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Idalia prep kits: What you need ahead of a storm's approach

Jun 15, 2023Jun 15, 2023

With Idalia expected to strengthen into a hurricane on Monday as it churns through the Gulf of Mexico toward the west coast and Big Bend areas of Florida, residents and visitors statewide should be making preparations to ride out the storm, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

In Volusia and Flagler counties, the storm's effects are expected to arrive by Tuesday night, according to NWS forecasts. That means final preparations should be made as soon as possible today.

Fortunately, the second of Florida’s two disaster preparedness sales tax holidays started on Saturday, Aug. 26, and runs through Sept. 8. Tax-exempt items range from self-powered lights and radios to tarpaulins, AA-cell, AAA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries and food coolers, among other items.

What do you need to do? Here’s a look at what you need to know:

Get things ready early.

The National Hurricane Center, Florida Division of Emergency Management, AccuWeather, the Red Cross — and all other local, state and federal disaster officials — strongly encourage those living in a hurricane-prone area to assemble an emergency kit.

The best advice is to purchase, or update your kit from the prior year, well before a storm is approaching. That way you can avoid the long lines, empty shelves and stressed-out shoppers when a hurricane is on the way.

Assemble these items now and put them aside in a spot where you’ll be able to quickly retrieve them. Keep heat-sensitive items inside your house and rotate the stock throughout the season:

Get enough nonperishable food to last two weeks. Keep in mind that canned and other prepared foods that are salty, dry or high in fat or protein might make for good provisions, but also will make you thirsty.

Stores will be mobbed just before a storm and closed for days after. Keep a two-week supply of prescription drugs. Your first-aid kit should include:

Again, early preparation is key, before the lines start to form and supplies start to dwindle.

However you do it, keep your gas tank full. Stations could be without power for weeks after a catastrophic storm or it may be difficult for tankers to reach the area.

Keep these items in your supply kit:

Special needs:Water in bulk:For household use,Keep water clean!Wait until your utilityFreezing water jugs:Keep jugs in the freezerBuy block ice if possibleMake your own blocks.Buy extra coolers.Try the bathtub.Put foods under ice,