When a hurricane hits, society can revert to the Dark Ages. Roads flood and become impassable. Power outages force stores to close. Even emergency personnel such as police and paramedics are hindered. You're essentially on your own at home.
As a result, you need to be prepared with a disaster survival kit. Your power is likely to go out, and even with the help of a backup generator, you want to make sure you have a family disaster plan ready for the worst-case scenario--days or weeks of societal breakdown.
Below is a list of things you should keep stocked at home. Many of them are also recommended by the United States government and the Red Cross.
It should go without saying that hydration is of the utmost importance, especially when your air conditioning may be out.
In extreme heat, the human body can lose 1 to 1.5 liters of water through sweat per hour, which can lead to death in a few days.
At a MINIMUM, you should plan on one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Don't rely on tap water. A hurricane will probably interrupt supply. Stock up on store-bought bottles or gallons before the storm hits.
It's true that human beings can go longer without food than without water. (Mahatma Gandhi once fasted for three weeks).
However, think about how hungry you are by dinner on those days you had to skip lunch for some reason. Now, multiply that feeling ten times. Not only will you be suffering, but you won't have the physical energy to help yourself or your family.
Plan to keep yourself sustained with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food such as canned meats and granola bars (have a manual can opener on hand as well).
A hurricane can cause injuries. Cuts, scrapes, and worse can happen if you are hit by flying or falling objects. Injuries might also happen that are unrelated to the hurricane, but you can't get to a clinic. Be ready at home.
Prepare yourself and your family for any basic medical needs with a first aid kit that includes things like plasters, bandages, cleansing wipes, and creams.
When the power is out, you’ll want to see where you're going without having to use your phone's precious battery life to run its flashlight.
Invest in a battery-powered or hand-crank flashlight that will light the way. The night will be darker than ever when the storm passes through and blocks the typical light pollution.
If you run out of power and don't have a backup generator, you will have no way of hearing critically important news about the weather and aftermath on TV or the internet. You'll be completely cut off from the world.
Get a battery-powered or hand-crank radio to hear the local news and other important weather information to stay connected. Consider getting a NOAA Weather Radio, which is designed for emergencies.
Your medical needs don't go away just because a hurricane hits, but you can't expect to just go to the pharmacy if you run out of medication. Even if you don't take regular medications, what if you get sick during the storm?
Make sure to have at least a 7-day supply of medication stockpiled. This includes prescriptions and over-the-counter relief for things like colds, upset stomach, etc.
Think of how often you use your phone in a day. You'll have to cut back during a hurricane or else you'll run out of power. Your phone's primary use during a storm should be getting in touch with emergency contacts or checking the weather.
First, put your phone on power saving mode to minimize battery life. Keep a portable or solar charger on hand in case you do need to charge it (remember, portable chargers need to be charged themselves eventually and there might not be much sun during a storm).
You may want to look into an emergency cell phone that runs on AA batteries.
A utility knife, wrench, and pliers might have more uses than you think during a storm. From turning off utilities, to cutting through some obstacle, you never know when a tool will come in handy.
Your sump pump's job is to keep the water out of your basement during a storm, but if the power goes out, you're out of luck.
Unless you have a battery-backup sump pump, which will keep the water out for a time if your primary pump fails.
If your power goes out, it's extremely helpful to have a portable generator around to keep your electrical essentials running.
A generator eliminates many of the hurricane-related challenges addressed in this article. Now, you can charge your phone, refrigerate your food, and stay connected with the world. It's one of the best storm-prep investments you can make.
We especially recommend an inverter generator because it is compact and can safely power sensitive electronics.