Preparing for a Hurricane

Hurricane Andrew, Hugo (it’s path here), Rita and Katrina; all excellent reasons for those who live in hurricane prone areas to compile a well thought out and stocked hurricane survival kit. The months of June-November are infamously referred to as the “official hurricane season”. The populations in areas, such as the states that border the Gulf of Mexico, are reminded of the possible threat of hurricanes each year. The National Weather Service suggests dusting off their hurricane survival kits, taking inventory, restocking and remaining well informed.

I have learned, through experience, what it is like to be unprepared for the havoc that a hurricane can create. We were new to Texas when the city of Galveston and Houston took a direct hit by Hurricane Alicia. The storm found our family completely unprepared for what was in store. Like others who had waited until it was too late, we were left with a flashlight, a hibachi, and some canned food (and very thoughtful neighbors).

Needless to say, since our first and only ill prepared time, we had assembled a survival kit that remained well stocked for future possible emergencies.

When putting a kit together, it is a good idea to record the items in order of importance, and check them off as they are collected. In a situation where you are more hurried, it is easy to forget even the simplest item; like band aides.

In consideration to the following list, the named items are recommended in the event that electricity, water and even shelter are compromised. Many of these supplies can be found at your local home improvement and grocery stores. You can add or subtract items to fit your own needs:

– A plastic container to hold items (size will vary).
– Enough fresh drinking water for several days (we keep a supply in the garage year round)-prior to the storm, fill tubs and sinks with water in the event that the water in the toilet tank needs to be refilled
– A weather radio
– 3 or more long life flashlights
– At least a 4 day supply of batteries; check sizes (include battery sizes for any electronic devices that your children may be using; ipod, handheld game).
– Up to date first aid kit that includes varied sized bandages and antiseptic
– Cooler(s) filled with ice bags-ice bags can also be used to keep in freezer for additional temperature control of frozen foods.
– Enough non perishable foods, can opener, handy wipes
– Weather proof lighter
– Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clean clothes
– Paper products and utensils in the case that water becomes contaminated
– A hibachi/lighter fluid and charcoal for cooking
– Children may even set up a mini kit of activities to relieve any anxiety they may have

When Hurricane Rita was predicted to hit the Texas coast, we all knew, after Katrina, how unpredictable the projected path of a hurricane could be. We set up our supplies in a windowless room to wait out the storm. Luckily we were not hit as predicted, but we were fully prepared otherwise. It felt much better to know that this time, I had well over three essentials to get through a hurricane if needed.