In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, hurricane preparedness has become a priority for states, cities and families across the United States. As mandatory evacuations become more frequent, it's important to purchase the products you'll need ahead of time. Here are some of the most important hurricane preparedness products.
When a mandatory hurricane evacuation is called, hotel rooms are a hot commodity. Often, evacuees have to drive hundreds of miles from home to find available rooms. A cot allows you to hunker down at a shelter in comfort. They also elevate you above the ground, which is important in disaster situations.
"After a disaster, you don't know what's on the ground, there could be ants, snakes, glass, rocks, nails or other refuse," said Maurice Blanga, V.P of Sales for cot-manufacturer Blantex Inc.
Blanga said that purchasing cots makes sense not only for families, but for shelters as well. He said that folding cots can be set up in 15-20 seconds. They can also be used to store blankets and sheets when in the folding position.
Folding cots are also available for those with special needs; these cots are capable of elevating a person's head or feet.
An MRE (meal ready to eat) is another important supply to have when evacuating due to a hurricane. MRE's are pre-packaged meals and need no additional ingredients except for water. You should have a minimum of six MRE's per person, as the government and the American Red Cross urge every family to be prepared to care from themselves for the first 72 hours after a disaster.
MRE's can actually be quite tasty. Entrees can include: Cheese tortellini, beef stew, BBQ chicken, vegetarian chili and more. Freeze-dried fruit, granola and other nuts are also good supplies to have.
Fresh water is crucial in a crisis situation. If you're evacuating, it's important to bring a few gallons with you. Stores often experience a run on water, so it may not be available. In addition, water purification tablets are a good supply to carry, as they can produce potable water from a stream, lake or other water source.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, it's possible that hotel rooms will be unavailable and that sleeping supplies will be short. A heavy-duty camping blanket can come in handy in a number of situations, whether you're camping in a tent, sleeping in a shelter or forced to take refuge in a car. You may also want to consider purchasing a thermal blanket for extra warmth.
Even if you're outside of the hurricane zone, the weather can still be nasty. A poncho will help you keep dry during the storm.
Hurricanes often cause tree limbs to drop on power lines, causing blackouts. Make sure you have flashlights (and batteries) on hand, so you can see at night if the power goes out.