Hurricane prepared-ness (Sheltering in place, and 3 types of go kits for either evacuating from or riding out a disaster)

Click to skip why I finally posted this, and get to the preparation discussion

This post is inspired by an early morning (Early for New Orleans, Early for a Saturday) financial Talk Show. I think it was about 10 days ago. (July 26, 2013?)
DISCLAIMER: While providing good advice, being  put on by a for profit group I feel the show sometimes boarders on an infomercial sales pitch. (Yes, many radio programs have experts which got to be experts because they work in the industry not just as reporters.)

Anyway, they were talking about 3 levels of financial security. Not just the typical distribution of assets, but actual savings.

  • emergency income X months to coverof no income,
  • Emergency expenses — To cover replacement of things, and cover deductibles,
  • Retirement savings — All the other things in the packages for life after work.

They related this to savings for hurricane protection, and they failed to break it down well. They started to come across as promoting preparedness. They started to provide an information package, but quickly left for the discussion of financial savings (It is a financial show). But its in New Orleans* and I feel it is important to provide the public service of describing 3 levels of preparing for a hurricane:

*Ok, the show/sponsor/show’s host/speaker is based out of Metarie.

  • Shelter In Place
  • Go Kit
  • Long term, recovery, weathering the storm

Ok, he didn’t use those terms, and I don’t remember what he used, or how he suggested to prepare, but those are the terms I suggest you keep in mind.

The details of the discussion:


In the two sections below, I will cover what I mean by each, and what you should have in each. Why is this different than many people think or “do”. I shy away from directly calling them “Hurricane” preparedness packages because they are general disaster packages which may depending on your location may have some modifications based on local conditions. i.e. fire, tornado, hurricane

Definitions of the 3 preparedness packages:

  • Shelter In Place (SIP): FEMA a government group describes a SIP needs “There may be situations, depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, when it’s simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside by ‘sheltering in place.'”
    • I describe individual preparation. Your, location, home, business, and special needs may dictate specific other needs to prepare for.
    • Internally FEMA plans to get help to locations within 3 days of a disaster. Does that mean from start, end, or stabilization of disaster? They publicly suggest “at least 3 days” of supplies. Thus, plan your kit to survive 3 days.
    • Of course if you plan on riding out a disaster, you are not in a typical SIP situation. Instead, you are planning to survive a specific event, and need to plan a specific kit accordingly. I say specific because there is a different need, and you should keep your normal SIP kit for unplanned situations.
  • Go Kit — A kit to get you from point A to point B. I actually consider there 3 types of disaster go kits.
    • Local: This is a kit to get you from your SIP location to a rescue location. This should be light enough that you do not fatigue before you get to your destination because of it. Unlike a SIP kit, you don’t need a 3 days supply, A day’s supply of drinking water, and minimal food items are needed. This kit may complement or equal an evacuation kit.
    • Evacuation (shared egress): A shared evacuation kit should include supplies for a stay away from home weather in a shelter, hotel, or on someone’s couch. This is shared because you are not evacuating on your own. Instead, you are using a bus, train, plain, or hopping in someone elses car who is doing there own evacuation. There is typically minimal supplies. Weather you need to plan to SIP or rely on a local go kit for the basics is kinda up to you. Generally these shared egress options include meals, minimal snacks, and water. This is for efficiency, and part of the service provided to meet the needs of those being evacuated, and take advantage of scale so people can pack light relying on shared resources. Be sure to check what services are provided. When you plan this pack. (You may want to bring enough to minimally supplement what is provided for the group, and get you through between stops and waiting periods) — Because this is frequently for traveling, think of a standard small suitcase or backpack designed to fit in and fill overhead bins, and under seat areas. These designs are designed for travel, to fit in standard areas, easy to transport, and have wheels or the ability to easily carry on your back.
    • Evacuation (Long term… etc): Think of this like a camping trip. Bring everything you will need for camping for an extended period. There may be minimal ability to stock along the way. If you plan on camping, make sure your facilities are up to the challenge, if not, you may pack a small tent for emergencies. You will need a full supply of water. Try to plan for everyone you are with. I would keep this in addition to and separate from a shared egress kit. You may need to leave all the extra supplies of your long term kit and switch to a shared egress at a moments notice. This kit also doubles as part of a recovery kit. It may contain supplies you need to return. You can either leave that kit at home, or restock while away, and return with fresh supplies. (One can argue both that said kit is safer at the return location, and also that it is better kept safely with you.)
  • Riding out a disaster: By maintaining a SIP and all three of three go kits you also have a ride-out kit. If you have a long term evacuation/recovery kit, you probably have enough supplies to ride out the disaster locally. You can rely on the SIP kit if necessary, run with the day kit if you need to leave the house quickly, and if planning falls through on your evacuation or ride-out plans, you can easily take your small shared egress go kit and make it either to a local shelter or to a shared evacuation site.


While I thought I wrote about all the above before, I have now. I will not provide the details of what to put in each. Hopefully the descriptions give you a good idea to think about how to plan for each.  Below or in a new post, someday I hope to list some items to add to each kit. Until then, check out:
On the Red Cross page also click on Tools and Resources for specific disaster considerations

Business, health care, groups, and special needs may also check out:

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