Having lived in Florida for many, many years....I've been through countless storms and hurricanes. My list will no doubt contain the same items as
many, but hopefully, those in areas likely to be hit by these, can look and find maybe one thing they didn't think of before. I also break this down
by categories, so you can ignore some if they don't apply.
As a rule, I recommend planning for at least TWO WEEKS without power. I actually prep for far longer, for other reasons, but based on what I've seen
and known others to experience, two weeks should be a great goal.
WATER - Essential, after 3 days without it, well....
Well Water - Nice if you have it, but chances are, you have an electric pump. If you do, there is a well bucket (bullet-shaped) you can get for about
$45 that you can use to manually access the water.
Bottled Water - 1 gallon, per day, per person is great, but often a lot to store. We personally have rain barrels and potable water drums, but even if
you are filling milk jugs and soda bottles, it's better than nothing. I recommend getting the big square containers of water from the supermarket, as
they are cheaper per oz. and easy to store.
Water for Washing - Fill bathtubs, sinks, and make sure your water heater is full, just before the storm hits. Any other buckets or tubs you can fill
are great to have.
Canned Food - Is great, as long as it is stuff you actually eat. Most is already cooked, you just heat and serve. Anything that doesn't even need
heating is even better (like tuna, add some mayo and relish and you have tunafish).
Instant Food - Anything you just add boiling water to is great to have on hand. (dried pasta, beans, rice, etc.)
PB&J - a great standby (Peanut butter and Jelly) that doesn't require a fridge.
Freezer Food - If you have a grill, and expect the power to be out for a while, thaw and grill up some meat you have in the freezer. Better than it
going bad. Eat this before you go to your canned food.
Snacks - You'll be bored. You'll want to eat. Any non-refrigerated snacks are great, cookies, crackers, chips, etc.
Babies - You know what you need in this regard. Don't forget their special needs if they are in the home.
Paper Plates, Cups, Plastic Utensils - The last thing you want to do is manual dishes.
Fridge - Limit how often you open it, and the food will keep longer. The insulation will still keep the food fresh for a while, but fridge and freezer
food is the FIRST you should eat after the power is out.
POWER - A generator is great, but not practical for many. Even then, knowing how to use it safely is important.
Batteries - Have lots on hand, but mostly, make sure you have the RIGHT ones for the things you'll need to power in an emergency.
Propane/Charcoal Grill - Great backup for cooking when the power is out, especially if you have one with a burner. If you don't have a gas grill,
getting a small propane powered one burner is a pretty cheap investment.
Fuel - Before a storm, gas up your vehicles, (and get a spare gas can filled, if you have them). Never know when your local service stations will be
back up after the storm. Remember any fuel for chainsaws and other power tools also.
Sterno - Slow, but an effective way to heat things up for cooking. (especially if you get a cheap little folding panel stove to hold it)
Oil Lamps - I've found these to be economical, bright, and simply easy to maintain, and you can adjust the light level. Also, wall-mounted, they can
be decorative (and in place already, when a storm comes)
Flashlights - A must for finding your way around the house after power goes, or if you need to go outside (and all the streetlights are out). Get
brightly colored ones, as they'll be easier to find than a black maglite when you drop it.
Cap lights - I love these, a light that can go on your head (or baseball cap) is nice for keeping your hands free. Can't say how many times this has
Candles - Not much light, but cheap, and kind of romantic, especially for dinner. Again, you can have these for decor too already, so already in
Matches/Lighters - Don't forget these!
THINGS TO DO - You will be bored, so need info and distraction.
Radio - A battery powered radio is a must for storm info. They sell emergency ones that can be cranked, and even have a port for charging your cell
phone! This is what we have. (also, you can use your car charger in your vehicles to keep cell phones charged up).
Cell Phone - As mentioned above, a cell phone is handy if you can keep it charged. Much better weather info, and of course games and contacting
Board Games - These always help, but make sure you have enough light to play.
Books, Magazines, etc. - Another good distraction.
Land Line Phone - If you have one, great, as these are generally working throughout the storms, and can be used to contact relatives, friends
Booze - I don't know of any time we've had a storm where we didn't grill some meat, drink some booze, and just party a bit just to have something
to do. Not to excess mind you, but c'mon, you have to unwind.
PERSONAL INFO - Be sure to have all of your info (Insurance, medical, identification, account numbers, etc., in a waterproof container and some place
you can access them if needed).
Insurance Pics - Take pics and/or video of your belongings, as it will make replacing them (if you need to) so much easier, and easier to prove to
Cash - With electronic methods down, cash is king. Get some out before the storm.
Camera - To take photos of damage as you discover it (so you don't forget)
MEDICINE - If anyone in your home takes medicine or other support (such as oxygen), try and have at least a two-week supply on hand.
First Aid Kit - You should always have this, but especially during storm season. if you buy a premade one, OPEN it, and familiarize yourself with it.
Personally, I may buy them, but then add my own items I feel are missing, such as more large bandages, ointments, etc.
PETS - If you have pets, consider them in your water planning. Also, have two-weeks worth of food.
QUICK REPAIR & CLEANUP - I like to keep plastic sheeting, painter's tape (as it won't destroy the paint) and duct tape (for when you just need
something to hold) on hand for quick fixes for any damage caused by the storm.
Chainsaw - Not essential, but damn handy
Tools - To turn off utilities before the storm hits
KEEPING COOL-Battery powered fans are great, and in hurricane areas, you're going to have heat, humidity, and without AC, this is not fun. This is
probably the suckiest part of dealing with the storm. Open your windows (once weather permits). Stay hydrated. Coolers with ice can really help too,
if you were able to stock up before the storm. Crank the AC down before the storm hits.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but just thought I'd share my own insights and preps.