Every Floridian knows how to prepare for a hurricane; gather food, hoard water, and seriously consider buying a generator for twice as much as they normally cost.
After hurricane Hermine came through last week, I realized that my hurricane preparation game was a bit lacking. I have since updated my hurricane preparation list. The updated list is below, and I hope it helps everyone who uses it to be a bit more comfortable after the storm.
Preparing for a Hurricane
- Gather Water: If you rely on a well for water, the power to the well, and therefore the water from the well is likely to go out in a bad storm, so having extra water on hand is a must. While municipal water is less likely to stop due to a storm, it can be contaminated, in which case bottled water is still a must. While you can certainly go out and buy a bunch of bottled water, you can save a bit by filling up the drink bottles you already have. Bonus Tip: If you freeze your bottled water before the storm, the frozen bottles can be used to keep perishable food cool a little longer, and when the ice melts you will have a cool drink.
- Buy Food that doesn't need to be refrigerated or cooked: I am not a huge granola bar fan, but when you have no power and no refrigeration they suddenly become surprisingly tasty, and they are better for you than most of the junk food that doesn't need refrigeration or cooking.
- Ready a Cooler for Perishable Food: A cooler with a bunch of ice or ice packs will probably keep your perishable food cooler longer than a fridge without power. Prior to the storm make or buy extra ice or freeze a bunch of ice packs to stick in the cooler with your most precious perishable foods so they can survive a little longer. Bonus Tip: Really nice coolers actually keep food cooler longer. We have a Yeti that we put through it's paces when our fridge broke a few months ago. It kept ice frozen for 3 days.
- Gather Candles, Matches, Flashlights, and Batteries: Again, the power is likely to go out, but we still need to see. I was shocked to see just how dark some areas in my house were without electricity, even in the middle of the day.
- Ready the Get-a-way Car: If it gets really bad you might need to get out of dodge (or, participate in an evacuation when the local authorities indicate to do so). Make sure at least one car is in good working order and fueled up.
Stepping up the Prep
- Have cash on hand: When stores open up after a hurricane they may still not have any way to run credit cards (power may have been restored, but phone or cable lines used by credit card processors might still be down).
- Do laundry and wash dishes prior to the storm: You don't want to be caught the day after storm with no power and no water, with a sink full of dirty dishes and no clean underwear. What would your mom say?
- Charge Phones/any other rechargeable electronic device you might need: The ability to call out and check the news in an emergency is priceless. Bonus Tip: Check out solar charged battery backups for small electronics (like this one from Amazon). They allow you to keep your phone charged even when the power is out, and are surprisingly inexpensive.
- Stock up the First Aid Kit: In a bad emergency getting to the hospital may not be immediately possible. Make sure to have at least basic first aid supplies on hand in case of illness or injury. My basic list includes; bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain killer, and anti nausea/diarrheal meds.
- Pick up prescription meds: If you have been prescribed prescription medication you should probably keep taking it even after a hurricane, but the pharmacy may not be open for pick up. Think ahead and pick them up early.
- Have an established plan that everyone is on-board with: This is especially helpful for making small children feel prepared and confident when the power goes out. Sharing dialogue about what will happen and why can give participants in your plan a psychological boost because they're not victims of the weather, they're actively addressing the weather and taking control of the situation.
Hard Core Prepping
- Buy a Camp Stove and Fuel: With a camp stove you can cook food and boil potentially contaminated water, solving part of the lack of power or clean water issue.
- Buy a Camping Water Filter and iodine tablets: Unlike the water filer you probably have in your fridge right now that just makes your water taste better, a camping water filer will actually filter out many contaminates. When combined with iodine tables unboiled water becomes relatively safe to drink (although boiling is still recommended if possible).
- Actually buy that generator you keep talking about: While a $3000 whole house automatic backup generator may be tempting, a considerably smaller and less expensive one can still keep your fridge running, power a few fans, and run a hotplate (although maybe not all at once). It can help make the time after the storm considerably more bearable, and if you buy one when there isn't a hurricane bearing down it might even be reasonably priced.
Do you have any other hurricane preparation tips. Please share them in the comments.
(This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own.)