It’s June and that means we are bombarded with lengthy lists of supplies we need to prepare for yet another active hurricane season on the First Coast. But many of us simply lack the time, space and funds to invest in the bevy of suggested hurricane supplies.
If you find yourself in this camp, not to worry! You can simplify your hurricane preparation and avoid the pre-storm buying panic (who really needs 80 gallons of water??). Here are the five main items you need that you can store in a closet or the garage.
Some water – While it’s unlikely the water supply will be interrupted, contamination can happen if power outages affect the water treatment system. For hurricanes, experts say you need one gallon of water per person per day for three days. Many people use less, a few might use more. Assess your family’s water consumption during an emergency including drinking and sanitation, as well as your likelihood to remain without power (some remote homes around Northeast Florida lost power for more than a week after Hurricane Irma). Then, buy water in economical 5-gallon jugs ($10-$15 each). For a family of four in Jacksonville, a couple jugs stored in the pantry should do the trick.
Flashlights & batteries – While candles are a cheaper light source when the power is out, flashlights are far safer and easier to use. Be sure each family member has one flashlight with an extra set of batteries. Even better, invest in hands-free head lamps for everyone. Trust me, at $12.82 for Energizer brand headlamps at Walmart, they are worth every penny.
Sanitation items – After a couple days without air conditioning—or showers—things can get a little smelly. Keep a small bin in the bathroom cabinet with flushable wet wipes, hand sanitizer and hypoallergenic no-rinse bathing wipes (available at drugstores and Amazon).
Emergency radio – Loss of internet and TV might be the most frustrating part of hurricane power outages. Not having access to news to find out what’s happening can be maddening. Where is the storm now? Is it safe to leave? Are the bridges still closed? Is there flooding in my area? When will power be restored? With an emergency radio, you can always stay in-the-know. The top rated Kaito KA500 radio is available on Amazon for $49.99.
Bin of non-perishable food – Keep a stock of ready-to-eat canned foods like meats and fruits, as well as protein-packed bars and snacks. So you know they won’t be mistaken for non-emergency food, store them separately in a bin at the back of your pantry. Just like with water, assess your family’s collective appetite and store enough food for three or so days.
You can find lists with all kinds of supplies, elaborate first aid kits and various tools that can easily cost you thousands and rival the stockpile of a doomsday prepper. If you stick with these five basics when preparing for the 2019 hurricane season, you can rest assured your family will be hydrated, fed and safe.