Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends November 30. This is the time period in which storm activity is most likely, though it is possible that a storm can occur at any point in the year. Preparedness for hurricane season includes home and vehicle maintenance as well as stocking up on essential supplies.
Tax free shopping for major purchases is offered in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Virginia on state designated days in the month on May to give consumers a break on items such as portable generators, radios, flashlights, batteries, tarps, tie down kits and other emergency preparedness equipment.
Whether riding out a storm at home or in a shelter it is extremely important to be prepared. Not every hurricane will require evacuation, but there are a number of essential supplies everyone should have on hand during the season in the event that a storm passes through their area. The following are some of the most important items to have on hand:
It is recommended to have at least one gallon of bottled water per person per day available during storm season. There should be enough water to last for at least one week in the case that potable water is not available. This is an extremely important precaution as it is possible to survive for several days without food, but the body can not function without water.
It is also a good idea to fill the bathtub and other containers with regular tap water in case there is no running water available in the aftermath of a storm. This will make tasks like brushing teeth and flushing the toilet possible until water utilities are restored.
Having an assortment of batteries in different sizes to power flashlights, lanterns, portable radios, fans and televisions is second only to making sure to have enough water on hand. Products like an automotive jump starter will make it possible to charge cell phone and laptop batteries as well as power some small appliances.
First aid kit
Anything can happen during a storm and especially in the aftermath of one. Scrapes and cuts will need to be properly treated so it is important to have a fully stocked first aid kit on hand with analgesics, bandages, antiseptic and so forth. It could also be helpful to have something for treating mosquito bites.
Flashlights are far safer to use than candles during hurricane season. Having a number of flashlights and lanterns on hand will insure free movement in a darkened home after the inevitable loss of electricity that comes during a storm and prevent accidents. The light from a lantern will also provide a sense of security and comfort, particularly for children in the event of a small storm where evacuation was not necessary.
Portable radio and/or television
Keeping abreast of what is happening during a storm is essential to safety and survival. Even after a storm has passed through an area there are still many other possible dangers to be wary of and having a portable radio and/or television makes keeping up with the latest news and updates possible.
Even though many people cook with gas stoves which are still usable during power outages, it may not be preferable to do so in the aftermath of a hurricane when it’s already very hot inside. Foods that will not spoil and can keep for a long period of time such as canned tuna, peanut butter, canned or dried fruits, nuts, cereal, and other items not requiring cooking are essential to have on hand during hurricane season.
It is also a good idea not to load up the freezer if a season appears to be rather active in order not to have to throw out food. It is never possible to determine how long power outages may last so it is a good idea to clear excess perishables out the refrigerator even in a non-evacuation situation.
Paper plates, disposable cups and utensils come in handy during times where running water is not accessible or the available water supply may be questionable. Paper plates are more eco-friendly than foam ones, and while plastic cups are sturdy and reusable, they should only be employed if they can be rinsed. Disposable forks, knives and spoons will also be necessary as well as napkins, paper towels and toilet paper.
Toothpaste, mouthwash and other essentials used at home and packed when traveling should be well stocked during hurricane season as well as oral hygiene products that do not require water for use. Moist wipes will come in handy for everything from cleaning hands before and after eating to freshening up in the absence of running water for bathing. It is a good idea to have a bag with an assortment of travel sized items packed and at the ready for every member of the household in case evacuation becomes necessary.
Having a bag of ice in the freezer can come in handy in more ways than one. When riding out a storm, having a full chest of ice (or two) can go a long way to maintaining comfort and keeping food items chilled for a few days.
While no one can fully anticipate what will happen during a hurricane, having essential supplies on hand will make life easier and safer in the event that a storm comes to passes through. Other items to have at the ready in case evacuation becomes necessary are cash, prescription medications, fully charged cell phones, extra clothing, a full tank of gas and important documents