Hurricane survival kit: How to keep your family safe when a hurricane hits

Having a hurricane survival kit prepared can help you and your family stay safe and comfortable if a hurricane hits.

Posted Updated

WRAL Staff

Hurricanes are powerful storms that can cause significant damage. Having a hurricane survival kit prepared can help you and your family stay safe and comfortable if a hurricane hits.

Putting together a hurricane "survival kit"? Here are three-day and 14-day checklists of items you'll want to include.

Be sure to check out the WRAL video of some items you might not be aware you will need if you're without food, clean water or electricity.

Three-day supply kit

Start with an easy to carry, watertight container – a large, plastic trash can will do, or you can line a sturdy cardboard box with a couple of trash bags. Next, gather the following items and place them in your kit:

  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Essential medications
  • Extra batteries in waterproof container
  • Extra cash and change
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Fill plastic containers, such as soft-drink bottles.
  • Fire extinguisher (ABC-type)
  • First-aid book and kit that includes:
    • 20 emergency bandages of various sizes
    • Adhesive tape, 2-inch width
    • Anti-bacterial ointment
    • Cold pack
    • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
    • Four various-sized sterile gauze pads
    • Medical grade non-latex gloves
    • Non-prescription drugs (e.g., aspirin or non-aspirin pain relievers)
    • One 5 x 9 sterile dressing
    • One roll of 3-inch cohesive bandage
    • One roll of self-adhering elastic bandage
    • Small scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Waterless alcohol-based sanitizer and wipes
  • Flashlight
  • Food, water, leash and carrier for pets (If you plan to go to a shelter, remember that most do not allow pets. Make other plans for your pets.)
  • Manual can opener
  • One gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup and cereals, fruits and vegetables, canned or box juices, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, bread and any special dietary items you and your family need.
  • Sanitary Items:
    • Bar soap and liquid detergent
    • Feminine hygiene supplies
    • Household bleach for cleaning
    • Large trash cans
    • Large, plastic trash bags for waste and to use as tarps and rain ponchos
    • Rubber gloves
    • Shampoo
    • Toilet paper
    • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
    • Towelettes
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Water purification kit or bleach (use eight drops of regular bleach per gallon of water)
  • 14-day supply kit

    The experiences of Hurricanes Hugo, Bertha and Fran have taught North Carolinians to be prepared to live without utilities and basic services for two weeks or more. In addition to the three-day supply kit, these supplies will be good to have if you find your self going 14 days without electricity or running water:

    • Axes, hatchets
    • Battery-operated clock
    • Books, games, cards, puzzles, toys
    • Brooms and mops
    • Butane lighter or matches in waterproof container
    • Can opener (for food)
    • Chain saw, gas and oil
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Clothesline and clothespins
    • Cooler
    • Detergent for dishes and clothes
    • Disposable plates, cups, utensils
    • Duct and masking tape
    • Fuel (for cars and generators)
    • Gloves and goggles
    • Ice
    • Ladders
    • Lantern
    • Local maps
    • Multi-purpose tool, like a Swiss Army knife
    • Pails and buckets
    • Paper and pencil
    • Plastic garbage bags
    • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
    • Plywood and nails
    • Rope
    • Shovels
    • Small tools (wrench or pliers to turn off utilities)
    • Toiletries
    • Wheelbarrow
    • Whistle (to signal for help)
    • Create a communication plan
    • Have a way to get weather alerts and forecast updates
    • Listen to local officials and avoid travel unless ordered to evacuate
    • Strengthen your home

    Prepare your paperwork

    Start with a portable, waterproof (airtight) bag that's brightly colored, so you can quickly find it in the dark. Diving equipment shops stock the ideal bag, but gallon-sized or larger zip-lock bags will do in a pinch.

    Print this checklist and keep it inside your waterproof bag to help you collect the items listed below:

    • Driver's license, photo ID
    • Emergency contact list or address book (even if contacts are stored in a smartphone)
    • Insurance policies (health, home, auto)
    • Vital documents (birth certificates, passports, wills)
    • Bank account information (account numbers, passwords)
    • Photocopies of credit and debit cards (front and back)
    • Stock certificates, investment information
    • Extra keys (home, safe deposit box, office and car)

    Remember: When packing, be realistic about what you can carry. Pack only what is essential for surviving the storm and its aftermath.

    Don't forget to hurricane-proof your digital information. Backing up to a portable hard drive leaves you open to the same storm-related dangers your computer faces. Cloud-based backup preserves your data and grants you secure access from anywhere.

    Prepare your emergency kit for pets

    Finally, create an emergency kit with necessities for your pets, including food, water, and medicines, as well as a collar and leash.


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