Hurricane season begins June 1st, and this month is the best time to stock up on emergency supplies. Once a storm is on the way, store shelves will empty fast. Remember to also review the expiration dates on your pantry items to see if any need replacements. When a warning is issued, follow the tips below.
1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers to help keep food cool. You can also use empty water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers, thermos bottles, and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough food in stock. Fruits that keep well are grapes, apples, bananas. Applesauce and other packaged fruits are good buys. Get bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can buy peanut butter in individual portions. Get snack packs with hard cheeses, crackers, dried fruits, apple slices, or grapes. Canned chicken, baked beans, and nuts are good sources of protein. Cans of tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup so buy these in a pouch. Make a sandwich ahead of time so you have a grab-and-go lunch.
4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out.
5. Have a cooler handy. If you lose power, put a container of ice or a freezer pack inside along with the refrigerated foods you’re likely to eat first. This will save you from opening the refrigerator door too often.
6. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
7. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another address with your most recent files. Back up to a flash drive that you can carry around. Store files in the Cloud.
8. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
9. Do the laundry.
10. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
11. Fill gas tank in car. No power, no pumps. And motorists on the run will consume the fuel.
12. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATMs won’t work in a power failure.
13. Pay bills due or coming due.
14. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.
15. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels. Also invest in duct tape and plastic sheeting to use if a window breaks.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room or in a central location. Keep extra batteries in stock. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark. Carry a flashlight with you wherever you go in the house in case the power blinks out. For any solar-powered devices, make sure they’re well exposed to light beforehand.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents, including copies of recent utility bills, into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud. Put other important papers into a plastic container. Some folks suggest putting these papers into your dishwasher or washing machine, as they are waterproof, and closing it tight.
21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger. I like the Eton brand, which is sold on Amazon. Make sure you get one with a USB port for charging your devices.
22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case the power goes out. Keep these instructions handy. Also learn how to turn off the low battery alert on your security system.
23. Get a Kindle or other e-reader with a backlight to use when the power goes out. Keep it fully charged.
24. If you think water might get into the house, put some clothes into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it.
25. Prepare your safe room for tornadoes. Put blankets on the floor unless it’s carpeted. Add a portable radio, lantern, e-reader, snacks, water bottles, and emergency papers in a plastic bag. Put your purse in there. Also have a go-bag with chargers and other emergency items.
26. Keep the air-conditioning temperature very low so when the power goes, it’ll stay cooler a little longer.
27. Add a first aid kit to your supplies.
28. Have a plan with family members on how to get in touch after the storm passes.
29. Take photos of your belongings. If you can, keep a spreadsheet with dates and place of purchase as well as cost. Store these in the Cloud or on a flash drive for insurance purposes.
30. Consider where you’ll go if power outages will last a while. Hotel or relatives? That’s assuming you can leave the area with downed trees and power lines.
Watch the weather reports at:
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/
Spectrum News Orlando: https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando
Broward County Hurricane Page: http://www.broward.org/hurricane/Pages/Default.aspx
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