It’s Hurricane Season! At least it will be on June 1st on the Atlantic side. That gives you 2 weeks to plan your strategy – just in case.
If a hurricane is heading your way, these easy preparations will save you a lot of grief.
1. Lower your fridge and freezer temps. If and when you lose power, these large appliances are no better than a picnic cooler. Turning down the temp ahead of time will help the food last longer.
2. Pack up the yard or secure loose items. Your favorite lawn chair is a weapon of mass destruction in 100 mile per hour winds. This will save your home (and your neighbors’ homes) from flying debris.
3. Move items that are indoors to higher ground. Hurricanes often bring flooding. If you don’t have a basement, or your basement floods, move items that will be damaged by water to higher ground – either off the floor or the next story up.
4. Charge your cell phones. Assume you’ll be without electricity for a few days. After the storm, use your phone sparingly.
5. Make a paper list of important phone numbers. Who does that anymore? It’s in your phone right? If your phone dies you might have to borrow a neighbor’s, and they won’t have the numbers you need.
6. Keep important papers in one place in a water proof container or plastic bags. This should include your family records (birth, marriage, death certificates), financial records (insurance policies, bank and credit cards information, passports, social security cards, deeds, stock certificates and other valuables). If you have to evacuate you can grab them and go.
7. Have your medications (including your pets’) in one handy place. It’s the same ‘grab and go’ strategy from step 6.
8. Prepare your food pantry. If you are staying in place, make sure you have non-perishable food and water (and a manual can opener). Non-perishable means boxed or canned – they last longer than fresh foods or foods that require refrigeration. Don’t buy items that require milk, eggs, or cheese to prepare. If they’re pre-cooked, that’s even better – they might taste better heated, but it’s not necessary. Buying non-perishables is something you can do right now. Stores sell out fast, so it’s good to have your prepper foods before the hurricane is spotted.
9. Have what I call ‘camping supplies’ ready – extra batteries, lanterns, blankets, battery powered radio, car cell phone chargers, a grill for cooking, etc.
10. Cash! When power outages happen, credit card and ATM machines may not work. Hurricanes bring widespread power outages, downed trees and flooding. It might not be easy (or possible) to drive far enough to find a store or bank that still has electricity.
11. Fill up the car gas tanks before the storm gets close. Gas stations do run out! They might not even be open.
These are the basics. It shouldn’t be too overwhelming if you’ve got your to-do list ready ahead of time.
If you think it’s too much, search the web for hurricane survival stories. Millions of people have shared their personal anecdotes about the week their neighborhood became a 3rd world ‘urban campground’: No electricity, running water, heat, or access to open banks, gas stations and grocery stores. If it sounds like an adventure, you’ll also learn about the items, pets and people they lost permanently to the storm.
Be safe and be prepared.