As we approach the busiest part of “Hurricane Season”, where conditions in the Atlantic Ocean are prime for hurricanes to form, we would like to share a few tips to help you get through the storm, whether you decide to stay at home and wait it out or you decide to evacuate either to a shelter or get out of the area completely.
HURRICANE PREPARATION TIPS
- Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still used for dialing 911. Charge external battery backups.
- Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and add bleach to sterilize. Store in the garage if you have one.
- Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep them from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water. You can also use the washing machine as an ice chest to keep drinks cold.
- Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
- Fill every Tupperware (or freezer-safe) plastic container you have with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a backup water supply.
- Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in the refrigerator. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Remember that ice will be impossible to find after the storm.
- Reserve refrigerator space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
- Cook any meats/poultry/seafood in advance, and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for the first day without power.
- Make sure you are well hydrated before the storm hits and be sure to avoid salty foods that will make you dehydrated.
- Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
- Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, and empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster (with a lid) that you can dispose of the trash in.
- Bring in any yard/balcony/patio decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
- Clean your environment so you have clear and easy escape routes, even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
- Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean and odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
- Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents (if you have a Foodsaver/vacuum sealing machine, that will work perfectly as it will keep everything protected from water).
- Make sure you have cash on hand. Banks may very well be closed and ATMs without any power for some time.
- Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets. You can also take a plastic kiddie pool and put sod in it to create a makeshift “potty” for your dog to use during the storm.
- Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
- Fill your propane tanks. After the storm, you can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra tank, if possible. DO NOT use indoors!
- Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your refrigerator.
- Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them readily accessible.
- Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
- Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
- Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
- Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
- Run your dishwasher. Don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes, and you will need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands. ALSO: Put items you want to be kept waterproof in the dishwasher and close the door. Even flood waters won’t get into the dishwasher.
- Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
- Check on all family members, set up emergency backup plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
- Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!
- Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
- Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
- If you can, take a video of your house and contents….walk room to room–open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof of items and help you list all the items (help your memory, so you don’t forget anything). If you can’t take a video, take as many photos as possible.
- You should also freeze a cup of water and place a coin on top after it is frozen…keep this in your freezer to help you gauge the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful if you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen. If the coin is inside the cup, rather than sitting on top, you will know immediately.
For storm information, the National Hurricane Center is a great resource: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
The Department of Homeland Security also has an excellent website for Hurricane preparedness tips and resources: https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes