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How to Prepare for Hurricane Season: Important Tips and Supplies

Andrea lives in Florida and is familiar with how to prepare for hurricane season.


Start Preparing for Hurricane Season Now

If you live in Florida or Texas—or any other state that has experienced the wrath of a hurricane—you know the importance of hurricane preparedness. The hurricane season lasts from June to November.

While we have no control over the weather, we can do our best to be prepared. I live in Central Florida and survived Hurricane Irma last year, and this experience taught me a great deal about hurricane preparedness. I would like to take this opportunity to share my ideas, suggestions, and tips for hurricane supplies.

Buy Supplies Early to Save Money

My first suggestion is to start buying supplies early, and do not wait until the last minute. I noticed that when I waited until the last minute that some supplies, such as LED lanterns, cost more during hurricane season. The price goes up when a storm is named and the demand is higher. As a result of this, I have already purchased extra LED lanterns to add to my hurricane kit for this season.

Like most people today, I live paycheck to paycheck. In the past, I used this as an excuse not to purchase hurricane supplies until I felt they were warranted. I have since learned better through Hurricane Irma. This year I am purchasing my supplies over time before the season starts. Each payday I purchase items for my hurricane preparedness kit so that I am well prepared in the event of another hurricane. This way I am not left without the necessary supplies and I'm not subjected to price increases or even price gouging.

Have a Five-Day Supply of Food and Water

I have noticed through research that most hurricane lists on the internet say to have enough water and non-perishable food items for three days, but after Hurricane Irma I would suggest having at least five days of supplies, if not more.

There is a method to my madness and I will explain my thinking on this for you. As previously mentioned, I survived Hurricane Irma. While I reside in Central Florida and was not in the hardest-hit areas of Florida, some people in my neighborhood were without power for 10 long days! I was one of the lucky ones that got power restored within 24 hours. Knowing that people only three homes down suffered without power for 10 days, I learned to plan better for the next season and get serious about hurricane preparedness.

Get a Portable Cell Phone Charger

During my research, I also noticed that most lists do not include portable cell phone chargers, which are very necessary in today's world. If the power is out for several days, there will be no way to charge a cell phone and you can be left without a way to call for help in an emergency situation. With this in mind, I highly recommend and have two different types of chargers in my emergency kit. The first type is a regular portable cell phone charger that I keep charged. The second type is one that is solar and crank powered. I would rather be safe than sorry in an emergency situation.

Set Aside Clean Clothing

Something else that I did not see on the hurricane lists online are extra underwear as well as other articles of clean clothing. Considering the fact that some of my neighbors were without power for 10 days after Hurricane Irma, and that the county asked us to cut back on showering and washing clothes in order to avoid a sewage backup in our homes after the power was restored, I feel that it is important to have extra clean underwear on hand.

Prepare for Medical Needs

Make sure you consider medical needs when preparing for a hurricane. An example of this could be if you have an insulin-dependent diabetic in your family. You must make sure that you have extra insulin on hand. Ask your pharmacist and/or Primary Care Physician the requirements to receive and keep extra on hand. Refill all prescriptions if a hurricane is predicted to hit your area. Planning ahead can ensure that you are well prepared to care for your family members and avoid some medical-related emergencies during and after a major hurricane.

Prepare a "Go Bag"

Keep in mind that hurricanes spawn tornadoes and can also cause flooding. Even if you do not live in a low-lying or flood-prone area drainage systems can fail during a hurricane so be ready. With this in mind, I recommend having a “go bag” ready for each family member to grab in seconds in the event of an emergency evacuation. In my go bag I have clean clothing and underwear, hygiene items, medications, portable cell phone chargers, and important papers in waterproof case or cover.

Papers that I recommend having with you are birth certificates, social security cards, titles and deeds, insurance papers, and any other legal documents that would be difficult to replace or required to file an insurance claim. Have gym shoes or other closed-toe shoes next to your go bag because you will want good foot protection in the hurricane debris especially if you have to walk to find help or reach an emergency vehicle.

Plan Ahead

Being prepared for a hurricane does not have to break the bank or be so stressful. Plan ahead and watch for sales. If you are an Amazon Prime Member you can create a “hurricane” wish list and watch for sales for necessary items. You can also keep your eyes open for local sales. Do price comparisons on items prior to purchase. Save money on necessities by purchasing off-brand items that are just as good as name brand and end up getting more for you money. An example of this is batteries. Amazon Basic batteries are just as good as the leading brands and are more affordable.

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Florida usually has a hurricane supply tax-free holiday once per year. Some items that are tax-free during the holiday include batteries, weather radios, and flashlights. This is a good time to stock up on batteries and get that weather radio that you have been meaning to purchase.

Have an Emergency Radio for News

Something that made Hurricane Irma a little more bearable for me was having a trusted news and weather source to keep me well updated and provide necessary information before, during, and after the storm. My trusted source is WKMG in Orlando. Even when I was without power and cable I was able to listen and keep up to date via battery-operated radio. I found it very comforting to hear familiar and trusted voices throughout Hurricane Irma. I recommend before the storm select your trusted source and know how to tune in during a power and cable outage. It pays to plan ahead.

Subscribe to Local Emergency Alerts

In addition to this, make sure that you are subscribed to your local emergency management and government via text and email before a storm arrives so that you will receive emergency messages. During Irma and the outages, I felt so disconnected from the rest of the world and having those emergency message subscriptions in place and being able to listen to WKMG via radio made the situation much less scary and stressful than they could have been.

Special Considerations: Pets, Children, and Elders

While creating your emergency plan make sure that you consider three factors if applicable, pets, children, and elders with special needs.

Find out what hotels and shelters allow pets if you have pets. If you have family members with any special needs find out what shelters can accommodate any special needs. If you are going to go out of town to evacuate find a pet-friendly hotel if required. If a family member has a medical condition and has special needs select a hotel close to a reputable hospital. These details can ensure that your evacuation plans are successful.

If you have free space on your cell phone you can save a copy of your emergency plan to access in case of emergency. If you do not have enough space on your phone a cloud server can be another option. If you have a safe deposit box at a bank you can have a hard copy of necessary insurance information (titles, deeds, evidence of insurance coverage, insurance cards with numbers, etc.) or copy on a flash drive stored there in case of emergency that you may need after the storm in order to file a claim.

Come Up With a Plan

Make sure that you educate yourself and your family. Come up with a plan in case of evacuation or if family members get separated and make sure all members know and understand the plan. Educate yourself by watching the hurricane information specials on your local news source and on the weather channel. Education, awareness, and planning are the keys to survival.

Prepare Your Home

If you own a home, research online how to prepare your home and learn from hurricane specials on TV. Make sure you do not wait until the last minute to obtain sandbags and wood to board up windows. If you rent request information on a hurricane plan in advance from your landlord or property manager and know in advance if they will help you prepare the property or if it is your sole responsibility to do so. Failing to plan is planning to fail during a major hurricane.

Hurricane Supplies

I will share a list of important hurricane supplies below. You should go over it and customize it for your family's needs. While reviewing the list consider any personal or specific medical or other special needs for members of your family. Think about your needs in the event that you are left without power for five or more days. Make sure that you include family pets in your emergency supplies and plans. My list below is just a guide and meant to help you start your Hurricane Supply Emergency Kit. I hope that this information helps you and your family prepare for this hurricane season. I wish everyone who reads this the very best.

Emergency Items for Hurricane Preparedness

  • Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 5 days)
  • Water (enough to last at least 5 days)
  • First-aid kit (includes prescription medications, glasses, hearing aid if applicable)
  • Portable cell phone chargers (at least one for each phone)
  • Extra clean underwear and other articles of clothing (in case of an extended power outage)
  • Closed-toe shoes (shoes that you can walk in and will protect feet from hurricane debris)
  • Baby wipes and Clorox wipes
  • Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
  • Flashlights and LED Lanterns (have extra batteries on hand)
  • Battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
  • Waterproof container with cash and important documents
  • Manual can opener
  • Lighter or matches
  • Books, magazines, games for recreation (Have non-electronic entertainment options ready in the event of a power outage for children if applicable.)
  • Special needs items: pet supplies such as food and water, baby supplies, care items for elderly if applicable.
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • Charcoal Grill with charcoal, lighter fluid, and lighter to cook with during power outage. (Purchase enough charcoal and lighter fluid for at least 5 days.)
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Have a “go bag” ready for emergency evacuation for each family member in case of tornado, flooding, or other Hurricane related emergency. (Clothing, personal needs, money, and important papers in waterproof case or cover.)
  • A plan for evacuation and for if family members in the event are separated during an emergency situation.
Author Andrea Picarelli of Orlando, Florida, with her beloved Pomeranian, Oliver.

Author Andrea Picarelli of Orlando, Florida, with her beloved Pomeranian, Oliver.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


FlourishAnyway from USA on April 26, 2018:

You had some great insights — especially the clean underwear and cell phone charger. Great resource and your dog is precious.

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