September 4, 2017 is a day my family won’t soon forget. EVERY forecast on the weather had a Category 5 Hurricane named Irma headed straight for my house. Category 5, y’all, is a catastrophic storm that there’s really little preparing for. Yes put up the metal shutters on your windows, bring everything inside but honestly, be prepared to lose everything. That is exactly what the news anchors were saying (and don’t blame them for over-playing the warning….they were exactly right to do so).
I have never been so afraid in my life knowing this storm was forecasted to literally come directly over my home. So, like a good Navy wife, I started packing 2 days before everyone else ’cause Momma didn’t raise no fool. I am going to teach you how to pack like I did so you can leave your home behind knowing you have EVERYTHING you’ll need to make it through this type of emergency. Planning ahead for something like this will save you tons of money and stress!
The first thing I need to say is FOR THE LOVE get your necessities taken care of like homeowners/renters insurance, flood insurance and, if you live on the coast, hurricane insurance. You CAN NOT buy these things once a tropical storm has been named. PLEASE get these purchased before-hand. NOW!
Hurricane insurance has been a LIFE-SAVER for our family: they pay your hotel/gas/food expenses if you have to evacuate. Y’all. This is HUGE!! If you qualify, I highly recommend USAA. They are the absolutely BEST and really take care of military families. They have given us $3,000 straight to our account to pay for our hotel, gas, eating out, and the food we lost in our freezers/refrigerator.
Also, call 2 days ahead and reserve a hotel room in case you don’t have friends/family nearby. Hotels WILL fill up fast and you can always cancel.
Call your credit card company/bank and let them know you’ll be traveling so they don’t freeze your cards. Yes this can happen and it stinks!
Okay now for the emergency kit list you’re going to take with you. Print the free list here: CLICK HERE TO PRINT
- All vital documents like birth cert/adoption decrees, proof of home insurance, social security cards, passports, etc. You need the documents that prove who you are and what you own.
- A video or pics of your items in your home. This will help prove your inventory to your insurance company. Include your vehicles.
- Water (LOTS OF IT)
- Canned foods with pop tops (no need for can opener) and boxed snacks
- Plastic utensils and paper bowls
- First aid kit
- Gas up your car EARLY! Shortage of gas was the #1 issue for people trying to leave the state of Florida.
- Enough clothes to last everyone 1 week. You may be away from your home for a month so you’ll need to plan to do laundry somewhere. I also packed $20 worth of quarters and detergent packets/dryer sheets for the hotel. This was a LIFE SAVER FOR US!
- A map in case your phone loses battery life
- Extra battery charger for your phone that doesn’t require plug-in
- Electronics like laptops, iPads, phones, charging cords, expensive camera.
- Jewelry that you can’t replace like wedding rings/sentimental pieces (I packed my Momma’s ring)
- Board games/cards/books for the children in case power goes out at the hotel (it did for us) and they will be bored.
- Homeschool books that are expensive. I didn’t pack everything…just the main books and records I couldn’t replace easily.
- Med’s. Look, Murphy’s Law says if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen to you, so someone WILL get sick during an emergency. So, I packed antihistamines (our kids have LOTS of allergies), anti-inflammatories, fever reducers, cough meds and more. I do NOT want to run to Walmart for 1 item I could’ve easily packed. Yes, our Libby did get sick.
- Toiletries to last you 1.5 weeks like shampoo, body wash, tampons, diapers, wipes. Contacts, glasses, retainers, etc. You may not have access to a store if roads are down due to trees/flooding.
- CASH!! If power is out in the town, card readers will not work. GET CASH!!!
- Toilet Paper
- Hand sanitizer (our family ONLY uses this in emergencies so it’ll actually work).
I know this looks like a long list, but having JUST lived though this, I will tell you I used EVERYTHING on it at some point and was so thankful I packed it. You just have to trust me. Again, don’t wait until disaster is on you to get some of these things together. I have a Family Binder I keep all of our documents in so that when it’s time to leave, I simply grab it and go. One less thing to worry about.