Chris Post, photojournalist and NPPA Chair of the Safety & Security Committee, offered up this detailed list of standard safety gear and operational supply items – good for TV, video and still coverage – that can get you through hurricane coverage in a vehicle. The tips will save you time and hassles – and maybe your life – while chasing the storm. Post, who works for WFMZ-TV 69NEWS in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has been covering hurricanes as a journalist or responding to them as an emergency services official since 1999.
Post recommends packing all gear in waterproof cases. “I personally use Pelican brand hard cases, that will float if it gets that bad.”
Also, see the downloadable PDF with additional tips for hurricane coverage.
A bit about rental cars:
FULL-SIZE SUV WITH 4x4. “Get full coverage, all the coverage they sell that includes the entire ‘accidental death and dismemberment’ vehicle insurance policy.”
“I also suggest activating the Sirius sat radio. It’s great to be able to listen to the CNN news feeds, nearly a play-by-play during storm conditions and a good way to gather intel. Also, in the newer vehicles like the Chevrolet Suburban, you can get in-vehicle weather radar maps, which is fed over the Sirius Satellite System.”
Suburban - 31-gallon capacity
Chrysler Town and Country Van - 20-gallon capacity
Jeep Wrangler 4-Door - 21.5-gallon capacity
About that long-neck funnel for gas:
“So you will note on my list is a long neck funnel. So the deal with this is that most new cars without a gas cap require the use of a funnel to fuel the vehicle. There is NO OTHER WAY because of the flapper valves in the fueling neck. The long neck pushes the flapper valves open so you can dump the fuel in. This is a two-person job to do it safely.”
Gear suggestions for a two-person team working out of a single vehicle
Contents of “Go-Box” Tote:
1 64-quart latching tote bin, clear
1 120V 6-outlet power strip with 3-foot cord
1 12V to 120V Power Inverter. 300-400W
1 pack, 24 batteries. Energizer lithium for radio mic’s
2 FRS two-way radios, UHF Band, AA-powered
12 AA Alkaline batteries for FRS radios
1 roll of Bounty Brand paper towels
6 pairs, 12 Gloves - Latex or Nitrile for medical aid or fueling vehicles
1 long neck funnel for fueling vehicle
2 cans of 20oz. Fix-A-Flat (minimum 2 cans)
2 ratchet tie-down straps - 1” by 12 foot
4 assorted bungee cords
2 Hi-Viz green reflective ANSI Safety Vests, 3M Brand
6 N95 particle filter masks for dust
6 55-gallon heavy-duty clear plastic drum liners. For trash bags for rain protection.
1 spray bottle with two-ounces of 5.5% Bleach for .05% or 1:100 disinfectant DECON solution. Fill to top with clean water before use.
1 bottle, pump-top, six-ounces Purell Hand Sanitizer Gel
1 Microfiber cleaning cloth for electronics
1 50’ section of 550-Lb parachute cord with carabiner clip
1 bottle of 100% DEET Insect Repellent
1 compact travel hair dryer, low wattage - for drying electronics
1 roll of gaff tape
Assorted zip ties
Extra Items Per Vehicle
4 5-gallon fuel cans, full with gasoline for 20 gallons of fuel
4 cases of bottled water. 1/2 case per person, per day
Assorted packaged high protein snacks, granola bars, candy
1 map book or road map of the area
1 Generator, Inverter Type. 2000W should be sufficient and a bicycle style cable lock to secure the generator to a fixed object. Theft is a huge issue.
1 50-Foot heavy duty extension cord.
1 Sat-Nav GPS unit, non-cell phone. Rent with the car.
1 personal flotation device per person
1 set of rain gear per person
1 First Aid Kit
Chris generously adds that “if anyone has any specific questions or wants to run something by me, they can reach out 24-7 to me at (610) 972-1963 or at [email protected] or on my sat phone at (8816) 327-18573.”