Inclement Weather Preparedness

Weather is unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for the worst even before it strikes. The following is a list of essential items that you can stock up on and actions you can take to be prepared for severe weather. You can also view more information at ready.gov.

Three-Day Supply Kit

Start with an easy to carry, watertight container—a large, plastic trash can will do, or you can line a sturdy cardboard box with a couple of trash bags. Next, gather the following items and place them in your kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person per day. Fill plastic containers, such as soft-drink bottles
  • Water purification kit or bleach (use eight drops of regular bleach per gallon of water)
  • Essential medications

First-aid book and kit:

  • Twenty emergency bandages of various sizes
  • One 5x9 sterile dressing
  • One roll of self-adhering elastic bandage
  • Four various-sized sterile gauze pads
  • One roll of 3-inch cohesive bandage
  • Waterless alcohol-based sanitizer and wipes
  • Medical grade non-latex gloves
  • Adhesive tape, 2-inch width
  • Anti-bacterial ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  • Non-prescription drugs (e.g., aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers)

Food:

  • Ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup and cereals, fruits and vegetables, canned or box juices, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, bread, and any special dietary items you and your family need
  • Manual can opener
  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food, and juices
  • Food, water, leash, and carrier for pets (If you plan to go to a shelter, remember that most do not allow pets. Make other plans for your pets)

Sanitary Items:

  • Large, plastic trash bags for waste and to use as tarps and rain ponchos
  • Large trash cans
  • Towelettes
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Household bleach for cleaning
  • Rubber gloves

Other Essentials:

  • Blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Battery-powered, portable radio or portable TV and plenty of extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Fire extinguisher (ABC-type)
  • Cash and change
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes

If asked to evacuate, prepare your paperwork

Start with a portable, waterproof (airtight) bag that's brightly colored, so you can quickly find it in the dark. Diving equipment shops stock the ideal bag, but gallon-sized or larger zip-lock bags will do in a pinch.

Print this checklist and keep it inside your waterproof bag to help you collect the items listed below:

  • Driver's License or Photo ID
  • Emergency Contact List or Address Book (even if contacts are stored in a smart phone) 
  • Insurance Policies (health, home, auto)
  • Vital Documents: Birth Certificates, Passports, Wills
  • Bank Account Information (account numbers, passwords)
  • Photocopy of Credit and Debit cards (front and back)
  • Stock Certificates, Investment Information
  • Extra Keys (home, safe deposit box, office, and car)

Don't forget to storm-proof your digital information. Backing up to a portable hard drive leaves you open to the same storm-related dangers your computer faces. Cloud-based backup preserves your data and grants you secure access from anywhere.

Final Reminders

  • Remember: When packing, be realistic about what you can carry; pack only what is essential for surviving the storm and its aftermath
  • Charge your cell phone and obtain a car charger
  • In the event of a loss of running water and electricity, turn refrigerators and freezers to their coldest settings to help keep your food fresh; consider making blocks of ice and storing them in coolers; sanitize bathtub and fill it with water
  • Create an emergency kit with necessities for your pets, including food, water, and medicines, as well as a collar and leash