Hurricane Preparedness: Assembling a disaster kit

Tracking the Tropics

Having a disaster kit packed and ready to go can mean the difference between leaving quickly during an evacuation or being hungry while riding out a storm. And really you should have a disaster kit ready year round in South Carolina as we can see flooding…earthquakes or tornadoes anytime. But hurricane season is a good time to check your kit to make sure you have everything you need.

We went shopping with Jennifer Heisler from the Red Cross to load up our hurricane kit and make sure it is ready in case of a disaster.

“I would actually advise most folks to actually start in your own household. Go through your cabinets. Go through closets. A lot of this stuff you probably have around your house. But then if you do need additional items, you can come to your local Ace Hardware store, one of the big box stores. Any one of them has most of the stuff you’re going to need,” says Jennifer.

Here’s some of things the Red Cross recommends keeping in your kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

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Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

It’s important for not just individuals and families to be ready to weather a storm, but also businesses. The Red Cross has a website that will help businesses assess their preparedness level. There are also tips to help businesses get ready.

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