How to Buy Hurricane Supplies During COVID-19

When coronavirus struck, we rushed to the stores to stock up on all of the supplies we thought would protect us from the growing pandemic – paper towels, toilet paper, Clorox, rubbing alcohol.

For weeks these supplies were sold out everywhere, and although many stores have now resumed normal stock, another reason to expect empty shelves ahead has blown in.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1, and already we have seen several storms, including the wrath of Category 4 Hurricane Laura. As fall moves into town, the threat is far from over with experts at the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center calling for a busy hurricane season this year, too. 

While coronavirus is still running rampant, it’s crucial that you know how to shop for hurricane supplies and still protect yourself from COVID. In addition to our guide on hurricane preparedness, these are what supplies you need to buy.

Read: Best Medical Alert Systems of 2020

How to Shop Safely During Coronavirus

Not all of us have our homes fully stocked with the recommended supplies for disaster preparedness, so that means we have to go shopping. Today, though, store closures, limited hours, reduced inventory and extending shipping times are all making shopping for your hurricane supplies that much harder. 

The CDC reports that online shopping and home delivery are the safest ways to buy emergency hurricane supplies during coronavirus.

If you must shop in person, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Don’t forget your mask.

Even when you’re preparing for a natural disaster, normal COVID precautions still apply.

  • Maintain social distancing.

Keep at least six feet between you and others whenever possible. Shopping during early or late hours can help because there are fewer customers in the store. Many stores also offer special hours for high-risk patrons.

  • Opt for curbside pickup.

Even if you cannot have your items delivered, many stores are offering curbside pickup where you can place your order digitally and pick up without ever leaving your car.

  • Use touchless payment.

Many shops offer the option to pay via mobile app, or you can use a touchless payment system with your card or phone. If you must share a pen or keypad, be sure to use sanitizer immediately, and avoid sharing a pen or stylus. 

  • Bring your sanitizer.

Be sure to clean your hands frequently using a disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol, and try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • If you’re sick, stay home!

The worst thing you can do is go out in public and risk infecting others.

Read: 7 Hurricane Season Safety Resources

Hurricane Supplies to Buy

These are your everyday essentials to buy.

  • Water

You should stock a minimum three-day supply for drinking and sanitation use. The U.S. government’s Ready program suggests one gallon per person per day.

  • Non-perishable foods

There is the chance you may lose power, so you want to stock at least a three day supply. Be sure to include items that require no cooking or refrigeration in case you lose power.

  • Personal toiletries

Don’t forget about glasses, contacts and solution, as well as personal hygiene items.

  • First aid kit

In case there are any injuries from flooding or debris, you can tend to them until you can get medical help.

  • Paper products

These should include paper towels, tissues, napkins and moist towelettes.

  • Maps

These will be necessary if you need to find alternate evacuation routes on your way out of town. Closures, traffic and damages can all easily prevent you from traveling your usual road. Be sure to also keep a full gas can to fill your tank.

In case you lose power:

  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Manual can opener
  • Hammer, wrench and other basic tools

In case you need to make emergency repairs:

  • Hammer
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Plywood
  • Heavy plastic sheeting
  • Duct mask
  • Duct tape

Be sure to buy what you need, and try to replenish what you use as much as possible.

“Preparing your home is one of the most important aspects of hurricane prep. There are many steps you can take to not only ensure you mitigate the damage to your home, but also yourself,” explains John Romito, a licensed real estate agent with over 15 years of experience and founder of Heart & Home Real Estate in Oregon. 

Read: The Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors

“As a personal safety measure, board up windows to protect from any glass shrapnel that may occur as a result of debris contacting the window. You should also keep any objects that could become projectiles away from windows and other points of entry,” Romito continues. “Also, ensure doorways are sealed, and clear up any loose debris outside the home before the hurricane hits.” 

Don’t forget about your appliances, either, he adds. “To ensure the safety of your home, use surge protectors so your appliances don’t short out when a surge occurs.”

What COVID Supplies to Buy

With the impending hurricane, don’t forget to also stock up on everything you need in case coronavirus worms its way into your safe zone.

Face coverings are among the most important. There are many kinds of masks available these days, but Alicia Hough, Corporate Wellness Expert at The Product Analyst, warns that not all of them are necessarily safe. 

“The effective ones include the N95 mask and the surgical mask,” she explains. “These two have the highest percentage (70-90%) of keeping the virus away from your nose and mouth. The not so effective ones include mostly homemade masks like sponge and cloth masks for fashion. They keep away little to no chances of infection at all.”

Make sure you have at least two masks for everyone ages two and above. 

You will also want to purchase cleaning supplies, to include soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Sanitizers and wipes must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Also, be sure to stock up on all medications you may need. This includes prescription drugs, as well as aspirin, anti-inflammatories, antacids and laxatives.

Don’t forget about special considerations for hurricane COVID supplies, including keeping your children and pets safe. Seniors may also have specific needs, such as medications that need to be kept in a dry or cool environment. 

The Bottom Line

With an overactive hurricane season projected for 2020, it is more important than ever to brush up on your hurricane preparedness skills and knowledge. Coronavirus has made purchasing hurricane supplies more difficult, but online shopping, home delivery, touchless payments and curbside delivery can help you prepare while still keeping your family safe.

(Photo by Kathrin Ziegler / GettyImages)


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Contributing Writer

Lena Borrelli

Lena Borrelli is a freelance journalist who has covered home security, safety, and other topics for Safety.com, TIME, Microsoft News, ADT, and Home Advisor.