New to Hurricane Country

If you are new to Hurricane Country, you will want to

1–Get a hurricane preparedness guide from your local EOC

2–Become familiar with the hurricane categories and their meaning

3–Be sure to include protection from flooding, rain, mosquitoes–bug spray, and sun–hat, sunscreen, shade.

4–Prepare an evacuation kit (72 hr emergency survival kit)

5–Prepare for a week or more of sheltering at home without electricity and/or water.
a chorded phone requires no electricity, store ice, gradually empty freezer and fill with ice during hurricane season, store a cooler and ice chest, (Other ideas: camp stove, generator, chain saw –ideas not requirements.) Store water and additional medical and first aid supplies at home.

6–Watch the weather. If you are traveling or not, keep a heads up for the weather. Prepare for a hurricane in advance. Have a plan to protect your home and windows if you are a home owner.

7–Evacuate if asked to do so. Hurricanes are much more frightening and/or dangerous than most people give them credit for. Be overly cautious and overly prepared to protect life and property.

8–Hurricanes often have tornados that start up out along the edges. Because the hurricane is gone does not mean there is no danger. The eye of the hurricane is silent and still by comparison. It might be only half over, don’t go out too soon.

9–Hurricanes take a long time coming BUT they can suddenly speed up or change direction.

10–It can be long, hot and boring. Keep games or other non-electric activities and ideas on hand to pass the hours especially with children. A battery powered or hand operated NOAA radio will keep you up on the weather news and changes.

11–Board and Unboard: a boarded up home can become a fire hazard. So, you don’t want to board up months in advance or keep it boarded months afterwards. Use your best judgment, but don’t stay boarded longer than necessary.

12–You can add changes to your roof and home to make a stronger, internal shelter. Investigate these if you are interested and able.

13–Roof damage is very common and because it happens to so many at once may be impossible to get fixed right away. Store some big tarps to tack over it while waiting. Make sure you get a licensed professional so you don’t become a fraud victim. The state has information to help you with ensuring you hire a true professional and to help with insurance claims, etc.

14–Have a land line phone: This becomes a reverse 911 where the city can call you to alert you of danger. If you don’t have a land line, register your cell number with the emergency operations in your city.

15–Plan an out of state contact. Make sure all family members know to contact this person to help when getting information and getting back together after a major catastrophic event.

16–Recovery takes time. Sometimes years. Expect to lose some work and save money and supplies to get you through these seasons.

June OTA (step 6)

Although Supplies and Equipment are listed as the 6th and final step to building your 72 hour emergency kit, I’m listing it here 4th or in June rather than August because of the Florida Tax holiday.

Greenies: Be sure you have tarps, flashlights and/or candles or oil lamps, plus the batteries and matches or lighters and oil to keep them going. Of course, flashlights would travel well in kits, oil lamps/candles might last well in an extended power outage at home. A good first aid kit is a must.

Experienced/maintaining: Add weather band radios, rotate batteries so they are all fresh, Start eating up the expensive items in your freezer and replacing it with ice or blue ice blocks, check and update your first aid kit. Make sure you have large enough tarps with plenty of ropes to tie them up in trees for shelters or homemade tents. These can also be tacked over leaky roofs or placed on the ground to protect sleeping areas. Keeping things dry will most likely be difficult. Extra rope can also be used to rig up laundry lines, etc. to dry wet items, etc.

Advanced: Take the opportunity to see if you want to purchase items like a generator and/or perhaps a chain saw (learn how to run one, buy protective equipment, I know you also need bar oil for this). Stock up on a reasonable amount of gas, oil, and bar oil. Learn precautions for any of this big equipment. Generators, for instance, should not be running indoors. If you have a generator or want to buy one, research what you would need. Does it have a refrigerator type plug? Could it charge your cell phone? Do you have enough heavy-duty, long extension cords (it has to be running outside and reach to your appliance, etc.). Gas cans need stabilizer added to them so that they are less flammable and less likely to explode, etc. in the heat. Take the time to study the safe use and storage of these items.

Gift your friends or neighbors with candles, oil lamps, flashlights or other emergency equipment to let them know you care.




Store food for 3 days, Prescriptions, glasses, a spare can opener or include no cans. Examples of food you might pack are granola bars, emergency bars, MREs, etc. You can pack any kind of food, but you want to ensure it is light and easy to pack and carry and you want it to stay good for 6 months.

For example: cold cereal would be light and easy to carry, but it takes up tons of space and is not very filling and goes stale quickly.

Look for items that are compact, filling, light and last a while.

Greenies: Start with what you have that would work. Maybe cans of beans, fruit, tuna, instant oatmeal, crackers, peanut butter. These things would keep you alive and work fine if you remember to rotate them at least every 6 months. Keep them dry and in containers that resist bugs and moisture. If cans, include a can opener. Remember baby food and/or formula and any special dietary needs.

Maintainers: Take this opportunity to rotate the food in your kits. Evaluate if the food is still good. I’ve found it is easy to rotate these items on family vacations or packed in school lunches. Buy the same things, eat the old, store the new. Or take this time to see if you want to upgrade some of the food items to items that take less rotation like emergency rations or MREs. (Remember baby food and/or formula and any special dietary needs.)

Ideas for Advanced:
___ Your kit is waterproof, transportable and packed with fresh food, water, and medications. IF not, try upgrading your kits into wheeled or backpack style containers. Take action to reach this point before moving on.

___ Consider increasing your medication supplies up to 3 months if you must have it to live and if you can safely store it and rotate it and get approval from your doctor

___ Share your tips that come from your experience here on this blog or with others on facebook or at your church or with your neighbors.

What food items last well?
What are the best containers for your area?
How do you rotate?
How do you remember to rotate?
What dishes or equipment have you found worth their weight and space?

___ Donate storable emergency food items to your church group, Red Cross, family or friends who are working to build their kit for the first time.

This website is set up to help you go through the preparedness process especially for hurricanes. If you are in a hurricane prone area, you especially want to be familiar with NHC–the national hurricane center and how you can check it for all hurricane related warnings, etc.

Also, a NOAA radio is particularly helpful to receive all weather related warnings and alerts at any time of the day or night. These can be purchased in many different places and for different prices. Some are like alarm clocks. These will warn you of weather conditions even if you are asleep. Check them before you buy. For some, they may not warn you at all if they remain unopened in your kit or if they need batteries and run out, etc. Know what it is you are purchasing and how to keep it working.

Step 2: Water

We can survive on a lot less than we think we can.  Water, though, is a necessity.  Begin by thinking about your water situation:  I’ve read that a gallon a person per day is enough.  That might be enough for drinking and surviving, but it isn’t enough for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and hygiene needs.  So, start with a gallon per person per day, but keep in mind, you will eventually want other sources as well. 

So, for a 72 hr emergency kit, you would need at least 3 gallons per person of safe, dependable drinking water.  Start with getting enough for your family for ONE day and work up to 3 or more.

Container Tips:  Thick, clear plastic water jugs work well and do not deteriorate like the milk jug type.  Milk-jug type water containers break down over time and may leak out and ruin things.  Smaller quart size water bottles might work better for putting in back packs, etc. 

Walmart and hardware stores will often sell water jugs in camping sections or near the same area where gas cans are displayed.  Gas cans are red.  Water cans are usually blue or white and usually are 2, 3, or 5 gallon size.  The larger cans are great for storing more water for longer than 72 hrs or for washing and hygiene uses. 

Two problems we’ve had with these blue and/or white large water containers:  We had no problem with them leaking when stored indoors or in the garage.  But, stored outdoors, the sun and weather broke them down over a year or so and they ended up cracking, and being useless.  So, they will need protection from the elements to stay secure.

A certain type of square water jug has a spigot that when stored in it leaves an open back end of the spout exposed on the top of the jug.  This just collects dirt and may compromise the integrity of the water.  Take care to experiment a little with the jug before you buy it and make sure it will actually be airtight. 

Bleach containers:  To use or not to use:  Bleach gallon jugs are actually made of very strong material and will last well.  BUT, we don’t want our children getting confused and accidentally drinking or using bleach like water.  My solution:  After ALL THE BLEACH IS GONE and it just smells like bleach but the bleach is gone, I fill it with water.  The left over chlorine will not be enough to harm and can keep nasty things from growing in it.  Then I TAKE OFF THE LABEL and I write H2O on it with a permanent marker.  So my water storage in these containers says H2O FOR CLEANING ONLY on it.  I wouldn’t trust drinking this water, but it will store long and well for other uses.  Also, children who are not old enough to understand the symbol will not know it means water.  I have had no incident that caused me to worry with this system. 

Water and rain barrels:  These can be purchased online or around here you can pick them up at the local green market.  The ones we have are thick, blue plastic, hold 50 gallons I believe and we have had no problem with them even out in the weather for years. 

In general, water must be rotated every year to stay tasting good.  But, I understand even old water can be boiled or aerated to make it safe and drinkable.  So, having water is by far preferable to not having it.