Hurricane season begins on June 1 each year, but the Tropics really start churning right about now (mid-August). I’ve lived through a number of hurricanes, as a kid and now as an adult with my own household. There are plenty of lists out there about what you should have on hand, but I’ve put together a list of practical things to add your current supply list.
While many businesses shut down in a hurricane, I still am required to report to my full time job in the fire service. My husband’s job requires him to report to our state emergency operations center. We pack our kids up and send them to my parents, knowing that it might be a few weeks before we get to see them again.
Here’s my practical list that you can use if you are at home or stranded in a destination where a hurricane may impact:
Ice – We have an outdoor freezer and keep extra bags of ice, just in case. Once the electricity goes out, the ice keeps things from spoiling, as long as we don’t open the freezer. We also get extra bags of ice and put it in large ice chests to help us get through the first few days post hurricane.
Batteries – If you know a hurricane is on the way, make sure all of your rechargeable batteries have a full charge. I keep my Rayovac rechargeable batteries charged and also have regular alkaline batteries of every size on hand. These power our radios, flashlights, and other small electronics.
Coffee – If there’s one item I use excessively during a hurricane, then it has to be coffee. I make sure that I have extra bricks of Community Coffee Dark Roast to keep my husband and I caffeinated as we take turns working shifts at our respective jobs. My husband likes his hurricane brew old-school, cooking on a propane burner with a drip pot. I like my luxury and boil water on the burner for use in my French Press. For those that like things a bit more convenient, you may want to invest in a 12V coffee maker.
Bug Spray – When the power goes out, the windows go up, and people spend more time on the back porch. Be sure to have plenty of bug spray and mosquito repellent on hand to deal with the increase in the bug population that seems to come about after any hurricane or storm.
A Power Inverter – Your car’s battery can be a good source of power for charging things a few days after the power goes out and all your batteries and electronic begin to dim. We use a car charging power inverter on road trips and it also comes in handy when I need to recharge my laptop or video camera.
Illumagard – If you haven’t already heard of the this neat gadget, you should check it out. It’s a light bulb that charges during normal electrical use and then provides lamp light during a power outage. This rechargeable lightbulb is a good investment no matter what part of the US you live in.
Grilling Supplies – When the power goes out, that means you can’t cook inside. We take things outside and start grilling the meat starting to defrost in the freezer or cook a big one-pot meal on our propane burger. Make sure you have non-perishable ingredients and spices available and improvise.
Adult Beverages – Neighbors come together during disasters, and with a power outage you’ll see many neighbors you don’t always encounter. Post hurricane is a time when neighbors end up coming together and visiting. It’s always nice to offer a cold beer pulled out of your big ice chest to a neighbor who has been cleaning up debris from their yard and house.
Paperback Books – Those electronic reading devices are nice…..until the electricity goes out for days.
Approved Gas Containers – Most disaster plans recommend having your vehicle tank filled, but we go one step further and keep gas containers available, just in case. During Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, we were one of the first homes with electricity. I bartered clothes washing for gas runs. Coworkers would drop off their laundry and pick up my gas containers to have them filled. We would make a swap once the laundry was finished.
Disposable Plates and Cups – I’m all about living green, but when you’re experiencing a disaster, being able to wash dishes is one of the last things you want to think about. Be sure to recycle!
These are just a few practical items to add to your disaster supply kit that’s filled with the basic necessities. How do you make disasters and hurricane recovery more comfortable? It’s times like these that you learn to appreciate the little things in life — and how to throw a hurricane party.