Hurricane season is unpredictable. If you wait until there is a storm in the Gulf, you may not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them. Planning is even more important now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it may be more difficult to secure supplies, lodging and food. Now is the time to look ahead and start planning for the possibility of a large storm making landfall near you.
Here are eight essentials to have on hand for hurricane season:
- Medications - Keep a list of medications that you and your loved ones take, along with at least a week’s supply of your regular medications and medical supplies. If you regularly take insulin or another medication that requires refrigeration, make sure to keep a small cooler that you can easily fill with ice. Also, be sure to include a list of instructions, doctors’ orders and dosage recommendations in case you need assistance communicating with others. In the case of a prolonged evacuation, patients with chronic conditions treated by high risk controlled substances are advised to carry a pharmacy print out and letter from their doctor when seeking refills out of state. Additionally, if you find yourself feeling ill or having a question about a chronic illness, make sure you are able to connect digitally with your provider via Ochsner Anywhere Care Virtual Visit or your MyChart.
- Batteries – Stock up on extra batteries for everyday items like hearing aids, radios and flashlights. Another must is a portable phone charger to ensure you have enough battery life to reach family, friends, medical providers or coworkers if necessary.
- First Aid Kit – Stock (or restock) your first aid kit. Make sure to include ace bandages, Band-Aids and personal hygiene items.
- Food – Pack a two day supply of non-perishable foods like peanut butter, protein bars, canned goods, meal replacement shakes and cheese crackers.
- Water – Have at least a three day supply of clean, drinkable water per person in your household. Estimate one gallon on water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
- Waterproof Container – Store all your essentials needed for an evacuation in a waterproof container, preferably one that is insulated.
- Communication Plan – In addition to having your mobile phone and a back-up battery, talk with family or friends ahead of time to develop a plan. Designate a place to meet up with them in the event you are unable to reach them by phone.
- Coronavirus Essentials - Due to COVID-19, you may need to thing about extra items that wouldn’t normally be in your evacuation kit. Make sure to pack masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, a thermometer and disinfecting wipes to prevent the spread of coronavirus. If you have documentation of prior infection or your antibody test, include that as well. When planning your evacuation route make sure to review individual state restrictions and assess what your access will be to food, lodging and medical care.
The unprecedented changes brought by COVID-19 have already created major difficulties for many. A secondary disaster, such as a hurricane, is sure to add to the challenges if proper planning is not done. By taking the necessary steps now, you can ensure that you are prepared for anything that might happen during hurricane season.
Need more tips for preparing yourself and your family for hurricane season? Click here.