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Hurricane Preparedness Week: Assemble disaster supplies

You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for a potentially lengthy aftermath. During a disaster event, you and your family will require specific items, so assemble supplies beforehand, including for various locations (home, work, vehicle).

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If you need to go to a public shelter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend bringing items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available) and two masks for each person (children under 2 years old and people having trouble breathing should not wear face coverings).

Your emergency supply kit should include:

  • Drinking water, 1 gallon per person per day for at least three days, and preferably seven days. You should plan for emergency sanitation that conserves water since this supply is primarily for drinking. Water needs vary depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.
  • Food, at least a three-day (preferably seven-day) supply of nonperishable food. Some foods require water for preparation.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards with tone alert with extra batteries.
  • Smartphone weather-alerting apps to ensure redundant alerting capacity.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First-aid kit.

    Now is the time to have your storm safety kit and your safety plan in place. (Getty Images)
  • Whistle, to signal for help.
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place from a chemical incident or airborne chemicals outside.
  • Moist wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual (not electric) can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
  • Local maps.
  • Prescription medications and glasses.
  • Infant formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet.
  • Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof and fireproof portable container.
  • Cash and change.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. You may need additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Water purification system and/or household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plastic plates and utensils, and paper towels.
  • Paper and pencil.
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children.

Consider which items are needed to meet your unique family needs, including how many family members you have, their age, diet, health and mobility, as well as the conditions in your location (cold climate, hot climate, etc.). Prepare separate sets of emergency supplies for your vehicle and workplace that can last at least 24 hours, as you may not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, and always include essential medications.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: Keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car in case you are stranded.

All information from: NOAA, FEMA, FLASH, the Red Cross, Alabama EMA.

For more weather news and information from Scott Martin and the rest of the James Spann team, visit