Hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30th. As Hurricane Matthew approaches the Eastern Seaboard, we took some time to think about what to keep on hand in order to be prepared. We even wrote this handy guide to practical steps to take before or during evacuation. Even if you’re not in Matthew’s direct path, it’s worth it to keep a survival kit around and stocked in the case of tornadoes, other hurricanes, or flooding. An emergency preparedness kit can literally be life-saving—and good for peace of mind. To that end, we consulted the National Hurricane Center to see what they recommend for a basic survival kit.
Here's what they recommend you keep on hand:
- Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable items
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if your kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Once you’ve got these basics in order, FEMA recommends considering adding the following items:
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- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit - EFFAK
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted (nine parts water to one part bleach) bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, it can be used to treat water (16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water). Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
Finally, a first-aid kit should be one of your first preparedness purchases. You’ll want to make sure to stock it well. We like these guidelines from the American Red Cross. Find more information at the FEMA site. And please stay safe.