Jacksonville, Fl - The American Red Cross says the most critical part of preparing is developing a hurricane plan.
Spokesperson Christian Smith says it's important to sit down with your family and loved ones to discuss a hurricane plan.
"Where are we going to go? Are we going to stay? Are we going to evacuate? Are we going to go to friends and family? Are we going to a motel?"
Smith says these are the types of questions you should discuss with your family members. She says, "Sitting down and writing down that plan is the most critical part and the component of the plan then becomes things like putting together the kit."
A hurricane kit should contain basic items that you will need should a tropical storm or hurricane become imminent.
"Your food, your water, your medications, your eyeglasses, copies of your important papers, your tools and supplies: which are things like flashlights and batteries."
As for food, Smith recommends buying canned foods which won't have to be warmed up. You'll also need to have a can opener handy. She also adds now is not the time to experiment with foods your family doesn't like.
"If they don't eat spam or they don't eat ravioli's today, most likely they're not going to want them in times of disaster."
Smith recommends one gallon of water per person each day. She says half a gallon of water should be used for cooking and cleaning and the other half should be used for drinking. Ideally, she says you should have enough food and water to last your family for a minimum of three days.
You should also have a functional first-aid kit for any kind of minor cuts, bruises or scrapes.
Another critical part of your hurricane plan should be protecting valuable documents like last will & testaments, proofs of insurance and any documents which illustrate assets you own. She recommends making copies and keeping them in a waterproof container or safe box which can't be destroyed by water or storm damage.
"Copies of your driver license, copies of your marriage license...All of those things need to be kept in a safe location."
Smith also suggests if you or one of your family members takes medication, contact your medical provider ahead of the storm for a refill.
"If you do have any medications especially life-saving ones, maybe its heart medication or cholesterol medication--anything you take on a regular basis that impacts your daily living you want to make sure you have extra's of those."
Finally she says you and your family should be thinking about any additional last-minute supplies. Items such as batteries, an FM radio, flashlights, cell phones, games and toys for your children, and food for your pet.