Irma closes in: Go-to items for your emergency kit

Motorists form a long queue to get sandbags at Kissimmee, in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma making landfall, in Florida, U.S. September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Gregg Newton

RALEIGH – As Irma wrecks havoc in the Caribbean, and thousands of Floridians evacuate under order, N.C. is watching her path closely to see how early the track turns north. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma should turn north by the weekend, weakening as it moves. After watching days of rescues and flooded homes in Texas over the past several weeks, many NC residents are gathering supplies in case of an emergency. What should you have in your Hurricane Emergency Kit or evacuation bag?  Here are some tips and lists from

First, the N.C. Department of Emergency Management says to download the NCready mobile app.   In the event of an evacuation or an emergency, the app will provide the latest information and instructions from emergency management officials.

In planning an emergency kit,  officials say plan to be able to provide your family with 72 hours of food, water and supplies.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Once your kit is assembled, remember to keep canned food in a cool, dry place and store boxed food in tightly sealed containers.  In the event that you are at work or in your vehicle when emergency strikes, assemble a kit that allows you to shelter in place for 24 hours. The kit should include food, water, medicine, closed-toe shoes and flashlight.

If evacuation orders are issued, emergency management officials recommend that residents familiarize themselves with evacuation routes.  You can find them at the NCDOT website linked here.