Getting Ready for a Hurricane: A Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (with a FREE Printable Shopping List)

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

When a disaster draws near, suddenly, preppers don’t seem quite so crazy anymore. When the new begins issuing warnings of a hurricane on the horizon, people being feverishly preparing.

During times like this, it becomes mainstream to engage in a flurry of activity that looks like an episode of Doomsday Preppers being fast-forwarded across the screen. People rush to the stories in a frenzy, and often get all the wrong things. Most of these folks aren’t preppers in the traditional sense – they’re just hurrying to get ready because they know something is headed their way.

Even when you aren’t a prepper, if you know a hurricane is on the horizon, the best thing you can do is focus and get things together as early on as possible.

This article is for the folks who have never really considered getting ready for an unusual event. If you need to get ready fast because something is headed your way, this may not cover ALL of your bases, but it will get you through at least a short-term disaster. Nearly all of the supplies will be easily available at your local Wal-Mart, Target, or hardware store. Some will need to be ordered by mail so do this as soon as you hear that the storm is on its way.

A better option, of course, would be to pick up these items ahead of time and having an emergency kit, sitting there ready when a storm is bearing down. (Wink.) But for now, let’s get busy and get prepared for the possibilities.

If you want all of this and much more in printable form, order my book, The Prepper’s Hurricane Survival Guide. It’s a PDF so you can print it out immediately. Order here:

Action Plan

Here is a plan for getting everything together as efficiently as possible.

  1. Keep on top of the news. (You can sign up for my daily preparedness newsletter here.)
  2. Go over the shopping list below and figure out what supplies you already have. You’ll be spending a bit more money than usual so there’s no sense wasting any.
  3. Immediately order the things that you won’t be able to get locally to give them time to arrive. This article is filled with helpful links to resources. (NOTE: If the item is absolutely essential, try to acquire it locally. If it is less than 3 days until landfall, do not rely on anything you ordered by mail.)
  4. Check your insurance coverage to make sure you don’t need to make any changes.
  5. Print off the shopping list (Link at the end of the article) and cross off the things that you have or have ordered.
  6. Make your purchases and beat the last-minute, frenzied rush.
  7. Create an evacuation plan in case you can’t stay at home. Where will you go, will your pets be welcome, and what are two different routes you can take in the event that the first one is impassable? (See this article for more information on making your decision.)
  8. Include a list of things you will want to take with you and put these things together. We always used Rubbermaid tubs when it looked like we might have to evacuate. You can find an evacuation checklist here.
  9. Gather together important papers like ID, birth certificates, deeds/mortgages, insurance paperwork, licenses, pet vaccination records, etc.
  10. Have some kind of proof of residence. If you have to leave, you may have to prove you belong there to get back home.
  11. Photograph and inventory the things in your home. Store this in the cloud in case you need to make an insurance claim.
  12. Depending on the type of the storm, prepare the outside of your home by tying down anything that is loose and boarding up your windows.

Below, you’ll find the things you need to focus on to prepare when a storm is coming.

A water supply

Many events over the past years have taught us that a water emergency can happen to anyone. In the event that your area suffers from tainted tap water, you’ll want to have a backup supply on hand to keep your family (including pets) hydrated. This does not mean a case of 24 water bottles.

  • The thriftiest quick option is to purchase those one-gallon water jugs that are less than a dollar at the store. Get a supply that will last for 2 weeks – one per day, per family member. That will cost approximately $14 per family member. But if you wait too long, the water will be gone.
  • Stores will sell out of water fast. Circumvent this by filling your own containers.
  • You can find instructions for building your personal water supply in this book.
  • Here is an emergency water filter.


Being able to keep in touch with the outside world can help you get essential information or reach out for help. Social media was a primary tool for communication during the aftermath of Harvey.

  • A phone charger battery like the Jackery
  • A solar phone charger
  • A crank-radio so you can get the news (This one also has a phone charger)

Sanitation supplies

Good hygiene is even more important during a disaster. Food and water-borne illnesses can be deadly.

  • Paper towels
  • Bleach wipes
  • Baby wipes
  • Supplies to make a kitty litter toilet for humans. (Instructions here)
  • Bleach
  • Disposable rags for cleaning up
  • Heavy duty trash bags

Keep the lights on.

When the lights go out, you’ll want to have backup lighting. That scented candle in the middle of your coffee table isn’t going to last for days and days.

  • Buy tea lights. They are safe and inexpensive. These burn for 6-7 hours apiece.
  • Don’t forget about lighters and matches!
  • Bring in your solar garden stakes at night for a cozy glow.
  • Pick up some glow bracelets for the kiddos. This is a safe way to give them some light in their bedrooms.
  • Be sure to have flashlights and extra batteries on hand.
  • We love our LED headlamps. With these, you can do things hands-free at night, like reading, knitting, or other tasks that require steady illumination.

A way to cook

Even if you have loads of food in your pantry, it won’t help you much if you have no way to cook it. Here are a few options.

  • If you have a gas stove, it will probably work during most power outages. A great way to test this is to simply throw the breaker and make certain it still comes on. Some stoves have an electric ignition and will not turn on without being manually lit.
  • A backyard barbecue is another thing that most folks already have on hand that can pull double duty during an emergency. Mine also has a burner.
  • An emergency stove that can be used indoors – this is the one I just ordered. and it’s less than $40 with 4 fuel cans.  Make sure you have plenty of extra fuel for it. The cans are rated to burn for 4 hours each, and most bucket meals take 15 minutes to prepare.
  • A Kelly Kettle is a popular rocket stove that can use any type of biomass to boil water quickly. Find one here.
  • A camp stove is another excellent option. Coleman is a trusted name and these can be found in any store with a camping/outdoors department. This one is a classic. Be sure that you have enough propane to last for 3 meals per day for a couple of weeks.

A food supply

Finally, you need a food supply, and it needs to be shelf-stable. During a longer power outage, the items in your refrigerator will spoil fairly quickly, and eating something that could make you sick is even less of a good idea during an emergency. There are numerous options.

  • Buy some buckets. Buckets of food are generally considered a one month supply for one person. The fastest, easiest way to build a food supply for emergencies is to pick up a bucket for each member of the family.
  • Stock up on canned soups, stews, fruits, and vegetables. These will last a long time on a basement shelf and can be heated up very quickly to conserve your fuel.
  • Get canned meat: tuna, salmon, chicken, and ham are all readily available.
  • Consider no-cook options. If you don’t have a secondary method, look to things like peanut butter and crackers, dried fruit, canned veggies, and tortillas. Here’s a whole list of no-cook foods.
  • Protein powder is a good option to make a filling, tasty beverage (a lot of emergency food is pretty low on protein.)
  • Keep dry milk on hand for coffee, cereal, and drinking.
  • Skip the beans and rice. Unless you are cooking them over the fire in your fireplace, you are going to use far too much fuel to prepare stuff like that from scratch. Focus on foods that can be reheated or prepared in less than 20 minutes.
  • Don’t forget a manual can opener!

The most important thing to remember here is not to rely on the things in your fridge and freezer during a lengthy power outage. You want to eat those things for the first day or so, working from fridge to freezer, but after that, you need to switch to shelf-stable mode.


It may not be green, but the last thing you’re going to want to deal with during a power outage in which you may not have hot water is washing tons of dishes or laundry. Pick up some disposable items to have on hand for basic sanitation:

  • Paper plates
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning wipes

Tools and special supplies

This will vary depending on your disaster, but here are some basics.

  • Plywood
  • Screws
  • Fully charged screwdriver and manual backups
  • Duct tape
  • Tarps
  • Bug spray and insect repellant

Something to do

In our electronics-addicted world, one of the most difficult adjustments for some people during a power outage is the loss of their electronic device. You’ll want to have a few things on hand for entertainment that doesn’t require an internet connection or a gadget.

  • Get some books and save them for just such an emergency.
  • Pick up some magazines and put them away so they’ll be fresh and new.
  • Pick up games, puzzles, and other old-fashioned forms of entertainment.
  • Do crafts like knitting, carving, painting, or scrapbooking.
  • Here’s a list of power-outage activities for the kiddos.

Special needs items

This will vary from family to family, but this list should trigger some ideas. Think about the things your family members use and need on a frequent basis.

  • Prescription medications (probably the most vital thing on the list)
  • Over the counter medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Diapers and baby wipes
  • Hair elastics (ask any woman with long hair how essential this is!)
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand lotion

Keep it all in one place.

I can’t encourage you enough to buy these things ahead of time. When an emergency is pending, everyone else is out there with the same idea. However, if you’ve waited too late, now you know exactly what you need. Go here to download your FREE shopping list. This will make it easier to ensure that you have everything you need when you head out for your shopping spree.

It’s wise not to intermingle your emergency supplies with your other supplies. The particularly tasty things will get used up and you’ll be left eating saltines and canned peaches. Not fun. Pick up 1-2 large plastic tubs and keep the majority of your supplies in them.

Grab your copy of The Prepper’s Hurricane Survival Guide.

[thrive_link color=’teal’ link=’’ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Order THE PREPPER’S HURRICANE SURVIVAL GUIDE for $9.49[/thrive_link]

Do you have tips for folks who are preparing for a hurricane?

For those of you who have been through a hurricane, are there any other last minute items that you’d recommend for people who are just getting started?

[thrive_megabutton mt=”Hurricane Prep Shopping List” st=”Free Download” color=”teal” link=”” target=”_blank” align=”aligncenter”]


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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Great article Daisy.
    As a former Floridian who survived many hurricanes over my 20 odd years there, including Charlie in 2004, I can’t stress enough the need to have plenty of water! You also need to freeze as many plastic water bottles as you can and make and bag up as much ice as you can. When the power goes out it will keep things cold a little longer and you’ll be able to drink the cold bottles once they thaw out. Water and ice is the main thing you will want/need when the power goes out.
    The ability to obtain information is also so important. It is a horrible feeling to be cut off from all information. A good battery/crank radio will save your sanity. Find one that can also charge your phone. Your cell phone may not work for a day or two after a typical hurricane but once it does, you’ll need a way to charge it.
    Also…during the storm be dressed properly, with good shoes and socks on just incase. Being barefoot or in flip flops will not be good if everything else gets blown away and your left with what you have on.
    Get ready now! I saw pictures over the weekend where a Publix in Cape Coral and a Target in Ft. Myers Florida already had empty water shelves. This area was just recently hit with flooding so if it goes there, it will be bad.

  • I can add a suggestion to the water supply part.

    I have a Waterwise steam stiller at home that I use for everyday. Mine is the 12-gallon model 1700. I’ve had it for twenty years and it has given me yeoman service. It’s excellent.

    I have it hooked up to the valve that supplies water to my refrigerator. In fact, I don’t even use the automatic ice cube maker although I still could even with the distiller hooked up. That water is what comes out of the tap. I simply fill those old blue ice cube trays with distilled water for my ice cubes.

    My distiller holds 12 gallons and I keep another 12 gallons in 1 gallon containers for ready every day use.

    After running the distiller for each 24 gallon refill I clean out the boiling tank and seeing all of the junk that is left in that tank will make a believer out of anyone. The water that comes into your house from the water company is full of nasty stuff.

    I also keep a minimum of 75 gallons of water from my distiller in the house at all times. I have it stored in 5-gallon containers that have purchased at Walmart and keep stashed all around the house. They’re called Reliance Aqua-Tainers. They’re a square blue plastic container that is easier to move around for me than anything bigger. I hang a tag on each to show the date that I filled it. Walmart has them in the sporting goods section.

    Waterwise also has a distiller that requires no electricity. It’s called a model 1600. I have one of those too and it fits nicely on one of my Volcano III stoves and with the propane burner makes a nice water purification system.

    My Berkey filter (I live alone so I got a ‘Royal’ – it’s big enough for me) rounds out my water supply and re-supply requirements. I have a good supply of spare filters for the Berkey too.

    When I went to the food store the THURSDAY before ‘Harvey’ hit just to get some cold cuts the shelves were already completely empty of water bottles. There were none to be had. Fortunately I didn’t need them. And that was days before ‘The Harv’ made his not so invisible appearance.

    You can find the Waterwise filters here:

    I have been dealing with them for twenty years and they are the nicest people. Give them a look.

    Last, but not least I can tell you that no matter what preparations you make or don’t make if you don’t keep the right attitude before and during the emergency you will not do well. When the power went out early Sunday and I had done all that I could do to be prepared I simply sat back and watched mother nature in all of her glory. She put on a spectacular show.


    Thoughts and prayers to those in Florida.

    Steve Candidus

    PS: The last thing that I did before Harvey arrived was to watch my DVD of the classic (1950) movie Harvey on Saturday night. It’s one of my favorites and it always has a nice calming effect on me. Just the thing for the storm of his name…

    “I’m from Texas. What country are Y’all from?”

  • Just do what I did, GET OUT!

    Lost my house (mold) and my garage (wind) but we are all safe.

    Rebuilding in Texas

  • A suggestion, if people are able, is to have a rain barrel for an alternative water source. That water can be used for flushing. Or if properly filtered and treated, used for consumption and/or bathing. We had the power go out for a few days and we were on a well at the time. I was SO grateful for my rain barrel water! Plus, even after being treated…it was GREAT for my hair!

  • I have lived in La. and fl.more than 30 years between the 2. I’ve been through 9 hurricanes and 2 were offshore. I’m am pretty prepared, I have most of the things on all these lists. But if this storm doesn’t calm down and it comes to my zipcode l am leaving and strongly suggest the same to everyone in it’s path. This is a hurricane with tornado strength winds.
    I have played on a offshore platform deck in 125 mph. winds but this one is no joke folks, don’t try to be brave or tough and put your life at risk. GOD bless you all.

  • Adding to that list: items to keep warm. In hot climates this may seem silly, but if you suddenly need to move north, it would be smart to have some ‘winter clothes’.

    Extra blankets and duvets are good for building forts, and not just for kids! If you decide to stay home during a hurricane, you want to be in a windowless room, preferably above where flood waters will reach. Then line the walls and floors with blankets, duvets and even couch cushions and mattresses. These will protect you from debris (even just a little bit), hitting the walls (and hurting yourself or breaking the walls), and will help keep little ones calm.

    Remember, it’s not just being prepared for the before and after of the event, but also living through the event itself. Stay safe, and be prepared ????

  • Great article! Thanks for sharing, and for giving us a checklist. I plan on sharing with our students (giving credit, of course). Also a good reminder to start prepping for our New England winter!

  • growing up in a community that did not have safe water, my mom used to store water in well-washed used bleach bottles. We had many of these stockpiled in our garage, filled with water. You never had to worry about water safety when you broke one open even after being stored all year.

  • I’ve been following the local news in the Virgin Islands:

    Strickling and her family live on Magens Bay on the north side of St. Thomas, an island of more than 55,000 people. Before the storm, they tried to stock up on some essentials. “I filled up a cart, I was thinking, ‘I’m overreacting,'” she said. “Like most people, we don’t have $500, $1,000 for storm prep for a storm that might not happen. I was thinking, ‘We don’t really need that.'” But now, she says, she questions why she didn’t buy a carload of water or food that didn’t need refrigeration.

    [USVI Gov. Mapp] pointed out that residents at distribution centers, after a lengthy wait in line, were given two meals and one liter of water. “What if they have five people at home?” he asked. He [Mapp] said he has ordered that everyone in line be given a case of meals (14 meals in a case) and a case of water, so, they would not have to return the next day to get in line.

  • Thanks again Daisy for the articles and lists. They’ll help alot of people now.

    Kitty litter in empty tea bags along with electronic gear secured in watertight ammo cans will help with the resulting humidity. The can, in case a tree branch comes thru the roof. Laminating important documents or copies along with photos of them on a memory stick can go in the can too.

    Plastic is your friend when the torrential rains come. From rain gear, rubber boots to large and small plastic bags. Zip ties, gorilla tape, even superglue for small cuts, are cheap for the uses they have. Keep pently of spices on hand as you will get tried of the same food. Apple cinder vinegar, baking soda and honey have multiple uses and keep. Develop a taste for kelp, seaweed, they’re relatively inexpensive at Oriental Food Markets. Soak them beforehand. Garlic, ginger, turmeric/cumic powder, lemons, helps.

    There’s a chance the sewer lines will back up contaminating the water supply and your house. Prep as if you’ll be bushcrafting in your own house. Clorex, iodine tablets, canteens, definitely water filters would not be usual in that situation.

    Expect you all may have to bug out after the storm, have everyone have their own bags. Mandatory evacuations happen. Be careful what people tell you as I found out there will be mass confusion after the hurricane. During one storm people stayed beachside. The city government in their infinite wisdom randomly decided during the next hurricane to excavate everyone … since they didn’t do it last time. The result, a massive traffic jam on a major Interstate with a multi-thousand mile diameter wide hurricance bearing down. Luckily it made a hair pin turn and went back towards the ocean. I have told this story before but it bears repeating. Why assume politicians know what they’re doing? If the worst had happened, no one would had be held accountable for making a bad decision, criminal would apply.

    Returning to backed up sewer lines. A hospital potty chair found in thrift stores along with bags of lime and plastic bags with zip ties comes in handy. So does metal garbage cans with secured pungi chord tops kept in the shade. Garbage and food waste will attract insects and rodents. An air rifle will deter raccoons as long their skin is punctured, no need to cull them, except if you’re really hungry. Be mindful what’s downrange if you miss.
    The same goes for lit candles inside the house. A hurricane lamp is good or even a glass jar with a light reflecter behind it and handle.

    Having changes of clean clothes stocked up helps. Avoid cotton in the humidity. Also, avoid wearing flip-flops as you don’t know what is in the bottom of the contaminated puddles. Neck lanyards for everyone are good for keeping spare keys and emergency pounches with info in case you get separated. An inexpensive Morakniv knife also with a P38/”John Wayne” can opener. I don’t trust the hand operated ones since people forget to clean behind the gears.

    Lastly, plywood all exterior windows and openings as flying debris breaking the glass will cause negative pressure on the opposite side of the house causing the roof to be be pulled up. After Hurricane Andrew it was found out alot of the damaged residential homes had next to no hurricance metal clips holding down the roof rafters to the top plates of the walls. One hurricane I went thru pulled off all, all, the hub caps from automobile tires. Downed trees from the wet soil and thousands of hub caps. Each hurricane has it’s quirks.

    • If I sound a wee bit bitter towards incompetent administrative personnel before and after a hurricance, consider how long it takes to open up the south bound highway lanes to cars trapped on the north bound lanes fleeing the approaching storm.
      If it takes a day or two … ask ,
      “Why trust Politicians?”.

  • There will be no power. The water/sewer plants rely on electricity to supply your water. There will be no gasoline. The gas station relies on electricity to pump the gas. Tea light candles are a bad idea during the initial power outage, if the windows get blown out the candles get knocked over and a fire starts inside the house with no one coming to save you.

    If you try to evacuate during/after a storm the backroads will be flooded and trees will be down, you will have to use the highway and it will not be moving. Any available resources along the way will be used up, dried up, or held down.

    This is the list:

    Help others

  • On the propane camp stove. Northern Tool sells an adapter which will allow you to refill the disposable propane tanks. You can also get a hose that will connect your camp stove to a barbecue or larger size refillable tank. Avoid the big box propane exchange stores, Blue Rhino comes to mind. It’s MUCH CHEAPER to have it refilled at a gas station or propane supply store.

    Consider getting a good thermal pot. Cooking rice is a snap as all you have to do is bring it to a boil and turn it off. Put the inner pot into the outer pot and wait 25 minutes. Key word here is GOOD. We had a Nissan thermal outer pot that inadvertently was moved over a hot burner. We were no longer able to find Nissan pots and tried a few other brands, none of which worked as well. It would appear that Thermos is now making the old Nissan pot and the quality is the same. The old inner pots from the Nissan are interchangeable with the new. Sadly they are a bit pricey. IMO worth the price.

  • You Need More Than Food to Survive

    In the event of a long-term disaster, there are non-food essentials that can be vital to your survival and well-being. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Sign up for your FREE report and get prepared.

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