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Monday, April 29, 2024

Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

While we should be prepared for when a disaster hits, we rarely are. I wrote this a few years ago when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas at a category 5 before scaling the Florida coast and causing quite a mess there.

Many people are not prepared for a hurricane, let alone a category 5 hurricane. When it comes to a hurricane, you need to make sure you are stocked to bunker down, as well as stocked to get out of town.

You never know when a category 1 could turn into a life-threatening category 5 hurricane. Below, you will find things to stock up on before a hurricane that will get you through the mild or severe! 

Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Why Should You Be Prepared for a Hurricane?

Hurricanes and tropical storms pose three different hazards: wind, rain, and storm surge. Depending on the category of the hurricane, you could have minimal damage to less common catastrophic damage.

When you live in an area that often has the threat of a hurricane, you should have enough of everything listed to last you for 7-10 days at the least. Here is why you should be prepared for a hurricane based on each hurricane category:

Category 1

A category 1 hurricane is minimal; however, it can affect you for several days. It can cause some damage to houses, especially mobile homes, tree branches can be thrown or topple on your property, and powerlines can be damaged. Although these damages are minimal, here’s what could happen:

  • Power Lines are damaged which means you may not be able to use debit or credit cards at your local stores. You will need cash. You may lose the ability to communicate, cool your home, have lights, TV or other electrical appliances, etc.
  • Trees branches could cause severe damage to your home. You would need supplies ready during this time. 
  • Stores, restaurants, and shops may be shut down due to power outages or property damage. 

Category 2

During a category 2 hurricane, you’ll have stronger winds which can cause more damage than the category 1 hurricane. Here are some things that could happen:

  • Power outages that last more than a few days. You won’t have power in your home.
  • Power outages can cause stores, restaurants, banks, and shops to shut down for a few days.
  • You may not be able to pay for things like fuel, food, and water with anything but cash for a few days. 

Category 3

Once a hurricane gets to a category 3, you are looking at substantial damage to trees and houses. Here are some reasons why you would want to be prepared for a category 3 hurricane:

  • It will take roofs off of well-constructed homes.
  • Knocks out electric and water systems for days or even weeks.
  • The roads will be blocked by fallen trees and poles.

Category 4

A category 4 hurricane is catastrophic to those who are in its path. You will be looking at more damage than with any of the other hurricanes. Here is why anyone should be prepared for this type of hurricane:

  • Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.
  • Most trees will have fallen and caused damage.
  • Most electric poles will have been damaged and fallen. 
  • You will see catastrophic damage to most homes, even those that are well-constructed. 

Category 5

A category 5 hurricane will need to be prepared for in a whole new way. Most people can not hunker down during a category 5 hurricane. In fact, you’ll want to be prepared to get out of Dodge. Recovery from this can take months. 

Because hurricanes can be so destructive, it is important to be prepared. Below, you will find things you need to stock up on before a hurricane strikes. 

Things to Stock Up on Before a Hurricane

Because hurricanes can go from category 1 to higher categories, it is important to be prepared. You can be prepared by stocking up on the right things in your home. Here are some things to stock up on in case of a hurricane:

#1 Food

Even in a category 1 hurricane, machines at local grocery stores may be down. Buying food may be a challenge for a few days and the stores themselves may have difficulty getting inventory. I would recommend having at least 2 weeks’ worth of food, but at the very least, you need 3 days per person. If you aren’t sure what food to stock up on, here are some good options that include many non-perishable foods:

  • Cereal: a kid’s favorite in any situation
  • Dried fruit: like apricots, mango, peaches, and raisins
  • Soup in a can: I especially like creamed chicken and mushroom soups, but all are appropriate and inexpensive if purchased before the hurricane season. Look for canned goods case lot sales.
  • Canned vegetables: all provide some nutrients we all need. Look for items you can use in some of your favorite recipes, like green beans, corn, peas, and carrots.
  • Fruit in a can: just like veggies, you can get most of your favorite fruits in a can, like peaches, various berries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and more.
  • Powdered or canned milk: many milk options are shelf-stable. If you have family members who are lactose intolerant, consider almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, Brazil nut milk, and cashew nut milk.
  • Peanut butter: like cereal, a favorite with the kids, but also adults. A versatile product with many uses.
  • Granola bars, energy bars, and other snacks
  • Saltine crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Canned meat like tuna, salmon, beef, sardines, and chicken
  • Pet food

#2 Water

Even though a hurricane is sure to dump a bunch of water everywhere, it is not drinkable. Water pipes and lines may be broken. This means you could be looking for another water source in place of running water. The CDC recommends storing 1 gallon of water per day per person for a 3-day supply.

However, I would recommend storing 4 gallons per person per day instead to cover hydration, cooking, some personal hygiene, and limited laundry. Don’t forget to include water for your pets. You will want to store enough water for at least 3-7 days. 

Related: How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking

#3 A First Aid Kit

Whether there is category 1 or a category 3 hurricane, you will want to always have your First Aid kit stocked. This could quite literally save your life in any situation, not just a hurricane. If you don’t have a First Aid kit, you can learn how to fully stock one in my First Aid for Kit for Survival post. There is more to a quality first aid kit than just bandages.

#4 Health Supplies

Usually, you know a hurricane is coming at least a week before it gets here. So, it may be easier to get your medications filled before it hits. However, there are other health supplies you will want to make sure you have such as:

  • Vitamins
  • Pain relief such as Ibuprofen
  • Anti-diarrhea medications
  • Your prescription medications (2 week supply if possible)
  • Insurance cards

#5 Toiletries

Most people think about stocking up on toilet paper, paper towels, and baby wipes, but there are a few other things you really need to keep stocked as well. These include:

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers
  • Toilet paper
  • Sun screen

#6 Important Documents

When SHTF, you want to make sure you stored your important documents where you can easily access them. You’ll need copies of the following important documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance cards
  • Home and property insurance policies

Use my Important Documents Emergency Grab and Go Binder to make sure you have everything you need in one place. 

#7 Other Important Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Additionally, you will want to make sure you are stocked up on some life-saving supplies. Here are some other items you should have stocked in your home:

  • Flashlights: One for each person along with extra batteries. I like my solar flashlights and keep them charged by storing them on window sills.
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Solar-powered chargers and equipment
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Butane lighters and matches: store them in plastic bags to protect them
  • Portable cooler/ice chest
  • Portable barbecue grill or camp stove
  • Utility knife
  • Handheld can opener and eating utensils
  • Extra blankets and pillows in waterproof pouches
  • Bleach: you can use this as your cleaning agent for everything
  • Clothing: at least one extra set in a waterproof container
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Propane canisters or charcoal for BBQ’s using waterproof matches or a lighter
  • Fire extinguisher(s)

Things to Stock Up On in Your Car Before a Hurricane

Just as hurricane Dorian started at category 1 and reached a category 5 by the time it hit the Bahamas, you never know what could happen. Just in case, you should have your car stocked for a hurricane as well. This will help you if you need to evacuate as directed. Here is a list of items you will want to have in your car:

  • Extra blankets
  • 1-set of extra clothes for each person
  • Water-3 days worth per person
  • Food-3 days worth per person as an emergency food supply
  • Paper maps
  • Full gas jug
  • Car charger
  • Important documents binder
  • Smaller first aid kit
  • An emergency car kit

Final Word

When it comes to a natural disaster, a hurricane generally gives you quite a bit of time to prepare. However, when it comes to getting things stocked, hurricane proofing your home, or needing to evacuate, you’ll want to be prepared before you even know a hurricane is coming. Not only are these things to stock up on before a hurricane, but they can be useful anytime you’re faced with an emergency situation.

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Hurricane with Man And Umbrella Depositphotos_11142502_S By Lucidwaters, Hurricane Irma Depositphotos_166696460_S By Felixtm

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