Hurricanes & Other Disasters


Before a Hurricane, Storm or Other Natural Disaster

Remember Sandy was a ``just a tropical storm`` when it hit the USA. Don`t underestimate the power of any storm.

The best place to be during a storm is not in it, or its path. Leave, even if there are no mandatory evacuations. Always leave if mandatory evacuations are in place. A vacation in another State would be nice this time of year. Make arrangements for housing in advance with friends or relatives.

Shelters should be considered a last resort, always. They are not fun or happy places and are not always safe.

Develop a disaster plan for yourself and family. Know where you will meet up, or who you will call outside the area if you become separated. Be sure everyone has important phone numbers with them.

Plan and practice two ways out of your town or neighborhood in the event of an emergency.

Make plans in advance for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets.

Locate and prepare a safe room for your home. Consider having it reinforced. Know where shelters in your county/state are located.

Check your insurance coverage. Most homeowners policies do not cover floods. Take photos of your possessions and store with your important papers. Contact for information about flood insurance.

Post emergency phone numbers by all phones.

Take first aid, CPR and disaster training classes.

Fill your car and motorized equipment`s gas tanks (lawn mower, chainsaw, tractor, etc.) and any additional (approved) gas containers.

Take all trash to dump before the storm approaches.

Check your supply list for food water, batteries, etc.

Check and have a full stock of diapers, diaper supplies, baby food, formula and accessories.

Have pet food and extra water on hand. Place all pet related documents and tags in water tight plastic bags. Have a pet carrier or cage, and a leash and/or mussel ready to use.

Get a supply of cash (small bills) and change.

Refill your prescriptions and purchase a supply of supplements if needed.

Fill your propane tank for your outdoor BBQ.

Scan and/or save computer files and important family photos by printing on paper, a disc or back up devise.

Fill freezer and refrigerator as outlined below.

Wash all clothes and pack some to take with you- several days worth- if you must evacuate.

Bring any outdoor items inside that could blow away. Don`t forget the potted plants. Have water supply specifically for the plants and water just before the storm hits.

Charge cell phones and keep them charged.

Recharge all rechargeable batteries.

Put valuables in waterproof bags.

Make ice in trays and store in bags.

Fill containers with water and freeze.

Run the dishwasher and empty it before the storm hits.

Run the vacuum too.

Clothes pins and clothes lines were ``like gold`` after Katrina.

Have large pots ready to boil water if needed.

Set your freezer to its lowest setting at least 24 hours before the storm hits.

If you have a chain saw make sure it is in good working order.

Trim trees and bushes to make them more wind resistant.

Have some means of protecting yourself and your family.

Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.

Turn off propane tanks before the storm hits.

Close all windows and shutters. Board up windows and doors that have no additional cover.

Turn off electric appliances and unplug, especially sensitive (computers) electronics. A power surge cord is not able to prevent most damage during severe storms. Leave one light turned on so you will know when power comes back on.

Check all fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

Hurricane Season Preparation List

To be best prepared...

Water - at least 3 gallons daily per person for 7-10 days minimum. At least one gallon of clean water to drink and cook with per day, and 2 gallons for washing/cleaning/toilet flushing water.

More Water- Keep your freezer full by putting 2 liter water bottles in them to use to keep freezer colder for a longer period and for additional cold drinking water.

Extra water source- Fill your washer machine and bathtubs with clean water for toilet flushing and cleaning purposes.

Extra water source- Fill coffee pot, coolers, pitchers, outdoor trash cans, sinks, buckets, pots with lids, water tanks, solar water bags, 2 liter bottles, etc. with fresh water.

Extra water source- Put buckets or trash cans under rain gutters to collect additional water.

You can never have too much water in a true emergency. It is the first thing that is needed, yet depleted in most areas after a disaster.

Shelter- a tent would come in very handy- may even be a life saver- after a disaster. You can use it to live in or to store items in during follow-up home repairs or construction. Watch for sales at your local stores. Inexpensive tents can house up to 4 people if needed.

Food- Non-electric can opener, utility knife and at least enough food for 7-10 days minimum per person-- non-perishable packaged or canned food. Be inventive- use crackers or canned brown bread for bread. Get plastic containers to store leftovers or food from cans not eaten.

Food Choices, Suggestions- Peanut butter, tuna, canned fruit, protein shakes, canned or packaged milk, fruit bars, nuts, trail mix, canned salmon, canned vegetables, sugar, salt, pepper, cooking oil, canned soup, cookies, snack cakes, oatmeal, baby food and formula, packaged mashed potatoes, jelly, cereals, honey, hard candy, chips, hot chocolate, granola bars, graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, coffee, non-dairy creamer, maple syrup, dried fruit, canned ravioli. Plan to cook as little as possible. Only purchase foods you and your family like and will eat.

Snack Foods- Have snack foods and plenty of comfort foods. Put them on ice in a cooler if needed.

First 3 Days- Food- Put some perishable foods from the refrigerator in a cooler with ice to eat first. This will prevent opening the door of fridge/freezer, keeping things colder longer.

Drinks- Stock up on your favorite drinks. Gator Aid, fruit juices and Power Aid in small containers so left overs don`t need to be refrigerated. Make green tea, Kool-Aid and other flavored drinks and store them in the fridge or freezer.

Safe food handling- If your refrigerator is not full, refrigerate as much water and/or drinks as possible to keep the refrigerator filled and colder when the electric goes out.

Ice- Buy ice if needed. Fill ziplock bags in advance with ice and make your own supply.

Cooking- Fill your BBQ grill propane tank so you can cook and heat water as needed. Get BBQ grill cooking tools and washing scrubbies ready.

Dishes- Get a good supply of paper plates, plastic bowls and cups, plastic utensils and paper towels so you don't have to wash dishes.

Cleaning Supplies- Have plenty of dish soap, dry towels and antibacterial hand soap available. Paper towels. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizers are handy to have. Rubbing alcohol. Mop. Bag of rags or two bags.

Cleaning & Disinfectant Supplies- Get several gallons of Clorox (non-scented) for disinfecting water and cleaning purposes (clothes, sheets, blankets, toilets, etc.).

To Disinfect Water- The EPA suggests first straining particles from water using coffee filters or layers of cloth. Then, vigorous boiling of water for at least one full minute (preferably longer) will kill germs. OR... Use 8 drops of chlorine bleach to disinfect clear water, 16 drops per gallon for murky water. Allow water to stand (covered) for 30 minutes after it is well stirred. Water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, treat again using the same amount of chlorine and let stand 15 more minutes. Tape an eye dropper or teaspoon to the Clorox bottle.

Sleeping- Have a good supply of sheets, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. Pack some in the car to take with you if you must evacuate.

Bath supplies- Have ready a good supply of clean towels /wash cloths / bathroom supplies / toilet paper / antibacterial soap / tooth brushes / rubbing alcohol / hair brushes / moist cleaning wipes / personal hygiene supplies.

Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes / boots / wading boots / extra shoes / extra socks / dry clothing.

First Aid Kit- be sure it is well supplied. You can watch for sales on first aid supplies during the year and purchase items at a discount to fill your kit. See list of suggested first aid supplies by clicking here.

Medicines / Prescription Drugs- Keep at least a 2 week supply of your medications and supplements on hand. If possible, a months supply is better. Put your doctor and pharmacy phone numbers in with your medications.

Special Items - Have your camera, camera supplies, Ipod, phone, and computer updated and stored in a safe place. Charge batteries in advance or have an ample supply of regular batteries.

Important Documents- Put your phone book, credit cards, insurance information, photos of household items, passports, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, Medicare card, etc.- in a waterproof container or watertight plastic bag. Scan and/or put copies of all important documents in ziplock bags or on CD's. Mail an extra copy of the papers/discs to someone living away from your area for safe keeping.

Flashlights / Batteries- Get fuel for hurricane lamps and use the lamps only if needed as a back up and always when you are in the room with them. Get a rechargeable battery charger to use in your vehicle if needed. Get a supply of extra batteries on hand in advance, various sizes to match your needs. Stores will run out of batteries first. No candles due to possible gas leaks and fire danger.

Emergency Radio - Battery operated NOAA weather radio and extra batteries.

Telephones - Fully charged cell phone and a charger cord for your vehicle to charge your phone. If you have a land line phone in the house that doesn't require electricity it would be helpful. They can be purchased used (cheaply) at thrift stores, Salvation Army Stores, etc.

Money- Cash (with small bills & change), Checks and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods. Get some change for car washes, soda/snack machines, newspaper boxes, and the launder mat if it is operating.

Keys- Be sure to have spare house and vehicle keys.

Entertainment- Toys, Books, Games, Cards and Writing Materials- Have a supply on hand.

Tools - Keep a small set with you during the storm in the event they are needed in an emergency.

Vehicles- Fill gas tanks, get extra motor oil, purchase windshield wiper fluid and fill the container. Fill your tires with air to recommended pressure.

Generator- Check it and do a test run before it is needed. Generators are NOT TO USE IN THE HOUSE or where people are sleeping or staying. Be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector. Be prepared to be under Marshal law after the storm, possibly for days or weeks. (No one in or out of the area, no one to clear roads, no 911 services.)

Supplies to have on hand

Fire extinguishers

Smoke Detectors & extra batteries

2-4 tarps, ties, ropes

Pliers, duct tape, matches and lighters in a waterproof container

Aluminum foil, plastic storage containers

Signal flare, needles, thread, ziplock bags

Camera for photos of damage

Pens, markers, paper

A shut-off wrench to turn off gas and water at the tank

A whistle to wear on a string around your neck for yourself and each family member for emergency search and rescue

Map of the area and State (for locating shelters and traveling alternate routes during road closures)

Toilet paper, towelettes- get more than you think will be needed

Rain gear

Soap, liquid detergents and antibacterial hand soaps

Feminine supplies, personal hygiene items

Plastic garbage bags with ties (for personal sanitation, trash, wet items, dirty clothes, etc.)

5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid to use as a toilet if needed

3 gallons chlorine bleach

Lysol spray

Hat and gloves

Thermal underwear/pj's


Extra eye glasses

Bug spray

Sun screen

Space bags

Glow sticks