Preparing for Hurricane Season
With Irma still fresh in the minds of Naples residents, we face another hurricane season. Hopefully this year will be a quiet one for us but it’s always good to be prepared for the worst as the season approaches. By starting early, you’ll avoid the crowded and often chaotic stores once a hurricane watch is issued.
As you prepare you should stock these basics for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, and special items like medicines and pet food. In case of an evacuation, keep the items you would most likely need in an easy-to-carry container like storage bins, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag.
food & water
At minimum, store a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that don’t require refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water like ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables. Also have canned juices, staples (salt, sugar, spices, etc.), protein bars, and vitamins on hand.
Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. Typically, people need at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and those suffering from illness will need more. Store one gallon of water per person per day. Keep at least a three day supply of water per person.
sanitation, clothing & bedding
Whether you are evacuating or staying through the storm, make sure you have these important items on hand. With Irma’s approach, 6.3 million people were ordered to evacuate and many found stores along the way and at major evacuation destinations were out of staple items due to the sudden influx of people. Stock up on things like toilet paper, towelettes, and soap.
first aid & special items
While you can assemble your own kit, your can also purchase one online. This is usually cheaper and always easier. If you do want to make your own, include items like adhesive bandages, sterile dressing and gauze pads, antibacterial hand wipes or hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves, adhesive tape, anti-bacterial ointment, and cold packs. A complete list of items can be found at hurricanesafety.org.
Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and the elderly. Formula and diapers will go fast as will prescription drugs so make sure you call your doctor at the first sign a hurricane might be heading your way if you are running low.
tools & supplies
Before hurricane Harvey, things like a signal flair and plastic sheeting might have seemed a little extreme but after seeing people trapped on their roofs for days, nothing is overkill. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries. Also having some cash or traveler’s checks on hand in case credit card machines are down in the aftermath can be a good idea. Items like a non-electric can opener, utility knife, pliers, tape, and matches in a waterproof container can all come in handy. Also consider adding more “intense” items like a signal flare, whistle, and plastic sheeting to your supply list.
possessions & documents
You never know how long it might take to return to your house if you need to evacuate so protect your valuables and by storing them in waterproof, portable containers and by taking them with you if you leave. While you can replace documents like wills, insurance policies, deeds, passports and social security cards, it’s better to take them with you in case there is trouble with looting after the storm.
Also take an inventory of valuable household goods and save family records (birth, marriage, death certificates) that might be more difficult to replace if they get damaged.
The pictures of pets left behind after hurricanes last year was heartbreaking. Please take your pets with you if you evacuate. Have current ID tags for every pet and securely fasten them to your pet’s collar and carry a recent photograph of your pet. Transport them in secure pet carriers and keep them on their leash or harness. Call hotels at the location you’re evacuating to—some hotels will lift their no-pet policy for disaster situations. If you can’t find a hotel, reach out to friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in the city you’ll be staying in to arrange foster care. Pack a week’s supply of food, water, medication, cat litter, etc. Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.