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Leon's Blog

Before the hurricane hits: What to take along if you must evacuate

Before the hurricane hits: What to take along if you must evacuate

Eastern coast hurricane season starts any time now. Some people may to evacuate. Suppose you have to leave very quickly – what is important to take along?

Most of us live in areas very vulnerable to natural disasters!

Here are some suggestions on what to pack from the Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security.

Important Family Documents

  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace

    Natural disasters can take many forms, and you may have to evacuate the area.

    your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.

  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.


  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).*


  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
  • (1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing.
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
  • (2) triangular bandages.
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
  • (1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • (6) antiseptic wipes.
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  • Adhesive tape, 2″ width.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Cold pack.
  • Scissors (small, personal).
  • Tweezers.
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the
    Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils*
  • Emergency preparedness manual*
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change*
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)


  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding
*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items

  • Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons

For Baby*

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For Adults

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses


  • Games and books

From “Preparing for Disaster.” Developed by the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Leon's Blog

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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