As residents of the Florida Panhandle, WFEC members realize how important it is to be prepared for hurricane season and just how quickly storms can form and move inland. As we know too well, some storms can strengthen very quickly, leading to a rush for supplies and possible shortages.
It is important to gather enough items and stock up on enough essentials to build a disaster supply kit to last you and your family members a minimum of 7 days (perhaps longer). You can build your supplies up over time by adding a few items each week or month. What items should you include in your disaster supply kit? Here are some ideas:
- Water. Enough water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation to last for at least 7 days – a minimum of 1 gallon per person per day.
- Food. Enough for a minimum of 7 days. Nonperishable packaged or canned foods & juices work best. Remember to include foods for individuals who have dietary restrictions like allergies, infants, or elderly family members. Also, remember to pack some of your family’s favorite snacks.
- Manual can opener.
- Cooking tools and fuel.
- Flashlights and extra batteries.
- Paper plates and disposable utensils.
- Pillows, blankets and sleeping bags.
- Clothes and sturdy shoes to protect you from debris.
- First aid kit, prescription medications and other medicines.
- Battery operated NOAA weather radio.
- Cleaning supplies, garbage bags, moisture wipes and other items for sanitizing.
- Cash. Banks and ATMs may be closed for extended periods of time.
- Items for children & infants. Toys, books, games, stuffed animals, blankets, children's medication, diapers, wipes, formula, juices, baby food and other items to care for small children and infants.
- Pet care items. Kits for pets should include: sturdy leashes/harnesses/carriers; food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan; medications, copies of medical records (stored in a waterproof container), pet first aid kit; current photos of you with your pet; information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian. Also, don’t forget the pet beds and toys.
It’s also important to consider adding comfort and priceless items to your kit since you may be away from your home for an extended time and your property may be damaged. Grab any items that are irreplaceable or may provide comfort to your family, especially your children. Ask yourself, “What would I need for myself and my family if a hurricane struck?” Add any of these items to your hurricane preparedness checklist.
Having an emergency plan is important, too, if severe weather causes floods, fires, or other crisis situations. Should your household need to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere, do all family members know what to do and where you would go? Are they familiar with steps to take in case you become separated from one another? Is there a plan for letting loved ones know you’re safe? Don’t leave these questions unanswered.
We’re connecting you to readiness so you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home during storms and power outages. As your cooperative, we care about you and your family.