Rumor has it, there is a powerful storm barreling towards the US in the Atlantic Ocean. We went through this last October, when Hurricane Matthew was projected to make landfall in my town. It was terrifying. I (Kellie) was under a mandatory evacuation order since I live on the coast. The stress of having to round up 2 small children, 3 dogs and a cat, along with enough food and water to sustain them for who knows how long made it difficult to focus on what exactly the necessities were. That was my first time having to prep for a hurricane since I moved to Florida in 2008. I’ve made a list of the essentials since then, to help me better prepare the next time around. Hurricane prep for vegans really shouldn’t be all that different than for non-vegans. We all need to eat, and having non-perishables on hand is essential.
- Canned Beans! Chickpeas, black beans, cannellini – whatever your favorites are that can be drained, rinsed and eaten straight out of the can. Beans are full of fiber and protein to help you stay satisfied after a meal. I try to stock up when I can find excellent prices on organic beans. Vitacost carries an excellent brand that run $1/can.
- Fresh fruit – bananas, oranges and apples are fruits that do not require refrigeration. Have plenty of these on hand to last until the coast is clear (pun intended). Avocados are good too, but we all know that getting an avocado that is perfectly ripe at the right time can be somewhat of a challenge.
- Fresh veggies – Onions, tomatoes and potatoes are three things that don’t require refrigeration (until they are cut). If you have a grill, you can grill a baked potato (don’t forget the foil). I have been known to make a meal out of a large russet potato.
- Canned fruits and veggies (for me, these are a last resort because I love fresh fruits and veggies so much). Keenun developed a love for jars of mushrooms during the last storm.
- Kid Snacks – this is essential because I have two young children. My three year old basically lives off snacks, so we typically have plenty. Boxed cereals, fruit pouches, granola bars, pretzels, crackers, chips, and cookies are all things that are going into our evacuation kit.
- Grown Up Snacks – Ok, so we can totally eat the kid snacks, but some of us have more discerning tastes. I love nuts, seeds, and trail mix. Recently I have discovered the Kind Sweet Cayenne BBQ Almond Bars. Larabars are great for grown-ups and kids alike.
- McDougall’s Soups – these are great if you’re able to boil water!
- Nut butters and jam (peanut butter and jelly is always a fan favorite, but choose your favorite nut butter that doesn’t require refrigeration, just in case). You can always spread peanut butter on your apples and bananas, too!
- Shelf stable tofu
- Shelf stable plant milks – choose your variety. Almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk…you get the point.
- Water – this goes without saying for everyone! Be sure to get water that you can drink! Last year I thought I was good for water because I regularly get a delivery of 5 gallon jugs for my water dispenser at my home. I ended up having to scramble at the last minute because in my hurried state, I had forgotten that my water dispenser is a) not portable at all, and b) requires electricity . Not to mention, those 5 gallon jugs are HEAVY. Try pouring a glass of water out of one of those. Also, I didn’t know that a hand pump spigot even existed until our friend Casie pointed that out a few minutes ago.
- Other drinks – juice boxes for the kids, adult beverages (beer, wine, liquor), sport drinks, and consider a vegan protein powder or pre-mixed shakes.
Now, aside from food, you might need some other supplies.
- Radio, flashlight, cell phone charger – You can get all these in one! Safe-T Proof offers a hand-crank solution that doesn’t require batteries or electricity. Bonus points for being affordable. If whatever you choose requires batteries, be sure to stock up on enough batteries to get you through.
- Can opener, wine/bottle opener (thanks Brittany C. for reminding us about this!)
- Ice – for your coolers! Some people even turn their washing machines into giant coolers! You can also store water in your bathtub for flushing toilets.
- First Aid Kit & Medications – as a mom, I use my first aid kit regularly. Most of the time, it’s to cover up some phantom boo-boo.
- Cash – Always pull out some cash to pay for essentials. If power goes out, ATM machines and card readers do not work.
- Gasoline – Gas up your cars (if you own more than one vehicle, gas it up, even if you don’t plan to use it to evacuate – you can always siphon it out later). If you have gas cans, fill those up too. You can always use the gas later.
- Important documents – Birth certificates, marriage licenses, insurance documents (have an electronic copy at the very least!) Either take them with you, or have them stored safely (some people vacuum seal documents and store in a fire-proof safe). I prefer to take the essentials with me. One of our readers suggested placing documents in the dishwasher. Just be sure to have an electronic copy somewhere and you should be good!
- Phone numbers – Write them down! If your cell phone dies, do you know everyone’s phone number off the top of your head? If not, write them down. Keep important numbers for local non-emergency police and fire on hand, your insurance company, and any services you use (lawn service, pool service, etc.).
- Hotel reservations – If you live in an area that is in a mandatory evacuation zone (or has been in the past), try to make your reservations early. Make a reservation that can be modified or cancelled with no penalty. Most hotels have a 48 hour cancellation policy, so be sure to keep that in mind. Set an alarm on your phone for the cancellation deadline so you can re-evaluate your reservation plans at that time. If you have pets, you can find pet-friendly hotels HERE. Keep weight limits in mind, as well as hotels that allow more than 1 pet. Some hotels will waive their pet weight limits when a hurricane is on the way.
- If you have small children in diapers/pull-ups – bring the diapers! Baby wipes are a must also! Even if you don’t have small children, baby wipes can be a blessing if you don’t have water and can’t shower for a couple of days. Also, if your baby is formula fed, don’t forget the formula and bottles.
- Quarters for laundry (excellent suggestion from one of our readers!)
- Kitchen trash bags – those trash bags at the hotels are so thin! We suggest one per day if you are traveling with family and/or pets.
Speaking of pets, here are some things you need to remember for them.
- Pet food and feeding dishes.
- Crate for transporting
- Pet beds (if you have room) for their comfort
- Water (you have water for yourself, but make sure to get enough for your pets also)
- Shot records (your hotel may ask to see this information, or if you choose to board your animals, they will need the information).
- Waste bags or litter box- please don’t forget to pickup after your pets! Puppy pads are a great idea, too. I don’t know about your dog, but my dogs aren’t going outside in pouring rain, let along a hurricane, to do their business.
As with any trip, don’t forget to pack a bag! 3 days of clothes per person should be enough, and you can always attempt to wash clothes (if you have water and power) if you’re not able to get back home. Don’t forget essentials like your toothbrush and toiletries. Also, entertainment is CRUCIAL, especially with children. Be sure to pack some games/toys/books that don’t require power. Now is a great time to visit your local library and stock up on books for yourself and your kids. Sorry kids, those iPads take a backseat to Mom’s cell phone.
Most importantly, try not to freak out. Preparing for a hurricane can be especially scary, even for seasoned folks. It’s important to secure your home, but your personal safety is more important. Try to shop early, order online when possible to save yourself some trips out, and utilize those grocery delivery services in your area (Shipt is available in many areas in Florida).
Some things you should do to take care of your home before you leave include:
- Make sure you have hurricane coverage! Be sure your insurance is up to date, and check to make sure your flood insurance is also in effect (if that applies).
- Install storm shutters or plywood if you don’t have hurricane rated windows and doors.
- Bring in all outside furniture/umbrellas/garbage cans and store in garage/shed, or inside your home if you have to. Do NOT put outdoor furniture in your pool!
- Don’t drain your pool! Shut off main power to your pool before you leave. Remove automatic vacuums and store in a safe location. When you return, remove debris from your pool first, then set your pump to run 24/7 until clear. You will more than likely have to clean your filter a few times upon return. Check chemicals, and add additional chlorine or shock if necessary.
- Lock your doors/garage before you leave and secure valuables.
- Turn your A/C off during the hurricane. Multiple power failures can damage your HVAC system. In order to keep your home cool, turn the A/C down a few degrees for a couple of days before the storm. Before you evacuate, turn it off.
- You can find other tips HERE.