Stock up on the essential items and resources to keep your family safe this hurricane season.
Hurricane season begins on June 1 here in Texas, and with it comes the necessity to organize your 2020 preparedness kit. While you might have some supplies left over from last year, we encourage you to go over your inventory and bulk up numbers or replace expired or otherwise damaged equipment. With COVID-19 still a concern, many necessities may not have the same availability as they did previously. We encourage all Baytown residents to start preparing as soon as possible and stay up-to-date on the latest weather news so they’re prepared to face any incoming storms.
The following supplies should help you and your family stay fed and healthy in the event of an emergency. They should prove enough to last several days until you can find shelter or assistance elsewhere, but it never hurts to buy extras if available. Make sure to store everything in an easy-to-access, waterproof container such as a Rubbermaid bin, and check regularly to ensure nothing has expired or sustained damage while in storage.
- Bottled water: One gallon per person per day. Stick to filtered or spring water. Please note that distilled water is not suitable for human consumption because it can lead to mineral deficiencies.
- Non-perishable food: A three-day supply for each member of the family, preferably easy to prepare. Consider campfire meals sold at Academy, REI, Bass Pro Shops, and other outdoors stores, as well as canned goods.
- Can opener: For opening any canned foods.
- Extra clothes: Try for a 3-day supply of clean clothing, including socks and underwear.
- Rain gear: Hats, jackets, and boots for everyone in the family.
- Shoes ideal for moving: A natural disaster is no time to be fashionable. You need to move and move quickly, keeping your feet dry and safe from rising waters, so stick with shoes that are comfortable, waterproof, and allow you to run.
- Boards: For windows. Can be nailed in or sealed with the strongest duct tape you can find.
- Flashlights or battery-powered lanterns: Make sure to include extra batteries specifically for them, too.
- Multi-purpose tool: This should get you through most emergencies, but you can supplement it with any other tool you think you might need, especially when securing your home from rain or flood damage.
- Duct tape: Strong and waterproof, it can be used to make quick repairs to clothing, shoes, emergency blankets, and other supplies.
- Battery-powered or hand crank weather radio: Keep up with the latest weather reports even if you’ve lost power. Will also require extra batteries.
- Extra batteries: For all of the battery-powered items you require.
- Emergency blankets: Try to get the waterproof ones whenever possible.
- Emergency back-up generator: Not required, but can be extremely helpful for families who lose electricity and want to keep their homes powered for longer.
- Scissors: Keep several pairs on hand for various tasks in the event one breaks.
- Insect repellent: In Baytown especially, the last thing you need in an emergency is annoying mosquito bites.
- Glow sticks: Useful for providing a little extra light when walking around a darkened home, or for keeping track of family members.
- Emergency flares: Make sure these are stored in a way where they can’t get wet or otherwise set themselves off, but close enough to access by hand. These can come in handy when flagging down emergency workers or rescue squads.
- Reflective vests: In the event you need to walk outside after the storm to speak with neighbors or emergency personnel at night, reflective vests keep you safe from cars and alert others as to your approach.
- Life vests: Even the best swimmers will struggle against the worst of the flood waters. Make sure every family members’ life vests fit safely and securely before the rains begin, especially if you have growing children.
- Baby wipes: Useful for keeping clean when showers or baths are not safe or possible.
- Period products: Try to keep a week’s worth of sanitary pads or tampons on hand. Diva Cups and period panties may be difficult to clean and sanitize during a hurricane.
- Paper towels: Useful for saving water when you have to clean your hands or surfaces, since you won’t need to clean these.
- Toilet paper: Offers the same water-saving benefit as paper towels.
- Bleach: When needing to disinfect a space. Not suitable for consumption. Try to keep about a gallon on hand.
- Hand sanitizer: Try to keep about a gallon in case the water becomes contaminated and can’t be used for washing your hands and supplies. It can help preserve your bottled water for drinking.
- Extra cash: In emergency situations with no electricity, a card will be useless.
- Extra set of keys: For the car and for the house, in case of loss.
- Printed map: In the event your phone battery dies, you can still make your way around Baytown. The city has plenty of maps you can print out and laminate for easy reference here.
- Copies of all medical and identifying documents: Include driver’s licenses, prescriptions, passports, and other critical documents.
- Extra gasoline: To be stored in the garage, not inside the kit with the other supplies. To avoid the risk of a fire in your home, only fetch extra gasoline when a hurricane is confirmed to make landfall in Baytown.
- Plastic bags: Useful for keeping supplies dry.
- Face masks: To prevent inhaling any possible contaminants and the spread of communicable germs and viruses.
If you have pets, the Houston ASPCA has a list of what to keep on hand for their own hurricane preparedness here.
Houston Chronicle also posted a list of crowdsourced hurricane kit tips, with information on what they wish they had included. It may help you with figuring out any extras you might want to add in alongside the basics. You can read it here.
For additional lists and more details on preparing for hurricanes, be sure to check out the following links:
- Hurricane Preparedness at Houston Public Library
- How to build a hurricane preparedness kit at ABC 13
Basic First Aid
Even outside of a hurricane situation, it’s still a wise idea to know the basic steps involved when administering first aid.
In addition, all households should have a first aid kit in case of cuts, burns, bruises, and other injuries. A basic first aid kit should contain the following items, listed alongside their uses:
- Extra assistive devices: Canes, glasses, contacts, hearing aids, syringes, etc. Bring extra batteries for hearing aids if necessary.
- Distilled water: Keep several gallons as needed for CPAP machines or other medical devices that require it. Not suitable for consumption.
- Prescription drugs: Try to keep a week’s worth on hand, as well as copies of the prescriptions in case you need an emergency refill.
- Cotton balls: Useful for applying ointments and cleansers. Try to keep one bag on hand.
- Cotton swabs: Similar application as cotton balls, but for harder-to-reach spaces, such as inside ears and noses.
- Rubbing alcohol: Used for sanitizing skin (not wounds, however) and tools.
- Alcohol wipes: Also useful for sanitizing skin and tools, but you need to check these regularly to make sure they haven’t dried out.
- Antibacterial wipes: For cleaning and sanitizing surfaces before administering first aid. Also need to be checked to make sure they haven’t dried out.
- Soap: Use with bottled water to clean wounds. Alcohol in open wounds can cause painful burning.
- Plaster bandages: Keep multiple sizes on hand for treating small bleeding injuries.
- Gauze pads and rolls: Get gauze pads and rolls in different sizes. All must be sterilized.
- NSAID, ibuprofen, and aspirin: Try to keep all three in the first aid kit in case of allergies. Remember, over-the-counter painkillers can expire, so make sure to replace these if they’re close to their end date.
- Disposable sterile gloves: Do not remove these from their containers until they’re ready for use. Otherwise you may risk contaminating a wound during care.
- Tweezers: Useful for removing splinters and other debris. Always sterilize before and after use.
- Safety pins: Helpful for securing bandages and gauze.
- Oral thermometer: Digital, and never made of glass and mercury. Sterilize before and after every use.
- Breathing barrier: For use during CPR, to prevent the transmission of germs. Sterilize before and after use.
- Cloth tape: Used for attaching cut gauze or helping secure gauze pads.
- Scissors: A smaller pair than typical scissors, for cutting gauze or clothing. Also requires sterilization before and after use.
- Antibiotic ointment: For use when cleaning cuts and speeding up the healing process.
- Hydrocortisone ointment: Useful when comforting rashes, allergies, insect bites, poison ivy and oak, dermatitis, and other skin conditions.
- Cold compress: For use on burns or injuries.
- Eye patch: In the event of an eye injury, patches provide more protection than gauze patches.
- Sling: To keep injured arms stable.
- First aid guide: Make sure to go over it with everyone in the family. Keeping a reference guide on hand can ease some of the stress and panic that comes when a loved one is injured.
For individuals and families who would like to receive training in first aid and/or CPR, the Red Cross offers online and in-person classes. Get more information on the available sessions here.
Resources to Follow
To keep track of hurricane updates and emergency protocols such as evacuations, shelter in place orders, emergency services, and more, we recommend the following resources:
- The Weather Channel
- Space City Weather
- National Weather Service (and their 2020 Hurricane Guide)
- Harris County Flood Control District
- Ready Harris
- Chambers County Emergency Management
All of these should help you stay on top of everything you need to know as you need to know it so you can prepare for everything a hurricane or tropical storm may bring your way.
Here to Help You in Emergencies
You and the people you love deserve peace of mind regardless of what natural disaster may occur. That’s why our team at Patients ER provides you with the most up-to-date information on how to keep everyone in your household safe, whether you face a pandemic, a hurricane, or the normal risks of day-to-day life. If you’d like to know more about us or our services, or you need advice on providing basic care at home, please contact us.