Stock up on emergency supplies before a hurricane strikes

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
FILE: James Redford carries a sheet of plywood as he helps board up windows in preparation for Hurricane Harvey, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Supplies are a critical part of every family’s health and safety and should be gathered well in advance of hurricane season each year.

Printable hurricane supply checklist,

Once a storm is imminent, time to shop will be limited, and if supplies are even available, you will have to search for them.

It’s advised you have enough supplies to get you and your family through five days on your own. Starting with water each person needs one gallon of water per day for drinking and sanitation.

That’s five gallons for one person – or 20 gallons for a family of four.

Many residents of Southwest Florida experienced shortages on plywood, batteries, flashlights, water, generators and other such storm necessities during the recent busy hurricane seasons.

Each time a storm was predicted to make landfall near Southwest Florida, lines were long, shelves were bare, and stress levels were high.

MOREDo-It-Yourself Home Preparations

It pays to be prepared!

Supplies can be divided into several categories, but the essentials should be gathered and kept easily accessible throughout the hurricane season.

Before worrying about fitting that all in one trip to the store – you can start buying one or two gallons of water with each shopping trip.

Be sure to place the items that you will most likely need for an evacuation in an easy-to carry container.

Keep gas tanks full. Keep cash on hand. Banks may not be open, ATMs may not be accessible, debit cards and credit cards may not be accepted if power is lost.

Gather the essentials:

  • One gallon of water per person per day.
  • Additional water for food preparation and sanitation.
  • Bags of ice. Supplies will be severely limited once a storm strikes.
  • Partially fill plastic one-liter or larger soft drink bottles with water and place in the freezer. The bottles will freeze without cracking (stronger plastic than one gallon water bottles). If the power goes out, the frozen water will help keep the freezer cool and when the ice melts, the water will be drinkable.
  • Keep gas tanks full. Supplies may be severely limited once a storm strikes.
  • Keep cash on hand. Banks may not be open, ATMs may not be accessible, debit cards and credit cards may not be accepted if power is lost.

Special needs

If you have family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons, remember to include items and supplies that may be unique to their special situation.

Documents to have with you:

  • Important telephone numbers
  • Record of bank account numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Copy of will, insurance policies, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Copy of passports, social security cards, immunization records, etc.


  • Baby formula
  • Bread, crackers
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned juice
  • Canned meats
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dry cereal
  • Instant coffee and tea
  • Peanut butter
  • Quick energy snacks
  • Ready-to-eat soups


  • First aid kits (for home and car)
  • Insulin
  • Denture needs
  • Prescription drugs (minimum two-week supply)
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin supply
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Heart and high blood pressure medicine
  • Insect repellent
  • Itch-relief cream


  • Disinfectant
  • Toilet paper, towelettes, paper towels
  • Soap and liquid detergent
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Large bucket or trash can with lid for storing water to flush toilets

Tools & Supplies:

  • Traveler’s checks
  • Battery-operated radio or television
  • Flashlight and lanterns
  • Extra batteries and extra bulbs
  • Lighter or matches for your grill
  • Antenna for your TV
  • Extension cords (heavy-duty and three-pronged)
  • Thermos for hot food and coolers/ ice for cold food
  • Manual can opener/utility knife
  • Plastic sheeting/tarps
  • Duct tape
  • Generator
  • Gas cans
  • Old towels for clean up
  • Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Full propane tank
  • Charcoal and lighter fluid
  • Camp stove
  • Sterno
  • Tree saw for cutting fallen limbs
  • Hand tools: knife, ax, pliers, screwdrivers, wrench
  • Hammer and nails
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Fix-a-flat
  • Mops, buckets and cleaning supplies

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