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How to Create Your Family’s Emergency Kit for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is in full swing and the tropics will stay active through November, so now is a very important time to prepare for a potential disaster.

We hear from many families around this time of year on best ways to prepare for hurricanes, and we encourage them to build two important, potentially life-saving kits and follow these tips below.

Prep for the Storm and Pack Your Hurricane Kit

Start by learning your evacuation zone and get familiar with the evacuation routes you will need to take if your family must leave, and discuss where you will go. Families with children who have special needs should register with their local health department and emergency operations offices to find out the location of their special needs shelter in case of evacuation. Also, not all shelters for the public will accept pets, so you’ll want to check in advance on which ones will accommodate your four-legged family members. Please note, Johns Hopkins All Children’s is open for emergent care, but is not a shelter.

Here are important items to include in your hurricane kit:

  • List of important contacts and phone numbers
  • Water (enough for a few days)
  • Necessities for young children including formula, wipes and diapers
  • Non-perishable food items, including anything needed for special dietary concerns
  • Flashlights and extra batteries, including extra external phone batteries
  • A weather radio
  • Activities to keep kids busy (Electronics will run out of power within a few hours, so gather other distractors such as coloring books, board or card games or other favorite activities that don’t depend on batteries.)
  • Prescription medications (and related medical equipment such as nebulizer/mask or spacer and mask for those with asthma)
  • Bedding for a small space
  • Infant or child necessities (wipes, diapers, bottles)
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Change of clothes
  • Eyeglasses
  • Important papers and valid ID; consider bringing copies of your child’s vaccination and/or medical record
  • Cash

What to Include in a First-Aid Supply Kit

When it comes to a first aid kit, think about the basics for small injuries like cuts and scrapes, but also family specific items. For example, if your child has allergies that require an epi-pen or daily antihistamine pill, or if they have asthma, don’t forget their nebulizer and/or inhaler with spacer and mask. Here is a list to get your family started:

  • Bandages (in different sizes)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze pads and wraps
  • Compression bandage for sprains/strains
  • Ice Pack (particularly for home)
  • Pain relievers/anti-inflammatory medication
  • Antihistamine (liquid, pill and/or topical cream for rashes, bites and stings)
  • Plastic bag or small container to hold items in your first aid kit

For more tips and a printable check list, you can also visit:

*Presented by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital | Originally published in the July 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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Rachel Dawkins, M.D.
Rachel Dawkins, M.D. is medical director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Clinics in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Department of Pediatric Medicine, seeing patients as a pediatrician in St. Petersburg, Florida. She also is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. Dawkins is active nationally with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Board of Pediatrics. Her research and teaching interests are in childhood resilience, advocacy, resident education and obesity. She earned her medical degree at the University of Miami. She completed her residency at Louisiana State University, where she also completed a year as chief resident. As a faculty member at LSU, Dr. Dawkins spent six years as an associate program director for the pediatric residency program.

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