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Heading to an emergency shelter to wait out Hurricane Florence? Here’s what to pack

Heading to an emergency shelter to wait out Hurricane Florence? Here’s what to pack

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Life hacks like using your washer as a cooler and building an indoor dog potty can help people weather the hurricane season.
USA TODAY

Usually, potential evacuees are told to take a few important things to a shelter.

Food. Batteries. Flashlights. A change of clothes. Medication. Maybe a book or two and comfort items for children.

But you need more. Here are some ideas for a better shelter experience:

The basics:

  • Bedding, pillows and, if possible, an air mattress or cot. Most Red Cross shelters do NOT have cots. If you need to get creative, make a bed out of sofa cushions or plastic lounge chairs.
  • Earplugs and eye masks. Babies scream, people may talk while you’re sleeping. Lights may turn on at daybreak.
  • Pack food that does not need to be heated. The food is limited at shelters, so bring non-perishable food including peanut butter, jelly, bread, fruit and snacks and don’t forget a can opener.
  • Drinking water. Shelter officials recommend a gallon a day per person. Err on the generous side, you never know how long a storm will linger.
  • Surge protector and chargers. While the power is on, you’ll want to make sure your phones and devices remain charged. There are not many outlets so bringing a surge protector will help and make you popular among your fellow evacuees.

Keep yourself busy:

  • Games, books, cards and magazines. Once the power goes out, so do the televisions.
  • Bring along board games for kids. If you like crafts, pack supplies, such as knitting needles.
  • If you bring a laptop or tablet, be prepared to not be able to access wireless network.

The extras:

  • Air freshener. Remember: There could be about a dozen bathrooms for hundreds of people. Also on this note, bring toilet paper and deodorant, just in case.
  • Handheld, battery-powered fans, or paper fans. Storms could cut out power and generators likely would be used for lights and kitchen use only.
  • Batteries, chargers and portable battery packs. For cell phones, portable televisions, portable video games, etc.

How to find a Red Cross shelter

Go to www.redcross.org to find open emergency shelters.

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