What to pack
Next, consider what must be packed to take with you. Pack only a few changes of clothes and an extra pair of shoes for each family member, but do not over-pack. Clothing and shoes can be replaced. Instead, focus on:
- Sufficient prescription medication to last at least two weeks for every family member that requires regular medication. Also take along a supply of frequently used non-prescription medications.
- Necessary medical equipment such as diabetic blood testing equipment or inhalers.
- All the cash that is readily available. Never leave money in the house; take it with you.
- All credit cards, even those you keep at home and do not use. These could fall into the wrong hands.
- Check books, savings account passbooks, and other negotiable financial items.
- Jewelry and other small valuable items that are easily carried.
- A few precious mementos such as wedding pictures, baby pictures of the children, grandparents and other irreplaceable pictures.
- Backup data for your computer system of any crucial information, especially business information or financial data. If you are computer savvy, you might want to simply remove the hard drive(s) from your computer and take it with you.
Next, stock some evacuation supplies because you may not know what the situation may be as the storm arrives and after it has passed. These include:
- Flashlights and lots of batteries in a variety of sizes.
- Bottled water or tap water stored in sterilized containers such as empty milk jugs.
- First aid supplies.
- Food for as much as two weeks if the storm appears to be severe. Included canned meats, vegetables, fruits and cereal. Choose food that can be eaten cold if necessary. Take a can opener, paper plates, bowls or other things from which to eat. Plastic or metal flatware to eat with.
- Blankets, pillows and sheets for creating a place to sleep. Bring any sleeping bags you happen to have on hand.
- Diapers, bottles and formula for babies.
- Any special dietary needs.
- Battery operated radios, CD players, portable DVDs, televisions, electronic games.
- A battery operated clock.
- If taking a pet along, supplies needed to care for the pet.
- Several books for reading; children’s book if you have young ones that need to be read for comfort.
- Tools including knives.
- A tent if you have one.
Taking Care of the House
If you fear your area may flood, place as many items as possible upstairs, in the attic or raised on boards or stands. Unplug all appliances to avoid any power surges. Turn off gas and water service at the meter or inside the house.
Making Hotel Reservations
If a hurricane appears to be headed directly for you area, book reservations at a hotel very early unless you have a friend or relative that you will be staying with. Hotels book up quickly and it is better to know that you have a place reserved and not need it than to need a place to stay and find one available.
Evacuate early. Do not wait until the crowds block the highway. Purchase supplies as soon as you see a storm headed your way and fill the gas tanks in all vehicles.
There are times you will evacuate only to have the storm move to another path. Don’t let yourself become disgruntled. It is far better to be safe than sorry!