Hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th
Hurricanes pose a threat island wide, creating damage from high winds, flooding due to heavy rains and elevated surf from storm surges. A hurricane watch means that a hurricane is possible and a hurricane warning means that a hurricane making landfall is expected.
Stay prepared at home by knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and where your local shelters are located.
Click on the following link to learn where the closest shelter is located near you: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m35940359_Hurricane-Evacuation.pdf
Keep your Disaster Kit Updated on a regular basis, with fresh water and items listed below.
The American Red Cross recommends six basics to stock at home:
- First-aid supplies
- Clothing and bedding
- Tools and emergency supplies
- Special items
A good rule of thumb is to have enough supplies to cover your household for at least three days (preferably seven). Keep items you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. A basic checklist appears at the top of this page. You should customize that list to suit your family and circumstances, then act immediately to have everything on the list in safe, easily accessible storage.
Without electricity, you will be without fans and air conditioners, as well as light and the ability to keep food cold in refrigerators and freezers. Be sure to include non-electric lighting in your kit, like flashlights with extra batteries and candles with waterproof matches.
If you know in advance that power will be shut off:
- Use perishable foods in refrigerator and freezer first.
- Make extra ice for coolers.
- Freeze extra freeze-pack inserts and keep them frozen for emergencies.
- Buy a cooler.
- Freeze water in plastic containers, do not fill to top before freezing—allow for expansion.
- Know where to buy dry ice. 25 lbs. of dry ice should hold a 10-cubic-foot freezer cold for 3-4 days. Note: dry ice may be limited on some islands.
Store 1 gallon of water per person per day (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation). Keep at least a 3-day (preferably 7-day) supply of water for each person in your household.
To purify water for a safe drinking supply:
Boil vigorously 1 – 3 minutes; or use purification tablets available at most drug stores. Follow package directions; or use household bleach (must contain 5.24% hypochlorite.) For one gallon of water, add 8 drops if water is clear; if water is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon).
Store at least a 3-day (preferably 7-day) supply of nonperishable food. Select items that don’t require refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, and require little or no water. Foods from should not just be in your home, they should be in your Disaster Supply Kit. Consider including foods in your kit that will be comforting as well as nourishing. Don’t forget a manual can opener. Also, remember that pet food should be included and take into account the fact that you may not have any form of cold storage. So, for instance, baby foods must be in single-serving containers because you will have to discard unused portions that cannot be refrigerated.
How long food remains frozen in the freezer depends on the amount, type, temperature, and freezer insulation. Keep freezer door closed for as long as possible to prevent loss of cold air. Large cuts of meat or poultry will stay frozen longer than baked goods or small items. In fully-loaded separate freezers, food may remain frozen for 48 to 72 hours. Food thaws quicker in a refrigerator/freezer, but should remain frozen about 12 hours or longer in a side-by-side unit or up to 24 hours in a top or bottom-mount freezer.
Use refrigerated foods as soon as possible. It is difficult to make general recommendations about food safety as this depends on the type of food, its preparation, previous storage and handling. Some guidelines:
- Butter, margarine, and hard cheese are safe unless it has mold or a rancid odor.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are safe as long as they are not mushy or slimy.
- Eggs will be safe for several days if shells have no cracks.
- Fresh meat, poultry, luncheon meats, or frankfurters should be discarded if allowed to warm to room temperature for more than two hours.
- Milk and cream will probably be sour after eight hours without refrigeration.
- Commercial (purchased) mayonnaise should be kept refrigerated once opened. Discard if left without refrigeration for more than two hours.
- Vinegar and oil salad dressings, jellies, and jams may be left unrefrigerated unless poultry or meat juices have contaminated them. Discard mustard, catsup, and pickles if moldy.
- Previously frozen foods: Meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables can usually be safely refrozen if they still have ice crystals present or are very cold (40 degrees F or lower), but there will be some loss of quality. Refrozen foods should be used as soon as possible. When cooking, remember that refrozen
- Foods have been thawed once. If thawing is necessary, do it in the refrigerator or microwave, not by thawing at room temperature.
Discard any food that has an off color or odor, or food that has warmed to room temperature for an unknown length of time. If in question about the food safety, discard it.
Note: Any food that has come in contact with flood water should be considered contaminated. Discard it immediately.
- First Aid Kit
The Red Cross advices to assemble a First Aid Kit for your home and one for each car.
Recommended contents of a basic First Aid Kit are:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
Supplement this list with what you know your family may use or need. Know the plants, animals and terrain in your area to determine if you need other specialized items to meet your first-aid needs. Talk to your physician about extra prescription medications and to your pharmacist about long-term storage of over-the-counter medications. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual, and keep that in your kit as well.
- Clothing and Bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person, and make the footwear something rugged, not rubber slippers. Rain jackets/ponchos and sunglasses could be included as well.
- Tools and Supplies
Toilet paper, soap, cleaning wipes, other toiletries, feminine products, bug spray, extra keys, an extra flashlight with batteries and sunscreen should be in there, just to name a few. The tools in your Disaster Supply Kit should stay in the kit at all times. The exact list of tools will depend on many variables. The tools provided are a minimum recommendation, but your family, location or skills may suggest others.
- Special Items
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons. Include games, a deck of cards, other pastimes and toys that will make the difficult times much easier for both children and adults.
Suggestion and Reminders
Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Disaster Supply Kit in the trunk of your car. Keep items in air-tight plastic bags. Change stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh, and replace stored food every six months. Re-think your supply kit in light of changing family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothing, etc. Create a disaster plan with your family with meeting places and evacuation go-tos, so all family members are aware.
By taking the above actions to be prepared, we can reduce the effects of a hurricane and this will allow us to be able to help others who may need assistance.