What should be in your hurricane kit? Here's a checklist for food, first-aid and more. Plus, extra tips for water and ice.
With the approaching storm, now is the time to assemble or check your supplies. Here’s our list of everything you should include:
Flashlights and extra bulbs
Clock (wind-up or battery-operated)
NOAA emergency weather radio
Matches (camping stores have waterproof matches)
Plastic garbage bags
Working fire extinguisher
Clean change of clothes, rain gear, sturdy swamp boots
Fully charged battery-operated lanterns. Don’t use candles and kerosene lanterns. They are fire hazards.
Map of the area
List of phone numbers
Copy of insurance policy
Get enough nonperishable foods now to last two weeks. Then put them in a box and leave them alone. Note: Canned and other prepared foods that are salty or dry or high in fat or protein might make for good provisions, but they’ll also make you thirsty.
Water: Enough for 1 gallon of drinking water per person/per day, for one-week minimum. Water for two weeks is ideal. (Also, figure another 1 gallon per person/per day of water for washing hands, flushing toilets and for pets.)
Ice or dry ice
Shelf-stable milk and juice boxes
Canned and powdered milk
Beverages (powdered or canned, fruit juices, instant coffee, tea)
Raw vegetables that don’t need refrigeration (will last only a few days)
Canned vegetables and fruits
Prepared foods (canned soups, beef, spaghetti, tuna, chicken, ham, corned beef hash, packaged pudding)
Snacks (crackers, cookies, hard candy, unsalted nuts)
Snack spreads (peanut butter,cheese spreads, jelly)
Sugar, salt, pepper
Dry and canned pet food
Hand tools: hammer, screwdrivers to use now, shovel and pickax for after the storm
Quarter-inch machine screw sockets and screws
Plastic sheeting to cover furniture
Sturdy working gloves
Duct tape to waterproof items; masking tape isn’t strong enough
Drugstores will be mobbed just before a storm and closed for days after. Keep a two-week supply of prescription drugs. Your first-aid kit should include:
Insect repellent sprays
Citronella candles, insect bite lotion
Petroleum jelly, for relieving itching
Ointments for burns, cuts
Extra over-the-counter medicine (for colds, allergies, cough)
Aspirin, acetaminophen, antacid
Feminine hygiene items
Moist towelette packets
Medic Alert tags
Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
Sterile gauze pads
Waterless hand sanitizer
Manual can opener
Water purification tablets
Matches in a plastic bag
Camp stove or other cooking device and plenty of fuel. (Use only canned fuel indoors — never charcoal or gas. Buy extra gas or charcoal to use in well-ventilated space after storm has passed.)
Ice chests or coolers
Paper plates, napkins
Plastic cups, utensils
Disposable pans for cooking
Plastic bags, jugs or containers for water and ice
Extra formula, baby food
Garbage can with tight lid
Plastic bags for liners
Disinfectant or bleach
Extra toilet paper
– Basics: Enough for 1 gallon of drinking water per person/per day, for one-week minimum (a two-person household would need 14 gallons). Figure another 1 gallon per person/per day of water for washing hands, flushing toilets and for pets.
– Special needs: Without air conditioning, the body is susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration. Have extra water for infants, youngsters, nursing mothers and the elderly.
– Water in bulk: You can buy 5- and 10-gallon water bottles, but they’re hard to move. Or sanitize a large garbage can with lid to store drinking water. Pour 1 cup of regular, unscented household bleach to 30 gallons of water; let stand overnight, drain and rinse well. Fill with tap water and replace lid. Buy longhandled ladle; keep paper cups nearby. Freezing jugs of water also helps keep foods frozen and provides chilled drinking water.
– For household use, sanitize bathtub by scrubbing well, rinsing with 1 cup bleach in tub of water. Let stand overnight; drain; refill. Use for flushing toilet, but if necessary, for washing.
– Keep water clean! Contaminated water can cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration. If drinking water is compromised, use for washing up or flushing toilets. After a storm, do not use tap water for drinking unless you boil it for 3 minutes first or use purifying methods.
– Wait until your utility or local government says water is safe to drink.
– Freezing water jugs: Buy 1-gallon containers of drinking water (2½ gallons, if your freezer will accommodate them), drain out about½cup to leave room for expansion, seal tightly and freeze.
– Keep jugs in freezer even after power goes out; they last longer than in coolers. Once thawed, water is drinkable. Put into smaller bottles to carry, or use it from the larger jugs, but keep it clean and uncontaminated.
– Buy block ice if possible (from ice companies, boat supply stores, some groceries). It lasts up to three times as long as bagged, cubed ice.
– Make your own blocks. When a storm approaches, clean freezer and fill it with stackable containers of water. Large mixing bowls or small buckets work. Freeze, and when frozen, transfer ice blocks to sealable bags.
– Buy extra coolers. Smaller areas are easier to chill. Once power goes out, and foods begin to thaw or warm, pack them, tightly, into the bottom of coolers, then top with ice.
– Try the bathtub. If not using for water, use for ice. Buy huge blocks and load tub. Cover with tarp. Or fill with cubed ice; cover with newspapers and heavy tarp, then layer of plastic to keep cold in. Use drainplug to save water for other uses.
– Put foods under ice, not above it.
This story was originally published by PalmBeachPost.com and shared to GateHouse Media websites in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.