Living Well

What to Pack in your Hurricane Bag

Melissa Mitchell, UMC Emergency Management Coordinator
What to Pack in your Hurricane Bag

We’re hurricane veterans in south Louisiana, but the start of each new season is a good time for everyone to take stock of plans and readiness. Hurricane season continues through November 30. It is important to sit down with your family today and prepare in case you need to leave your home quickly in the event of a hurricane or related natural disasters.

If you plan to leave your home, discuss the process and where you will be heading with your family. If you live in New Orleans and need help leaving the city there are 17 pickup locations across the city called evacuspots.

Your hurricane plans should include a go-bag that is packed and ready to go. Here are the items that every household should have ready to go in the event of a hurricane evacuation:

Personal Identification and Important Documents

Consider including copies of the following items for each family member:

  • a driver’s license
  • social security card
  • birth/marriage certificates
  • vehicle registration
  • proof of insurance
  • will and insurance documents
  • property deeds
  • medical records

During hurricane season there is always the potential threat of flooding. Flooding can damage your important documents. To prevent your important documents from becoming damaged, it's best to have them all packaged and ready to go in case of flooding or if you need to evacuate. Placing your documents in a labeled waterproof container or binder with a protective cover will prevent them from being lost or damaged during a storm.

Cash

Although we are living in a more digital focused world it is important to remember to bring cash with you. During bad weather or natural disasters banks are closed and ATM’s may not be operating for you obtain more cash for yourself. You may not know when you will be able to reach the nearest functioning bank or ATM. Businesses that are still up and running may also only be accepting cash at the time for items. Keeping cash on yourself will allow you to buy things that you may need along your way while evacuating.

First Aid-Kit and Prescriptions

To be prepared, a first aid kit is a must. It should contain all health-related items and medicines your family may need, especially prescription medications. Each family member should have a list of medications that are prescribed to them and other important health concerns in this kit. Your kit should also include items such as water-less hand cleaners, antibacterial soap, and sunblock.

Toiletries

An emergency pack should always hold any toiletries a person would use daily. It is best to change out these items every hurricane season due to expiration dates. Items like deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, and other personal items should be included.

Bottled Water

Water is a necessity and having it ready and bottled to go is essential. Each person should have one gallon of water per day.

Food

At least 4 days’ worth for each person. It is best to pack the following types of food:

  • High Energy Foods: Along with water, high energy foods should be considered as well. High energy foods are foods that do not contain a high amount of water and would fill a person’s stomach up more. The best option to stack up on would be peanut butter, crackers, and protein or energy bars.
  • Pre-Packaged, Non-Perishable Food Items: Food items like oatmeal, mac and cheese, fruit snacks, and chips/pretzels are pre-packaged foods that last a long time. A family should pack enough to accommodate family size and the pack should be updated and checked every hurricane season.

Electronics

  • Flashlight: Each family member should have their own flashlight. Wind-up flashlights work very well and don’t require batteries.
  • Lantern: Even though flashlights are on the list, a lantern would be a good thing to have as well. The lantern would help in larger rooms and are easier to use if a person needs two hands to do a job.
  • Radio: The radio should be battery operated and the frequency for the weather channel can be taped to the radio itself.
  • Batteries: Batteries are a must have for being prepared for any inclement weather season. Cell phone charger, computer cords, and a wind-up or solar powered cell phone charger should all be packed in your go-bag.

Clothes and shoes

You should pack enough clothes for 4 days per person. Be sure you have:

  • Rain jacket
  • Protective shoes
  • Hat for shade

Pets/Pet supplies

You should create a disaster plan for your pets. Make sure all your pets are correctly ID'd and are always wearing their collars with identification tags. Their identification tag should include your cell phone number and address. Including the number of a friend or close relative can also be helpful. If possible, getting your pets microchipped will help your chances if you are ever separated. When evacuating it is important to take your pets with you. When planning your evacuation route with your family consider areas where your family and pets will both be welcomed. (If you are unable to bring your pets with you can look to make other arrangements such as calling friends, relatives, kennel, or veterinarian’s office.) Here are some items you should include in your pet disaster-preparedness kit:

  • Pet food
  • Veterinarian info & medications
  • Bottle water and bowls
  • Carrier or crate
  • Bedding
  • Tags, collar, and leash
  • Plastic refuse bags or litter

Including the above items listed, you should also print and review the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide. This guide includes everything a Louisiana resident should have on hand to be prepared this hurricane season.

For more information on Emergency Preparedness or helpful tips, visit:

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