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Hurricane Prep Tips from Local TV Meteorologists/Dads

Hurricane Season is Here: Local Meteorologists are sharing expert prep tips for families

Yep. It’s that time of year again, hurricane season!  That means it’s time to get that hurricane kit together. You may have heard me talk over the years about what you should have in your kit, but if your a new parent, that list has just changed a bit.

Related: Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 31-June 6, 2019. Find out what qualifies.

Take our morning meteorologist Grant Gilmore’s kit. He has had this for years, but now that he and his wife are parents for the first time he and maybe even you might need to add some items that you didn’t need before. (Scroll to bottom of this article for more from Grant.)

Remember, you need to be prepared to be on your own for a week as power could be out, roads could be impassible and simple trips to the store may not be that simple. The biggest thing on your list would be diapers, diapers and more diapers, but don’t forget about clean, potable water.

Water that you bought last year may not be as fresh as you would like it to be for your little one so it’s a good idea to freshen up that water supply. Remember it’s 1 gallon per person per day for a week. That means my family of five needs 35 gallons of water -and we are not making formula either!  Baby wipes always come in handy for your little one, but when the power is out they can also be used for the rest of the family to freshen up a bit.

We recommend that you fill up your bathtub with water before the storm. This water is not to be used for drinking, rather to pour into the toilet so it will flush if the water has been cut off. If you do this though, try to keep the bathroom door shut as a bathtub full of water could be dangerous to a little one roaming the house.

Don’t forget a first aid kit and medications that can be given to children and a few bins of clorox disinfectant wipes wouldn’t hurt either. Also remember some things to keep the older kids occupied. Games, markers, paper, cards and of course their electronics are a must.

Bobby Deskins and family Hurricane Kit tips
Bobby Deskins pictured with his wife Debbie and their 3 children.

Don’t forget portable chargers and keep in mind the internet may be down if the power is out. My kids watched so many videos during Irma, that they were hardly aware of the weather going by outside. Movies can help distract them and calm their nerves.  If you are lucky enough to have a generator make sure you know how to use it, you have enough fuel for it and run it outside.

It would be wise to invest in a combination smoke / carbon monoxide detector to help keep your family safe.

The list can go on and will vary with your family’s specific needs, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Take a little time now to think about how your family would fare without power for a week, what you would need and then stock up over the next several weeks.

If you make a plan now, it will be much easier and much less stressful to implement that plan if the need arises. Here’s to a quiet hurricane season!

Meteorologist and new dad Grant Gilmore weighs in:

Our daughter was born in the middle of hurricane season last year. As we prepare for the upcoming season I have to make sure our hurricane kit has everything an infant will need; extra onesies, baby food, formula, wipes and diapers, diapers, diapers.

Grant Gilmore WTSP Hurricane Kit tips
Grant with his wife Liz and daughter Finley. Photo by Darlene Barlows Photography.

And remember, hurricane season is 6 months long. How will your kids needs change over that period? While you may not have had an addition to your family it’s always important to do a quick evaluation of your kit. Has anything expired? Do the batteries in your flashlight still work. Just take 30 minutes to review what you’ve got.

weather radio hurricane kit

I love my weather radio! In addition to providing critical emergency weather information the radio has a bunch of handy features. In addition to its rechargeable battery, the radio can be charged by a hand crank or solar panel. The radio also features a flashlight, USB ports to charge your cell phone and an ultra sonic dog whistle to assist search and rescue teams in locating individuals during an emergency situation. The radio is called the ER310 E+READY® EMERGENCY CRANK WEATHER RADIO. You can get it for $60 on Amazon.

  • Don’t forget about your pets! In addition to having enough water, make sure you’ve got some food for at least three days. Throw in a toy for them as well. If you have to use your kit, having a comfort item for your pet will help keep them calm.
  • Zip-Lock bags! I compartmentalize a lot of my items in zip-lock bags to help keep things organized, but also to protect them from water damage. You never know what conditions are going to be like when you have to open your kit. The more things you can keep dry the better. I also have about 10 extra zip-lock bags for unexpected needs. There will be unexpected needs…
  • I also have a complete change of clothing in my kit. This includes a pair of sneakers, jeans, long sleeve shirt, among other articles of clothing.


Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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