WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As we prepare for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, we also are in the midst of a global pandemic which may make preparations more challenging this year.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, supplies have been limited for things like cleaning supplies, water, toilet paper and canned goods - all items usually found in a hurricane kit.
Seeing these items fly off the shelves in March may have already been a trigger to make sure you and your family are prepared for the upcoming season.
Since we're all home more these days now is the time to be assembling your family hurricane preparedness kit and discussing a plan.
In this unprecedented time, look to buy locally from small businesses who need extra support now. Aside from big box stores, think smaller scale like a local hardware store or pharmacy.
A full list of what should be in your kit can be found below:
As you prepare, keep in mind that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips and help to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently.
This year, the American Red Cross recommends building two kits - one stay at home kit and one “to-go” kit. Your stay at home kit should have two weeks worth of supplies and your to-go kit should be a smaller version of your home kit which should have three to seven days worth of supplies.
Here are a few of the basic items to include in your hurricane kits:
- It’s always helpful to have a multipurpose tool handy, paper products, utensils and personal hygiene items.
- Food and water are essential. Make sure to have one gallon of water per person per day. Include non-perishable foods that don't require refrigeration and don't forget to pack a can opener!
- Another important item you need handy before the storm hits is a weather radio. It can be a life saver for imminent weather and will sound an alarm loud enough to wake you up if you are sleeping.
- This year especially because of COVID-19, pack household cleaning supplies such as disinfecting wipes, soap, hand sanitizer and a cloth face mask for each family member who can wear one.
- Be prepared to live without electricity for at least two weeks. If or when the power goes out, your family will need flashlights or lanterns to get around and don’t forget extra batteries.
- There is always a risk for injury so have a stocked first aid kit ready at hand with gloves.
- Lastly, put important documents such a insurance policies, passports or medical records in a sealed waterproof bag.
This year, in addition to what you would traditionally compile into a kit, FEMA and the American Red Cross recommend you add one or two cloth face coverings per family member and additional cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
You can also make a mask with some items found around the house like a bandanna and hair ties or rubber bands.
Each family’s kit will be different because each family has different needs, don’t forget about your pets and entertainment options for the young ones..