The Ultimate Hurricane Preparation Checklist
Hurricanes create a unique set of dangerous circumstances for the people who might be subjected to them. If the wind and debris don't get you, then the flooding and storm surge might. Even if you are spared these calamities you might not have electrical powers for days, weeks, or in some cases, longer!
If you want to prepare a kit for hurricane season it's a smart idea.
There are two scenarios to think about: what you'll need if you stay home and what you might need if you have to evacuate to someplace else.
What You'll Need at Home
If you are going to weather the storm at your home there things you'll need for before, during, and after the storm.
Let's explore each by when they would be required.
Before the Hurricane
You'll have 5 primary concerns before the storm:
- Securing the structure of your home
- Having a supply of water
- Backup long-term non-refrigerated food supplies
- Lighting & backup power solutions
- Supply of vital medications
- Tools for cleanup & repairs
There are other things you'll need to plan for of course, but that's getting into areas a little too specific for our purposes here. If you have specific questions head on over to our Facebook Group and get some help there.
Securing Your Home Against Hurricanes
One of the most important, difficult and potentially expensive and time-consuming part of your hurricane prep list is structural reinforcements for the inside and outside of your home.
This is especially true if you live in an older, free-standing structure like a frame house. Building codes change over the years and have trended towards becoming more stringent and developing resistance against higher wind speeds.
Wind a projectiles are your primary concerns. Make sure your yard is free of items which could pickup in the wind and become projectiles. Even heavy objects like train cars can get blown around, so really make sure nothing is out there.
Try to convince your neighbors to do their part as well, debris can fly for hundreds of feet or more. If they give you grief send them the video above of Hurricane Michael from 2018. Pure insanity.
So what can you do? Make sure your homes soffits are in good shape. Get hurricane shutters or cover windows with plywood. If you have impact resistant windows, great, you might still want to reinforce them anyway.
The image above gives you an idea of the stresses that winds can put on a home. If any part is is weaker than the other, that's where the failure will happen.
That's why covering windows is so important, they are easily broken and once compromised allow wind forces to work from the inside causing massive damage.
Flooding is a concern as well. Not just from the intense amount rainfall that happen during hurricanes, but storm surges on the coast lines can push water in from the ocean, rivers, and canals.
Flooding can cause sewer water to flow back into your home - I cant think of a more horrifying scenario than that - I think I'd rather be blown away in the wind...! Good news is you can prevent that from happening by installing a backflow or backwater check valve in the main sewer line of your house.
Have a Backup Water Supply
Community water sources and wells can be compromised if flooding occurs. You can't drink flood water, it's a very bad idea since it's likely extremely contaminated with dirt, bacteria, and chemicals.
Our favorite answer to this problem of how to store more water, short of purchasing huge amounts of bottled water is a Berkey Filter. They can purify water of nearly every bad element you can think of.
BTW If you buy anything with the links we provide on this page we might get a small percentage of the sale from the manufacturer. For more info click here.
They are a great alternative to buying hundreds of bottles of water, and cheaper too long term. We drink out of ours every single day.
If you still want to have some backup drinking water to check that box on your hurricane supply list, an easy option is grabbing a few cases of Blue Can Water.
Typical Price: $50
It's canned water with a 50 year shelf life. Storage Temperature: 33 degrees F to + 150 degrees F (1C to +60C) so don't store them in a vehicle unless you are expecting moderate temperatures.
Long Term Food Supplies
Before the storm hits you're going to need to stock up on hurricane food. After the fact it's too late. The grocery store has lots of items that can be stored for a few months or more, but the best backup to that is to get freeze dried food that has a 25 year shelf life like the food that companies like Valley Food and Readywise makes.
Store it under a bed or in a closet somewhere and forget about it until you need it. All you need in most cases is hot water to reconstitute.
Here is a list of companies that make hurricane preparedness food and meals which only require hot water to reconstitute and eat:
- Nutrient Survival
- Valley Food
- Readywise Company
- Eden Valley Family Farms
- Emergency Essentials
- The Ready Store
- Augason Farms
This 72 Hour Kit from Readywise (formally Wise Foods) is one of our favorites.
Typical Price: $40 for 1-person
1,813 calories per day - 5,440 total. Food is sealed in Metallyte pouches which are easy to pack and use.
Should be a part of every hurricane food supply list.
Lighting & Backup Power
In the days leading up to a Hurricane the stores will get cleaned out of supplies like batteries, water, & canned goods. Don't wait until the last second to think about how you are going to see in the dark after a storm hits. Don't forget, power could be out for weeks afterwards (months if you lived in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria!)
We've got an entire article dedicated to dealing with power outages but let's run through a few of the basics here.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that you will need some sort of light source; either a flashlight, headlight, or lantern. We suggest having one of each, as they each have their benefits and use cases.
You will also need batteries. We suggest getting rechargeable eneloop batteries, they can be reused thousands of times and will save you tons of money over their lifespan.
Typical Price: $4.75 per battery
Rechargeable alkaline replacements, perfected. We've been using eneloops in all of our devices for years and they are fantastic.
They pay for themselves after you use them just 5 times, and can recharge up to 2,100 each!
Read our full eneloop battery review here. You'll be glad you made the switch.
Typical Price: $30
This little lantern is great, and it does three things at once: area & directional lighting + USB charging for portable electronics. Powered by our favorite rechargeable 18650 battery, it has a multitude of different lighting brightness and run times thanks to two internal lamps and the flashlight LED. At its lowest setting you get 170 hours of light in single lamp mode. IPX6 weatherproof and 120 lumens of output.
Supply of Vital Medications
This one should go without saying but any important medications that you or your family take on a regular basis need to be on your hurricane list of supplies.
Talk with your medical provider about getting a 90 days supply (or longer if allowed) of anything you will need during hurricane season.
It's also a good idea to have a supply of non-prescription therapeutic medications on hand as well. Here's a few suggestions:
- Benadryl | Allergies | 25 mg x2 [
- Bayer Aspirin | Pain + Fever + Headache | 325 mg x2
- Pepto-Bismol | Upset Stomach | Antacid
- Tylenol | Headache + Fever + Pain | 500 mg x2
- Dramamine | Motion Sickness | 50 mg x2
- Ibuprofen | Pain + Fever + Infammation | 200 mg x2
- Burn Jel | 3.5 ml
You can get all these and an awesome first aid kit to boot in a MyMedic MyFAK kit. One of our favorites.
If you are looking for other First Aid kits, read our article about it to see what we suggest.
Tools for Cleanup & Repairs
If a storm rips through your town, it is going to be a mess afterwards. Trees are down and debris is everywhere. It's going to take a massive cleanup operation to get things back online.
Here are some things you should add to your hurricane preparedness list:
- Heavy Duty Work Gloves
- Protective Hard Hat Helmet
- Sturdy Waterproof Boots
- Waterproof Rain Suit
- Heavy Duty Garbage Bags
- Tarps (for covering roofs)
The photo above gives you some idea what a hurricane can do. You're going to want to have protective equipment and cleanup aids. A lightweight chainsaw light be a smart investment if you can handle one.
Hurricane Go Bag Survival Kit
Preparing a go-bag survival kit (we call them Bug Out Bags around here) specifically for hurricanes requires a few extra considerations beyond your average kit.
The most obvious consideration from the start for your hurricane kit list is rain and water intrusion protection. There are some simple steps you can take to protect the items inside your bag.
The easiest way is to grab some ziplock bags and pack all your items inside them. You can also line the inside of your backpack with a heavy duty garbage bag.
There are also dedicated camping dry sacks you can purchase that are designed for outdoor use.
You can also get backpacks that are waterproof or water resistant, and you can bolster that with an external rain cover like the one from Mystery Ranch pictured above.
You can also get a backpack poncho which is designed to also protect and cover both the person and pack.
Of course the best course of action is to avoid being in the rain if at all possible, and certainly you shouldn't be outside during a hurricane!
The rest of what goes inside of the kit is up to you. Our general rule of thumb is to pack a kit like you might wind up in a shelter.
So start with a WUSH Bag. That will give you backups of your important data and memories.
Then look into out tutorials about a Bug Out Bag. There's lots of information here!