10 must-haves to cope with natural disasters

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

When it comes to your home, there are a number of items that are helpful to keep on hand, especially when an emergency may arise.

Being caught off guard in the case of a natural disaster or sudden power or water outage may not only be inconvenient, it may also be devastating and costly. Being properly prepared for the what if’s may come in handy and be potentially life-saving in the case of an emergency.

Design Recipes has compiled a list of what we consider must-haves for the home.

Flashlight and batteries. Having properly working flashlights could play a critical and vital role in the case of a short-term or long-term power outage. Make sure you have multiple heavy duty flashlights on hand.

Tarps. Tarps come in different strengths and sizes and can be used for various applications. In the case of an approaching or current storm, they can be used to secure items that may become airborne.

At least four jugs of water. In the case of a power outage, there will come a point when toilets will no longer be able to flush and water will drain from faucets. Having water on hand for these necessities will come in handy.

More than one source of communication. Instead of just relying on one form of communication, have the ability to communicate and call for help in various ways. For example, be sure to have both a landline and cellphone in case one goes down. Back up for Wi-Fi connections. Also, consider purchasing a portable, battery-operated radio that will inform you of important updates.

Generators. Consider purchasing a generator. With storm season in full swing, having a safety plan in place is appealing to many homeowners. Whether it is a standby generator or one that is portable, a generator can help you whether the storm with your power on.

A quality roof. Check your roof. When a storm comes, you will want to make sure your roof is in top condition. Roofs are one of the main sources of water entry into a home during a storm.

Storm doors. Consider installing a storm door. Storm doors aren’t just decorative, they also serve a vital function by helping to keep rain, wind and other elements from penetrating entry points to your home.

New windows. If your windows aren’t storm-ready, make sure they are by replacing them.

Chainsaws. A chainsaw can be a vital piece of equipment after a storm, especially when it comes to clean up.

Power tools. Nothing beats having a good set of tools in the home. This is a must any time of the year. Hammers, screwdrivers and drills are all part of having the basics when it comes to tools you may need to use.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at