What did the hurricane say to the coconut palm tree? Hold on to your nuts, this is no ordinary blow job! Seriously though, hurricanes are no fun. It is essential for every southerner to have a hurricane survival kit.
We just recently experienced Hurricane Irma here in Florida. This is only the second time that I have been without power for over a week due to a hurricane. Luckily, we didn’t take any damage or injuries.
Hurricane Irma landed as a category 4 and eventually reached Central Florida as a category 2. However, I really believe that it was a category 3 despite what the hurricane hunters say. This wouldn’t be the first time that they got something wrong.
This storm left 80% of my county without power for over a week. There has been widespread flooding and houses have been destroyed. Yet, we were really lucky as compared to other storms in the past like Hurricane Andrew.
In this post, I want to share some of the items in my hurricane survival kit that I believe every southerner should have. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. These are just items that I personally used but could be helpful to you.
Hurricane survival kit that every southerner needs
It sounds kind of oxymoron to focus on the need of having water during a hurricane. But do you really want to harvest water from a storm? If you have the means to filter and purify that water then it could be reasonable. However, your rainwater catchment system might blow away in the 100+ mph winds.
So you will want to have water stored up before the storm reaches. A week before Hurricane Irma landed in Florida it was almost impossible to find bottled water. At local grocery stores, people were lined up waiting for new shipments to come in.
Yes, you could rely on city water during the storm if you want to. However, you risk drinking contaminated water at that point. So if you prefer city water instead of buying bottled water then I would recommend filling up prior to the storm.
For water storage, I have 7-gallon Aquatainer from Reliance Products. They are BPA free containers and are easy to store in small locations. They will actually fit in your cabinets of your home.
You will want to have one gallon of water per person per day. This water isn’t only for drinking but for bathing, cleaning, and cooking. If the grid goes down for a while you will want to have the means to stay clean to prevent bacteria and diseases. This is especially helpful if there have been injuries. You will want to keep the wounds clean to prevent infections.
Having a collapsible water bag is also helpful. It comes in handy if you have to replenish your supply after the storm. You can unroll them, dip it in your supply and carry back with the handle.
First Aid Kits
This should go without saying but hurricanes are dangerous. There is the possibility of being hurt from flying glass and debris. You will want to stay away from windows and gather up potential flying objects in your yard. You should also be stocked up on first aid kits.
Most likely you won’t be able to get to a hospital in the middle of a hurricane. So you will need to have someone patch you up or be able to do it your self. Being able to administer first aid is an important prepper skill to have not only for yourself but for others.
Food and a means to cook
You shouldn’t be shopping for frozen or refrigerated food before a hurricane lands. Because if the electric goes out you will only have so much time to cook them before they go bad. Instead, focus on canned and box goods that can be easily cooked without power.
When power goes out you will want to consume your frozen and refrigerated foods first. Otherwise, you are throwing money away. You can keep these items cools by placing ice packets in your freezer. This will remain cool for about 3 or 4 days.
To keep food colder longer I would recommend picking up the Coleman 100 Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler. This cooler will keep your food cold for up to 5 days. However, you will need to have ice. This will be challenging to find before a hurricane lands. If you are unable to find ice then you can always make your own prior to the storm. Just fill ziplock bags full of water and place in your freezer.
Once the grid goes down during a hurricane it may be unlikely that you are able to build a campfire to cook. This is because the wood will be wet unless you have your own supply of wood. It is extremely challenging to build a fire with wet wood but isn’t impossible.
Instead, I recommend having a Butane stove that is safe to cook indoors. Cooking indoors with a propane stove isn’t safe. You could try cooking outdoors with a propane stove but then you risk catching the attention of others who are hungry. It may also be impossible with the rain following the hurricane.
Once you have cooked all of your refrigerated food then you should eat your canned goods, MREs and freeze-dried food. The great thing about MREs is that they only need water. The packet inside will cook the food for you.
Now you don’t necessarily need water for canned goods. You can typically just cook them as is. With the dry freeze food, you will need hot water to cook. You can read more about the basics of emergency food supply HERE.
If you live in the south then you know there is always the potential for flooding, especially after a hurricane. You have probably seen the pictures in Texas of flood waters reaching traffic lights. Here in Central Florida, I have seen flood waters reach the windows of houses. This takes a few weeks to recover from.
Sandbags are not going to stop flooding unless you have enough to build a wall like Donald Trump. Most likely you don’t. So I would recommend getting sandbags to cover the cracks of your doors and other important areas of your home. This way the flood waters do not destroy the inside of your home.
You will want to buy these sandbags before the storm lands. Just like some of the other supplies, it will be extremely challenging to find them the week of. Once you have the bags you can easily find dirt to fill them for them for free.
Flashlights and other light sources
Having a source of light in your hurricane survival kit is essential. It is a survival multiplier and increases morale. When the grid went down in our area you couldn’t see 10 to 20 feet in front of you. It was also challenging trying to move around in the house with no light as well.
I would recommend having a headlamp. That way you have free hands in the case that you have to fix something. Typically with a flashlight, you are limited to one free hand.
Another piece of gear to have in your hurricane survival kit is a battery-powered LED lantern. I really fell in love with this lantern during the aftermath. Just one will light up a whole room. Neighbors outside were banging on my door thinking our power was restored because they could see the lights shining through the blinds.
Having a poncho or rain jacket in your hurricane survival kit is helpful. If you have to go outside while it is raining this will keep you somewhat dry. With winds blowing everywhere during a hurricane you are going to get wet regardless. There is also the chance of the hurricane or tornados that accompany it will rip off or destroy your roof. This will leave you susceptible to the rain.
The toughest part for me when the grid went down was the downtime. Yes, I know it is a first world struggle and we have been pampered with the luxuries of this society. But being bored with no power was driving me nuts.
We were able to pass the time with our neighbors by drinking some beers, playing some games and talking. But you can only do so much of this. I am an introvert and don’t like to talk for too long.
So a week before the hurricane landed I downloaded a ton of Netflix movies, podcast and video games for Amazon Kindle Tablet. This kept me from going kaywack on people.
This again is another survival multiplier. Now having a tablet isn’t an essential to survival. But it will keep you and your families’ morale high.
Backup power supply
There are positive and negatives of having backup power. As I mentioned in The Strategic Prepper eBook, having backup power is a survival multiplier.
If you live in Florida like me then you know it gets hotter than Satan’s toenail. So being with power electricity to power your air conditioning can literally make your life a living hell. I don’t know how people survived in Florida before the invention of air conditioning. There are some hacks that you can do like building a redneck air conditioning unit but it is nothing like the real thing.
For a few days, we had to sleep with no power in 90-degree weather. You typically get your best sleep in 70-degree weather. So throughout the night, I was waking up off and on. This left me exhausted the next morning for work.
When we were able to get air conditioning it changed our outlook on the situation. We were refreshed. It increased our morale.
Having backup power is also useful for charging devices like a cellphone, radios and even mini-fridges. We also charged our tablets to watch the movies that we downloaded. Then we charged the rechargeable batteries for our battery powered fan.
Thankfully the preparedness market has really grown and in return provide a lot of great options. For my cellphones and other electronic devices, I used the Anker PowerCore portable charger. For bigger electronics like window air conditioning units, you can buy gas generators. However, at that point, you will be relying upon gas which may be hard to find during and after a hurricane.
Another great option is the Goal Zero Yeti that can be solar charged. The downside of this is that you are reliant upon sunrays which you may not have immediately after the storm. So if you combine the two then you should be fine.
Grid down communications
One important thing that I learned during Hurricane Irma is that Sprint is not the reliable network that they proclaim to be. In fact, they should make commercials boasting the fact of them being the most unreliable network. They just suck ass.
I could barely get any connection while most of my neighbors were living lavish scrolling the internet with their 4G connection. So I wasn’t really able to stay in contact with friends and family. So this is why it is important to have alternate forms of communication.
So here in my community, a lot of us bought Midland walkie talkies. They proclaim to have a range of 26 miles but it was more like 2 or 3 miles. This is actually typical of walkie-talkies. But it got the job done. My neighborhood and I were able to communicate needs and updates throughout the week.
For more long distance communication I would recommend having a Baofeng UV-5R. After the hurricane, I was able to communicate with others up to 30 miles away. This was enough for me because my other family members are about 5 or 10 miles away from me.
As I mentioned earlier, when the grid went down there were looters who were taking advantage of the situation. Looters love grid down situations because it is harder to identify them in dark. It is also harder to see a crime happening in the dark. They anticipate people being away from their homes and stores without the proper ability to protect them.
As a matter of fact, some dumb ass looters even began looting stores in broad daylight during the hurricane. They were filmed by local news stations and didn’t bother covering their faces. If these dumb asses are willing to do this during the day then you can expect worse at night.
As I said, they are anticipating people being away from their homes in an evacuation. These make it dangerous when they encounter a home that is occupied. This is why it is important to have your self-defense gear along with layered home security system.
So altogether these would be my suggestions on what to have in your hurricane survival kit. If you have any suggestions then please leave a comment below. Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.