Monday, October 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

How to prepare a hurricane kit

Building a hurricane kit is a lot like packing for a wilderness camping trip. You need to be able to survive for several days on your own without any outside assistance.

Store your supplies and gear in a large plastic tote, something that is durable and easily transportable. A cooler with wheels is another good option. Once you unpack your supplies, you have a place to store fresh food if you are lucky enough to find some ice.

You can live for weeks without food, but only a few days without water, so store at least a gallon a day per person. In an emergency, it could take several days to get help, so plan accordingly. Water purification tablets and/or a water filter, will help extend your supply. Electrolyte solution and/or powdered sports drink take up little space and can be a life saver in hot, humid conditions.

Pack freeze-dried or canned food, enough for three days. Dense, high-calorie items are the best choice. A camp stove with extra propane will extend your menu options. Don't forget a manual can opener. A mess kit, plastic eating utensils and a lightweight camp cook set are a great if you have them.

Communication is key in any emergency situation, so pack a battery-powered or hand crank radio. If possible, get one with a NOAA Weather Radio option. Make sure you have extra batteries. Get a waterproof case for your cell phone and a solar charger.

Standard camping equipment, including a flashlight and/or lantern, a signal whistle and mirror, a first aid kit and waterproof matches are also critical. If you need prescription medicine, have at least an extra month's supply. You'll also need insect repellent and sunscreen.

Common household items, such as moist wipes and hand sanitizer, will help with personal hygiene. Paper towels and toilet paper will also prove useful. Other items, including plastic garbage bags, drop cloths, mosquito netting, duct tape and light line and rope can be used to make an emergency shelter if the need arises.

Make sure you pack changes of clothes in a sealed, plastic bag. Include rain gear, and something warm, such as a hooded sweatshirt, in case you find yourself in an air-conditioned shelter. An inflatable mattress, lightweight blankets and/or a sleeping bag and a pillow will make your stay more comfortable. Bring along a small day pack in case you find yourself walking for supplies.

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