Hurricane Season Preparation - Parent Friendly
It’s Hurricane season! Are you ready? This year the NOAA is predicting 12-19 storms which is a typical year but still means the more ready you are now the better. My rule of thumb for life overall is if I am prepared then bad things won’t happen, and if they do, well then, at least I’m prepared.
If this is your first year living in a hurricane-prone area, welcome to the area! If It’s your first year to go through hurricane season with kids, then congratulations to you! If it’s both then get ready for a new adventure to add to your list.
I get asked often at the shop what I do to prepare so I thought I would write it all down for y’all. Over the past few years, we have had a few storms that taught me to add a few things to my emergency box. Also, over the years my items have changed with my children’s ages, so I’ll share with you what I do to prepare for the storm season as well as some links to other places for more ideas. I hope you all find this useful and that you will share with us some things that you do to prepare as well. The more we share the more we can help each other.
First, I go shopping for the storm season at the beginning of the year. I start by buying new water, extra snacks and making sure there are batteries in the house with each weekly grocery trip. This came in useful a few years ago since I wasn’t prepared for Uri, but I did have a couple of pallets of water in the house that I was thankful for when we lost water for that week. Think of things that are comfort food for you and your little one and put those aside. For example, my kids love chocolate milk, so I grab a pack of shelf-stable chocolate milk to keep in the back of the pantry. Then at the end of the season, which is the beginning of school, I use them in lunches if we didn’t use them. Don’t go and buy rice and beans if you aren’t going to eat rice and beans. Only things that you will enjoy eating.
Think about what your family needs daily. Have this for at least a couple of days in case the storm limits your ability to leave your house. So, if you require coffee each morning – make sure you can make it if the power goes out. If your baby needs formula, make sure you have enough of it in the pantry as well as the water needed to mix it and extra water to clean the bottles.
Once you have gathered everything then all there is to do is watch and wait. A day or two before the predicted landfall fill all the tubs, gas tanks, do all the laundry, freeze some water in a cup, and put a coin on top of the ice (This will let you know if your freezer stayed frozen, i.e., the coin was still on top of the ice or had some point that it defrosted if the electricity when out) before the storm comes. That last one is always good to just have in the freezer as a guide to what has happened daily or when you’re gone traveling.
Necessary with Little Ones:
A couple of non-electronic toys – For babies (0-12 months) a couple of teethers, or pacifiers if they use one. For smaller kids (12-36 months) puzzles, finger puppets, books, and stuffed animals. If you have older kids (3-6 years) a card game, balancing game, flashcards, crafts, or a workbook would be fun to add in, or simply just let them choose their own. Put everything in the emergency box so that when it is brought out it will seem new and exciting.
A blanket – for your little one to snuggle.
Nap Mats (for each kid) – So they have somewhere to snuggle up to go to sleep.
Baby Carrier – So you can soothe baby and have both hands free!
Infant Supplies – Formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
Clothes – Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
We have an emergency box that I keep in our tornado closet. After Harvey came through and the alarms for the tornados went off seemingly hourly, I started to keep it in the closet ready for us to live in there as needed. Also, when you go in there don’t forget to bring your cell phone.
In our house, we keep some of the following:
Obvious Safety Items:
Info Document Copies – birth certificates, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, pet information, property insurance, etc. I have laminated our identification paperwork in case it gets wet. I found a small binder to put it all in so it’s easy to grab if I need to get to it in a hurry.
First Aid Kit – there are so many out there that are premade so this one can be very simple. If you want to make your own kit gather band-aids, alcohol wipes, tweezers, anti-itch cream, anti-burn cream, disposable gloves, cold packs, and Neosporin-type cream for a good start.
Food & Drink – a few bottles of water and a couple of snacks in the box (keep the rest in your pantry for later).
Manual Can Opener – so you can open your food.
Cleaning Supplies – moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties to help keep yourself and your family clean and sanitary.
Clothes – a complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and a sturdy pair of shoes for each person (we don’t keep these in the box but hanging on our door to the closet so I can grab them when we go into the closet)
Blankets – or sleeping bags for everyone and I added extra pillows cause let’s face it, sleeping on the floor at my age is not comfy.
Crank or Battery-powered radio & NOAA Weather Radio – with tone alert, look for one that is all of these to make it simple.
Crank Flashlight – so you always have light.
Charger – to connect to the car to charge cell phones and other misc. electronics.
Extra Batteries – for your items, so check what sizes you need now and start gathering those. Nothing worse than having extra batteries but they are AA instead of AAA!
Snap lights – like the ones kids use on Halloween. These are great for when you are stuck in the closet and the kids are maybe a bit scared. Also, it’s not flammable so they can fall asleep with the lights “on”.
Tea candles – for if the lights go out. Pillar candles are nice too, but tea candles don’t risk falling over and don’t need something to hold them, so they are a bit simpler to deal with.
Lighter or Matches – Kept in a waterproof container to light the candles. Test the lighter before putting it in and then test it annually to be sure it still works.
Fire Extinguisher – candles are a fire hazard.
Whistle – just in case you need to signal for help.
Emergency Ponchos – for any harsh weather.
Plastic Sheeting – in case you need to shelter in place due to air quality.
Tarp – nothing special, just a blue tarp or two in case you need to patch anything immediately after the storm. This is stronger than the plastic sheeting, so it is different.
Dust Mask – mostly for after when you go back into your home but also good in case the air becomes contaminated in general.
Strong Tape – like duct tape or gorilla tape. Something you could have patched the pipes with during the freeze. For the hurricane season though you’d use the tarp on the roof or other location.
Wrench – or pliers or the water key so you can turn off utilities if necessary.
Paper & Pencil – hours of entertainment w/ hangman, and for notes if needed.
Obvious Items for the House:
Food – nonperishable and at least a several-day supply kept in the pantry, not your emergency box. Though it’s good to have an extra box or grocery bags to put these into in case you need to leave your home to go somewhere safer.
Personal Toiletries – toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, soap, feminine supplies, and other personal hygiene items.
Kitchen Supplies – paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
Cleaning Supplies – soap, hand sanitizer, mess kits, and disinfecting wipes.
Flashlight & Lantern – because if the power goes out you might want to be in different rooms. Test them to be sure that they work!
Portable Generator – or a portable battery or extra phone banks. I have now upgraded to an actual portable generator with solar panels that I use also for camping. It’s great because many of the emergency things like a flashlight are built right in. I charge it up before a storm and just keep it in the closet next to the box since it’s rather large.
Not-So-Obvious Items for the House (things I have thought of/added to my list after each emergency):
5 Gallons of Water – per person and pet (after Uri and not having water for a week I realized we were running low because I hadn’t factored in the dogs and cats needing water as well! I have our camping jugs that I just fill up before the storm, so we have plenty of water, but after the freeze, I have learned we need a few more. The pets may have had to drink from the rainwater, which was fine but for future, storms I have started to fill some reusable water tanks, especially for them – also that double for when we go camping.)
Prescription Medications – and all non-prescription medications and vitamins your family might take. You may not be able to get a refill easily so make sure you have enough for at least a week. More than you need to be on the safe side.
Eyeglasses – or contact lenses and the solution needed.
Local Handheld Maps – in case your phone map doesn’t work.
Pet Food – as well as extra water for your pet
Cash – or traveler's checks for emergency funds because stores won’t always be able to process cards.
Mask – Since Covid, it is also recommended to have a mask for everyone 2 years and over.
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