Having lived through multiple hurricane preparations and subsequent storms I have learned a few items that I try to plan on having. I am a single woman, so my concerns tend to be what I can keep on hand, and they tend to be items that I can handle. I am not particularly handy or skilled in the finer points of how to handle fallen trees, or how to swap out wiring or other more complex things. My list here is what I strive for, to keep myself well taken care of for about a month of limited electricity and water.
1. Water – I have a house with multiple pets. I strive to keep about 60 or so gallons of regular drinking water on hand at all times. This gives me about a gallon a day, and it gives my pets about a gallon of water a day as well. In addition to this, I have a very large rain collection barrel of a capacity of about 100 gallons. I also keep a berkley water filter on hand as well. This filter will help me filter out other water should I need it.
2. Fuel for cooking. I have a gas grill with a couple of large tanks of fuel. I also have a very nice Green Egg ceramic grill that uses charcol. The green egg can make bread, or even act as an oven. In addition to these two items I also keep a solar oven that is ready to be used.
3. Storage food. Keep a supply of canned, dry, or instant foods on hand. These can come in forms of instant meals, instant breakfasts, or even cans you simply need to reheat. You can keep things on hand such as spaghetti sauce, canned soups, canned meats, and other foods that you might enjoy. If you have never been around during a hurricane, suddenly the stores are well empty. I hate fighting the crowds for a loaf of bread, and other items. It is easy to stock up on food that you and your family will enjoy ahead of time.
4. Hygine products – these include soaps, deoderant, laundry soap, feminine hygiene products and more should always be kept on hand. These are items that are easy to stock up and have on hand. You don’t have to go hog wild, but buy an extra or two on hand when you go to the store. There are a lot of products that I try to keep up a years supply on hand at any time. A lot of these types of products don’t go bad.
5. First Aid Kit – Have your basics on hand. Are you on a prescription, try to have a week or two extra on hand just in case. Work on having basic pain relief, anti-diareaal, cough and cold, and allergy medicine on hand. Also have clean bandages, and some products like neosporin on hand. You don’t need to stock up on lots of exotic bandages, start with the basics.
6. Lighters and Matches. How are you going to cook without these? We all may be able to work up our own fire, but next time you are in the grocery store pick up a box or two of “strike anywhere” matches, and have some on hand. If you like buy some that come in smaller boxes, so you have a box or two to give out to your neighbor.
7. Battery or solar powered radios. Many models are now made that will charge up your cell phones. You will want to know what is going on, check your radio at the start of the season that you might need it. Don’t wait until you need these things, check them before hand, in fact long before you will need that radio.
8. Extra fuel and some extra cash. When trouble is brewing go to the cash machine, and get cash, try to keep some small bills at the house at all times. This way when the power is down, you still have a way to conduct commerce. You aren’t going to be popular with all big bills. Have a little extra gas on hand too. You may need it to refill your car, chain saw, or even generator.
9. Extra batteries, and an extra phone charger. So maybe you still have an old fashioned phone that uses a cord. These typically always work as long as the phone company has power. If you have a cell phone, try to get a radio that charges cell phones too. Also, pick up that extra pack of batteries, before everyone else does. Stores like Sam’s and Costco, have tons of batteries before a natural diaster, and less so, when one is coming on. Be prepared.
10. Clean clothes, I know, I may be stating the obvious here, but make sure you have some clothes that you can wear, make sure you have comfortable shoes.
There are many other items you should have on hand before you have an emergency. But a lot of items are things you can have on hand long before diaster strikes. So when doom an gloom is coming, you can focus on other things and not spend your time trying to nail down the essentials.