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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



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

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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