2023 Hurricane Season: What you need to complete your kit & be ready for a storm

The practical must-haves for your emergency hurricane kit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 2023 Hurricane Season begins Thursday, and it’s probably been a while since you’ve looked at your hurricane kit -- unless, of course, you’re one of those “always on time” people (I’m told you exist, but I’ve never met one of you in the wild.)

For the procrastinators among us, it’s not too late! But you definitely want to have your kit filled with the must-have items you’ll need BEFORE a storm strikes.

“I tell people all the time, it’s not if but when the next hurricane’s gonna hit,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said.

He’s right. Hurricanes are inevitable, and being prepared early, especially here in Florida, is absolutely necessary.

RELATED: What to do when a hurricane threatens |

According to Patronis, Hurricane Ian generated over 160,000 insurance claims. So, it’s a good idea to have early documentation of the “before” -- so you’re ready when the “after” occurs.

“When you get home, take a video, shoot a video of your house. Make note that ‘There’s no trees on my house right now.’ Make note that ‘I have no broken windows.’ Make note where your trees are in your yard,” Patronis explained.

But don’t stop outside. Do the exact same thing inside your home.

“Your floor coverings, your TV, and just email it to yourself, put it in a virtual place,” Patronis said.

Then comes the hurricane preparedness kit. And now is the time to save while you shop for supplies! Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday continues through June 9.

SHOPPING LIST: Click here for a downloadable supply kit checklist you can print and take to the store

Typically, a kit includes:

  • Water -- one gallon per person, per day
  • Food -- non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Flashlights
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Essential medications
  • Multi-purpose tool -- like a Swiss Army knife
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents, medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies
  • Cellphones with chargers or extra battery packs
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Extra fuel for your generator and car

The head of the National Hurricane Center says you’ve got to do these things now.

“You want to think about that now. You don’t want to be trying to figure all of that out in the days leading up to a storm,” NHC director Michael Brennan said. “There’s already going to be enough stress, and enough difficult decisions to be made leading up to the storm.”

Remember, if you already have a kit but haven’t checked it in a few years, experts -- including your Weather Authority team -- highly suggest looking at the expiration dates on items and making sure the batteries are still reliable.