Hurricane Preparedness, Part Two: Emergency Kits

Hurricane Preparedness, Part 2

Each year, many coastal communities experience threats from hurricanes including heavy rains, strong winds, rip currents, floods and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. A hurricane may spawn tornadoes. Torrential rains cause further damage by causing floods and landslides, which not only threaten coastal communities but may impact communities many miles inland. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October.

Read part one of this series here.

Building Your Emergency Kits:

Gather food, water and medicine. Stores and pharmacies might be closed. Organize supplies into a Go-Kit and a Stay-at-Home Kit.


Your go-kit will carry at least three days of supplies that you can bring with you if you need to leave. Include backup batteries and chargers for your devices (cell phone, CPAP, wheelchair, etc.)

Stay-at-Home Kit

Your at-home kit will have at least two weeks of supplies.

Other important items to consider:

Have a 1-month supply of medication in a child-proof container and medical supplies or equipment.

Keep personal, financial and medical records safe and easy to access (hard copies or securely backed up). Consider keeping a list of your medications and dosages on a small card to carry with you.

Use this checklist to help build your emergency supply kits.

Regularly replace items that go bad such as water, food, medication and batteries, and remember to keep in mind your family’s unique needs as you build your kits.


  • At least a 3-day supply of water and non-perishable food
  • Infant supplies such as formula, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
  • Pet food and supplies


  • Medications for at least one week and copies of prescriptions
  • Medical equipment, assistive technology and backup batteries
  • Ice for refrigerating medications
  • First aid kit and antibiotic ointment
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and antacids
  • Prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and solution
  • Sunblock
  • Medical alert tags/bracelets


  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Multipurpose tool and can opener
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Pencil and paper
  • Mess kits, paper cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Cell phone, charger and a backup battery
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Local maps


Prior to a storm or evacuation, collect and store your critical paperwork in a waterproof storage bag or container. Storing a password-protected backup of your records on a virtual cloud service is also recommended.

  • Driver’s license and passports
  • Vehicle registration and proof of insurance
  • Medical and vaccination records
  • Prescription medicine labels
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Marriage certificates and wills
  • Proof of residence (deed or lease)
  • Business and personal tax records
  • Bank account records
  • Household inventory (photo or video)
  • Local maps


Maintaining good hygiene can stop the spread of bacteria and infectious disease.

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Surface disinfectants and wipes
  • Bleach and rubbing alcohol
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Menstrual Supplies
  • Personal hygiene items


You may be away from your home for an extended period and your property may be damaged. Grab any items that are irreplaceable or may provide comfort to your family, especially children.

  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Favorite stuffed toys
  • Photo albums
  • Valuables and jewelry
  • Sensory items such as fidget spinners, earplugs, etc.


  • Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above)
  • Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags


  • ID tags on collars and micro-chip pets
  • Have sufficient food, water, and medicine for at least 3 days.
  • Pet medication and medications schedule for caregiver, shelter or boarding staff
  • Description and current photos of your pets, including a photo of you and your pet together
  • Immunization and medical records
  • Serving bowls and feeding schedule
  • Collar, leash and carrier to transport pets safely
  • Pet toys and bedding


Emergency cash funds should be able to sustain your family several days at a minimum. Government assistance and resources take time.

Do not rely on credit cards or debit cards as critical networks such as Internet or electrical infrastructure may be impaired. Be sure to withdraw plenty of cash before the storm.

Plan for evacuation funds to cover fuel, lodging and meals as well as pet boarding costs if you’re asked to evacuate.