Hurricane Preparedness

Aftermath of Katrina

Damage from Hurricane Katrina

According to FEMA, between the years of 1970 and 1999, more people lost their lives from inland flooding brought on by hurricanes than from any other hurricane-related weather hazard.

Since it is still hurricane season, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss being prepared for hurricane and the dangers they bring.

Your Kit

If you live in an area that is affected by hurricanes, you need a kit. No ifs, ands or buts about it. FEMA offers a recommended supply list that includes:

  • Prescription meds
  • Glasses
  • Diapers and formula
  • Pet food and water
  • Important papers
  • Cash
  • First aid guide
  • Sleeping bags/blankets
  • Extra clothes and shoes
  • Bleach for disinfecting and water purification
  • Matches (and a waterproof container)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Feminine supplies/personal hygiene items
  • Mess kit/eating utensils

You should have enough of these items for at least three days, though being ready for a longer stretch of time is certainly wise. These items are in addition to a Basic Emergency Supply kit. FEMA recommends each family have at least two Basic Emergency Supply kits. You should have a full kit at home as well as a smaller kit for your car and workplace.

A Basic Kit

A Basic Kit should include plenty of water (FEMA says a gallon per person per day, for at least three days), food, weather radio with extra batteries, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle, can opener, maps and a few other things.

While this is a good framework to begin, there are probably plenty of other things you’ll want to include as well. Use this list to spark a conversation with your family about things to have ready if you need to evacuate.

Print out the FEMA list and keep it with your kit so you can check inventory each year. Make sure you keep track of expiration dates for medications. Keeping freeze-dried foods in your kit will ensure you have a safe food supply that isn’t going to expire any time soon. Print and fill out the Family Emergency Plan from FEMA as well.

Additional Preparations

In addition to basic supplies, you will want to be sure your property is secure. Is it likely to flood? How can you reinforce your home? Take in anything that could blow away and don’t forget about pruning trees. You don’t want that big dead branch to end up flying through your living room window.

Can you build a safe room? Think seriously about getting a way to generate power. A solar kit is ideal because you won’t have to worry about storing extra fuel for a generator. A water purifier is a wise investment as well.

Whatever equipment you get, be sure you try it out ahead of time. I remember living in the Florida Keys and purchasing a generator for hurricane season. I didn’t have to use it, thankfully, but took it along on my move to Colorado. Once there, I discovered my nice new generator didn’t even work. I’m glad I didn’t find that out when the power went out during a hurricane!


Even if you have fortified your home, you may still need to evacuate. Make sure you know evacuation routes and have a game plan so you know where to go. Go over your plan with your family so everyone knows what to do if the need arises.

Be sure to have a plan for your pets as well since many shelters do not allow pets.

What would you add to this list of hurricane preparations?

Image credit: PappaRabbit

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