For some reason, many of us fantasize about what we would take with us in the event of a fire or storm that would require us to evacuate our homes. I have a quilt that I made with my children when they were younger and because of the memories that it holds, I always say that it is either the first thing I would take with me or the one item that I would run back into the house for. As much thought as I have put into this idea, I am surprised that I have never created an actual emergency preparedness list. For a girl who grew up on the Gulf coast of Texas, I should know that a hurricane preparedness list is something that every home should have ready by the start of hurricane season which runs from June 1 to November 1.

Every summer of my childhood, the local newspaper would publish a hurricane tracking map. Invariably, we would hear on the evening news that a new storm had formed in the Gulf and was headed our way. Often, one of the major television networks would send one of its reporters to cover the looming storm. With all the commotion and attention paid to this force of nature, my parents usually remained nonplussed. They never took the recommended precautions such as boarding up windows or preparing survival kits. In 1970 however, Hurricane Celia took its toll on our city and our house. From then on, my parents took the warnings seriously and I’d like to think that they prepared a similar checklist to the one below.

Important Papers and Documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Credit cards
  • Medical records
  • Bank account numbers
  • Household inventory
  • Copy of wills
  • Property titles
  • Family records (birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records)
  • Passports
  • List of phone numbers of family and friends

Food and Water:

  • Non-perishable foods (canned soups, vegetables, crackers, peanut butter, mre meals or meals ready to eat)
  • Three gallons of water per person
  • Manual can opener
  • Utility knife
  • Plastic or paper dishes and utensils
  • Ice chest
  • Pet food
  • Zip-lock bags
  • Baby food, diapers, formula and wipes

Small extras: 

  • Toilet paper, paper towels feminine and personal hygiene supplies
  • First aid kit, prescription medications and copies of prescriptions
  • Household liquid bleach for disinfecting
  • Bedding, blankets, pillows or sleeping bags
  • One change of clothing per person
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries
  • Games and books