Hurricane Irma could hit the United States by this weekend, meaning now is the time for coastal residents — along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico — to prepare.
Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said, with sustained winds of 175 mph.
AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Samuhel issued a warning on Monday: “Have emergency supplies ready.”
Here’s what to pack in an emergency kit and additional steps to take ahead of a hurricane, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Emergency kits should combine basic staples (food, water) with supplies reflecting your family’s unique needs, such medications or baby formula.
Water: First and foremost, store at least three gallons of water per person — enough to last each three days. If you think you’ll be cut off longer, add an extra gallon per person per day.
Cash: Banks and ATMs could shut down. Power outages render debit and credit cards useless.
Documents: Keep copies of key documents in a waterproof, easy-to-carry container. These include identification such as passports and Social Security cards as well as insurance policies and bank account records.
Medications: Keep a one-week supply of prescription medications plus any over-the-counter items like pain relievers and antacids.
Food: Lay in a three-day supply of canned foods and dry mixes — nothing that needs refrigeration. Avoid thirst-inducing foods, and remember the dietary needs of those around you, including infants (ready-to-feed formula) and pets. Secure a hand-operated can opener.