Shopping for the Storm: 10 Things You Need To Stock Up On Right Now

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Another October, another bad storm. Just when we were beginning to forget about days without lights, heat and hot showers, here we are facing that same misery all over again.

As painful as those memories are, what we went through last year can help us cope better this time around, says Paul Shipman, spokesman for the American Red Cross’ Connecticut chapter.

“Think about what you wished you had during the last outage,” says Shipman. “Make those the first things you put on your list as you stock up for this storm. And you need to get them now.”

In other words, face reality, go for the essentials and get to the store sooner than later. Reports are in that D batteries, gas cans and bottled water are already in short supply.

“People always clear the shelves of milk, eggs and bread,” says Shipman. “Well, the milk doesn’t do well without refrigeration, eggs are useless if you can’t cook them and the bread is not going to provide much nutrition on its own. You need non-perishable food, water and other necessities to be safe.”

The Red Cross advises people to have enough supplies on hand to last for three days.

We know better. Last year, many of us were without power for a week or longer, so plan accordingly.

Here’s 10 things you need to stock up on right now

  1. Flashlights, lanterns and plenty of back up batteries.
  2. Gasoline. Fill your car. And if you’re lucky enough to have a generator, make sure you have a back-up supply of gas to keep it running.
  3. Battery-operated radio
  4. Water. A gallon per person per day.
  5. Prescription medication. (Now is not the time to run out of your blood pressure pills.)
  6. Non-perishable foods: peanut butter, protein bars, canned fish and canned beans.  Baby food and formula. Pet supplies. (Make sure you have a manual can opener or choose containers with pull tops.)
  7. Cash (If debit and credit machines go down, your plastic is worthless.)
  8. Paper goods (Remember that giant stack of dirty dishes you had no way to wash?)
  9. Cooler and ice.
  10. Battery-powered chargers for your cell phone.

You can get more tips at and checklists at

22 thoughts on “Shopping for the Storm: 10 Things You Need To Stock Up On Right Now

  1. Cat W.

    FYI: if you are on well water and not city water, as many of us in greater Hartford are, then you certainly need more than 1 gallon of water per person per day if you want to be able to flush a toilet! Fill up the bathtub and fill any buckets you may have so you can keep things…ahem…sanitary.

    1. LMHtfd

      One convenient vessel to fill up with water (not for drinking) would be 30 galllon trash barrels. You can always scoop the amount you need out to flush a toilet or do a simple body wash with a pail or large saucepan. They can be cheap at hardware stores — maybe $10 – $15.

  2. Korky Vann

    Steve- great tip! Folks should absolutely fill propane tanks.
    Cat W., you are right! If there’s a chance you could lose water, fill your bathtubs, sinks, buckets and even plastic garbage cans.

  3. Rich

    Here are a few more details we learned from last year:
    garage doors–your power-operated doors will fail, and on some models the manual pull-chain will foul if pulled in the wrong direction, so leave your car parked outside for the duration. You may need to use your attached garage as your kitchen anyway.
    wells–since we don’t have building code that sensibly requires wells to have manual back-up pumps, you will not have water beyond what you’ve bottled. Don’t forget that your hot water heater has water which can be drawn off from the lower spigot if there’s no pressure. Be careful not to scald yourself.
    cooking–if you’ve got no grill go to a Walmart or Cabela’s and buy yourself one of the camp stoves which use the small 1-lb propane canisters. Use it outdoors on your deck or in your garage with an open window for safety. Heat up a big pot of water daily for coffee, soup, and dish-washing. If you use untreated well water bring it to a full boil for 15 minutes before consuming with food.
    Ice–start making extra trays of ice cubes now and begin storing them in your freezer. Don’t expect to be able to buy any from the corner store later.
    appliances–unplug most things in order to avoid damage from an uncontrolled power spike. Recharge any portable tv, radios, or laptops now rather than later in the weekend close to the event (you may lose power before conditions even look bad outside).

    1. Korky Vann

      Thanks Rich. As far as ice, fill ziplock bags or rinsed out milk or juice cartons with water and freeze. Those solid blocks of ice will last much longer than cubes.

  4. Steve

    In response to Rich:

    Do not use your attached garage as your kitchen. Enough people were sickened if not died from using their gas grills in their attached garages (and in their homes!) during last year’s power outages. Detached garage, maybe. But what’s wrong with grilling outside, like usual.

  5. robert

    don’t forget to stop by the bookstore and pick up a stack of paperbacks or used books. suggest combining with several extra bottles of wine.

  6. Julia hong fang

    First Aid Kits are a definite yes. What if the storm causes some damage? You also might need some Hydrocortisone for those with sensitive skin. You need band-aids, Antiseptic, gauze, and medison.

  7. ChrisP

    Put water in your soup stock pots & keep in the kitchen & bathrooms. Have pets, so covered water necessary.

    Also have buckets of water to go in place for toilets – as I have well water & NO water if power goes out.

  8. nancyvarcoe

    If i have to listen to my husband blather on for 7 nights, sans distraction of tv and internet, like I did last October, I fear for my sanity and the sanity of those around me. Matter of fact, the moment the electricity flows again, I may be looking like Jim Morrison right before he hit the bathtub. Just saying.

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