While we should be prepared for when a disaster hits, we rarely are. I wrote this a few years ago when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas at a category 5 before scaling the Florida coast and causing quite a mess there.
Many people are not prepared for a hurricane, let alone a category 5 hurricane. When it comes to a hurricane, you need to make sure you are stocked to bunker down, as well as stocked to get out of town.
You never know when a category 1 could turn into a life-threatening category 5 hurricane. Below, you will find things to stock up on before a hurricane that will get you through the mild or severe!
Why Should You be Prepared for a Hurricane?
Hurricanes and tropical storms pose three different hazards: wind, rain, and storm surge. Depending on the category of the hurricane, you could have minimal damage to catastrophic damage.
When in the threat of a hurricane, you should have enough of everything to last you for 7-10 days at the least. Here is why you should be prepared for a hurricane based on each hurricane category:
A category 1 hurricane is minimal; however, it can affect you for several days. It can cause some damage to houses, especially mobile homes, trees branches can be thrown, and powerlines can be damaged. Although these damages are minimal, here’s what could happen:
- Power Lines are damaged which means you may not be able to use debit or credit at your local stores. You will need cash. You may lose the ability to communicate, cool your home, have lights, TV or other electrical appliances, etc.
- Trees branches could cause severe damage to your home. You would need supplies ready during this time.
- Stores, restaurants, and shops may be shut down due to power outages.
During a category 2 hurricane, you will have stronger winds which can cause a little more damage than the category 1 hurricane. Here are some things that could happen:
- Power outages that last more than a few days. You won’t have power to your home.
- Power outages can cause stores, restaurants, and shops to shut down for a few days.
- You may not be able to pay for things like fuel, food, and water with anything but cash for a few days.
Once a hurricane gets to a category 3, you are looking at substantial damage to trees and houses. Here are some reasons why you would want to be prepared for a category 3 hurricane:
- It will take roofs off of well-constructed homes.
- Knocks out electric and water systems for days or even weeks.
- The roads will be blocked by fallen trees and poles.
A category 4 hurricane is catastrophic to those who are in it. You will be looking at more damage than with any of the other hurricanes. Here is why anyone should be prepared for this type of hurricane:
- Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.
- Most trees will have fallen and caused damage.
- Most electric poles will have been damaged and fallen.
- You will see catastrophic damage to most homes, even those that are well-constructed.
A category 5 hurricane will need to be prepared for in a whole new way. Most people can not bunker down during a category 5 hurricane. In fact, you will want to be prepared to get out of Dodge. Recovery from this can take months.
Because hurricanes can be so destructive, it is important to be prepared. Below, you will find things you need to stock up on before a hurricane strikes.
Things to Stock Up on Before a Hurricane
Because hurricanes can go from category 1 to higher categories, it is important to be prepared. You can be prepared by stocking up on the right things in your home. Here are some things to stock up on in case of a hurricane:
Even in a category 1 hurricane, machines at local grocery stores may be down. Buying food may be a challenge for a few days. I would recommend having at least 2-weeks worth of food, but at the very least, you need 3 days per person. If you aren’t sure what food to stock up on, here are some good options:
- Dried fruit
- Soup in a can
- Canned vegetables
- Fruit in a can
- Powdered or canned milk
- Peanut butter
- Granola bars
- Saltine crackers
- Trail mix
- Canned meat like tuna and chicken
- Pet food
Even though a hurricane is sure to shoot a bunch of water everywhere, it is not drinkable. Water pipes and lines may be broken. This means you will not have running water. The CDC recommends storing 1 gallon of water per day per person for a 3-day supply.
However, I would recommend storing 4-gallons per person per day instead. Don’t forget to include water for your pets. You will want to store enough water for at least 3-7 days.
#3 A First Aid Kit
Whether there is category 1 or a category 3 hurricane, you will want to always have your First Aid kit stocked. This could quite literally save your life in any situation, not just a hurricane. If you don’t have a First Aid kit, you can learn how to fully stock one in my First Aid for Kit for Survival post.
#4 Health Supplies
Usually, you know a hurricane is coming at least a week before it gets here. So, it may be easier to get your medications filled before it hits. However, there are other health supplies you will want to make sure you have such as:
- Pain relief such as Ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrhea medications
- Your prescriptions (2 week supply if possible)
- Insurance cards
Most people think about stocking up on toilet paper and baby wipes, but there are a few other things you really need to keep stocked up as well. These include:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Baby wipes
- Toilet paper
#6 Important Documents
When SHTF, you want to make sure you stocked your important documents where you can easily access them. You will need copies of the following important documents:
- Driver’s license
- Social Security cards
- Birth certificates
- Insurance cards
- Home and property insurance policies
Use my Important Documents Emergency Grab and Go Binder to make sure you have everything you need in one place.
#7 Other Important Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane
Additionally, you will want to make sure you are stocked up on some life-saving supplies. Here are some other items you should have stocked in your home:
- Flashlights: One for each person along with extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Solar-powered chargers and equipment
- Plastic grocery bags
- Butane lighters and matches: store them in plastic bags to protect them
- Portable cooler/ice chest
- Portable barbecue grill or camp stove
- Utility knife
- Handheld can opener
- Extra blankets and pillows in water safe pouch
- Bleach: you can use this as your cleaning agent for everything
- Clothing: at least one extra set in a waterproof container
Things to Stock Up On in Your Car Before a Hurricane
Just as hurricane Dorian started at category 1 and reached a category 5 by the time it hit the Bahamas, you never know what could happen. Just in case, you should have your car stocked for a hurricane as well. This will help you if you need to get out of Dodge. Here is a list of items you will want to have in your car:
- Extra blankets
- 1-set of extra clothes for each person
- Water-3 days worth per person
- Food-3 days worth per person
- Paper maps
- Full gas jug
- Car charger
- Important documents binder
- Smaller first aid kit
- An emergency car kit
When it comes to a natural disaster, a hurricane gives you quite a bit of time to prepare. However, when it comes to getting things stocked, hurricane proofing your home, or taking off, you will want to be prepared before you even know a hurricane is coming. Not only are these things to stock up on before a hurricane, but they can be useful anytime SHTF.
Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda