you need and you will know where it is!