Here’s the thing about storms: they sneak up on you. Sure, you might have a couple days warning that a hurricane is coming–but so does everyone else in town. While you’re making a mad dash to the hardware store to pick up sandbags, so are all your neighbors. And when you’re headed to the lumberyard to fortify your windows, maybe your neighbors have beat you to it.
Get ahead of the next storm and all of the chaos it brings by gathering these supplies before it’s too late.
1. Duct Tape – Cross tape your windows for reinforcement, seal the edges of windows and doors to keep water out, wrap up a frozen pipe that has burst, and oh-so-much more. Duct tape is always your friend, but duct tape becomes your best friend when you’re in the middle of a deadly storm.
2. Sand Bags – You’ve probably seen polypropylene bags before. They are the white tarp-looking things that you can fill with heavy soil or gravely soil. For reference: it takes 600 sandbags to cover a 100-foot section–even more reason to start preparing this one.
3. Quick Dam – It only takes one inch of water to significantly damage your home and set you back thousands of dollars. Using the water-activated quick dams can help you contain and divert rushing water or shallow flooding.
4. Hammer, Nails, Plywood – In many cases, it’s a good idea to board up your windows when a deadly storm is on its way. This will fortify your windows to ensure that glass doesn’t break, that flying objects don’t hurl through your windows, and will further safeguard your house from intruders if you need to evacuate. You can find plywood at your local hardware shop and store it in a shed or garage.
5. Generator – Trees knock down power lines so often during nasty storms, and tornadoes downright obliterate them. Having a generator will allow you to run electricity so that you can cook, generate heat, power up a light source, and much more.
6. Battery-powered Flashlight – This one is self-explanatory! When the power is out or you need to dig around in the basement for supplies, you’re going to need a flashlight. However, there is an extra usage if you purchase a hefty metal flashlight. You can use that flashlight to break glass in an emergency situation. Think outside the box and you’ll be just fine!
7. LED Lanterns – Because you can never have too much light during a blackout storm, consider equipping yourself with these battery-powered LED lanterns. For families that have children, it will be an especially comforting gesture to set up a little camping area with blankets, snacks, playing cards, and a bright LED lantern.
8. Wrench – When the big storm hits, you’ll want to shut off your utilities. Cracked water lines can taint your water supply, electrical sparks from your circuit box have the potential to start fires, and natural gas leaks have been known to cause explosions following natural disasters.
9. Fire Extinguisher – When a storm comes, you switch to using methods of cooking, heating and lighting that you don’t typically use on a day-to-day basis. Because of the unfamiliarity, you are more likely to neglect a candle that catches your curtain or a gust of wind might knock over your electric heater and spark a fire. If you’ve got an extinguisher on hand, you’ll be able to combat that fire real quick.
10. Storm-proof Matches – Nestled in a waterproof container, these matches won’t let you down. They are more durable than the standard flimsy matches and come with a striker that won’t be immediately ruined by weather conditions.
11. Shovel – If you’ve been using the same shovel for 10 years, it’s time to upgrade. Time is of the essence in dire situations so you need a high-quality tool that will help you move fast. Dig trenches to catch incoming water, clear rubble of fallen buildings, or fill your sand bags at a steady pace.
12. Long-Burning Candles – You won’t have to worry about conserving your candles’ burn time when you have candles that burn up to 115 hours! No odor and no hassle; just an essential storm item to light the night when you’re in crisis.
13. Flares and Smoke Flares – Whether you’re alerting other drivers that a tree is down on the road or you are trying to signal for help, these flares and smoke flares can be lifesavers. In some cases, you’ll only have one shot to get it right, so do some research on flare techniques when you’ve got the time.
For the Humans
14. Medical Kit – Even the most beautiful sunny day living off the grid requires a medical kit. Make sure you have one–maybe two–somewhere because doctors don’t do house calls in a deadly storm. Pro Tip: Stick an Epi Pen in there for good measure.
15. Water – You will need at least one gallon of water per person per day. This is both for drinking and sanitation. Since water lasts forever and is the simplest emergency supply to store, you don’t have an excuse not to stock up on several gallons right now.
16. Water Purification Tablets – Water lines can get polluted and you very well could run out of clean drinking water if the storm’s aftermath is especially devastating. Don’t risk ingesting any water-borne microorganisms; quickly purify rainwater, lake water, or any other pre-treated source you can find.
17. Food – An amateur stockpile should include relatively non-perishable goods like peanut butter, protein bars, rice, jerky, beans, canned soups or veggies, and pickled anything. These items of sustenance will get you through the first few days but you never know how long a state of emergency might last. It’s wise to consider going into full-prepper mode with a sophisticated stockpile.
18. Wool Military Blankets – No power, no heat. You may be using these wool military blankets 24/7 depending on the season. They are naturally insulating so they will help you to regulate your body temperature even if they’re wet. Made with durable material and sturdy stitching, these blankets are made to last.
19. Whistles – Give every member of your family a keychain whistle and do it right now. If a building collapses or a landslide divides your property, each member of the family will, ideally, be able to identify their location as soon as possible.
20. Hand-Crank/Solar Powered Radio – Stay up to date on the status of the storm, disaster relief crews headed your way, or find out which roads are blocked with a radio that never fails. Use the hand crank or the solar panels to recharge the battery so you can make use of both the radio and flashlight.
Depending on your geographical location, you may be more likely to be affected by one kind of storm more than another. If you live in North Texas, you are certainly in the tornado zone and you’re also at risk for nasty ice storms in the winter. Washington State is known for windy winters that often knock down power lines, and we know that area is well overdue for an earthquake. And hurricane season feels like a never-ending battle in Florida.
Get familiar with where you’re living and no matter how far fetched a deadly storm might seem, remember the epigram of Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. But hey… I’m sure you’ll be fine. Right? Yea, you’ll be fine.