Kit Essentials  •  Food Safety  •  Terms to Know

Hurricane Preparedness Kit Essentials

Include the following items in your family's hurricane preparedness kit:


First-aid kit and important medications

At least one gallon of water per person per day

Canned food and a manual can opener

Clothing and bedding

Battery- powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries

Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members

Driver’s license, Social Security cards insurance cards and policies, wills and other important documents

Maps of potential evacuation destinations


Books and toys 

Pet care items – carrier case, food, medications medical records 

Matches in a waterproof container 

Toilet paper and personal hygiene items 

Cell phone, cell phone batteries, and extra chargers

A written household inventory 

Address book or list of family members phone numbers

Food Safety for Power Outages

During a power outage, you will need to take extra precautions that the foods you eat and the water you drink  are safe. During a storm, tap water available in your area may become contaminated. Frozen and refrigerated food  items without a source of electricity may go bad. As flooding occurs, immediately evaluate stored food and water  supply. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when it is thoroughly cooked. 

Follow these food guidelines to keep your family safe during a storm-provoked power outage:

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain a cold temperature.

During a warning, set freezers and refrigerators to their coldest settings. If the power goes out, a refrigerator will keep food cold for up to four hours if unopened; an unopened freezer will stay cold 48 hours if full and approximately 24 hours if only half full.

Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source such as bottled water

Thoroughly cook frozen and refrigerated foods.

If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it’s important that the food is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any food borne bacteria that may be present is destroyed.

Take extra care with baby’s food.

If possible, use prepared, canned formula and jarred foods that require no added water. If you must use concentrated formulas, be sure to add water from a safe source, such as bottled water. 

For more information, visit or call the FDA toll-free number at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Terms to Know

Tropical Depression: An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38MPH (33knots) or less. Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.

Tropical Storm: An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73MPH (34- 63 knots).

Hurricane: An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74MPH (64knots) or higher.

Storm Surge: A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds. Storm surges can reach 25-feet high and be 50- 1000miles wide.

Storm Tide: A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm surge combined with a 2- foot normal high tide over the mean sea level created a 17- foot storm tide).

Hurricane/ Tropical Storm Watch: Hurricane/ tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 48 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Hurricane/ Tropical Storm Warning: Hurricane/ tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 36 hours. 

Short Term Watches and Warnings: A hurricane watch issued for your area indicates that hurricane conditions are possible within approximately 48 hours. A hurricane warning issued for your area indicates that hurricane conditions are expected within approximately 36 hours. For further information regarding hurricane season safety and preparedness, contact your local Red Cross. If you live in an area vulnerable to hurricanes, you’re probably aware of the damage to life and property that can result from severe weather. The best way to protect your family is to be better prepared!