How To Really Prepare For A Hurricane
As a resident of Louisiana, I am well acquainted with hurricanes and what supplies are really useful when preparing for one. It is rare that we have to evacuate, so usually we just prepare for a rough storm and the aftermath. If you are told to evacuate, then don't hesitate to go. But if it is a mild hurricane or won't be a direct hit on your town, then many people stay put. Here are some things to consider stocking up on and doing if you will be staying put.
The first thing to consider is that electricity might go out for a few days or even a week or two. So stocking up on flashlights, candles, lanterns and batteries is mandatory. It's a good idea to keep things like this all in one place even when it isn't hurricane season. I like the old hurricane lamps that burn oil because they last much longer than candles, are brighter and cheaper to use.
No electricity can also mean that your stove won't work or that your water supply may not work either. So getting your barbeque pit, charcoal and starter fluid is a good idea because you need a way to cook and without electricity, you might find that you will be cooking things from your freezer so they don;t go bad. Where I live, the meals after a hurricane are pretty good as everyone clears out their freezers before everything goes bad. Also consider getting a camping stove and the fuel needed to use it but never use it indoors.
It is a good idea to stock up on water.Fill your tubs so you will have water to flush your toilets. Buy some water for drinking but also collect water in empty gallon jugs and pack your freezer with them BEFORE the storm. They will freeze and keep the contents of your freezer cold much longer. The more solidly packed your freezer is, the longer things will stay frozen in it when the electricity goes out.
Buy supplies such as paper plates, plastic cups, and the usual hurricane staples. But also think about things like baby wipes for cleaning up when baths aren't available.Rubbing alcohol is useful too, because it is cheap and it can be used for a variety of purposes for killing gems on hands and cleaning dishes and wiping off with when you get too hot and sweaty. Get mosquito spray because if the lights go out, it will be hot in the days after the storm, and your windows will likely be open. You may also want to get sunscreen because you will probably be outside cleaning up after the storm.
Stock up on canned foods, snacks and foods that won't require cooking and are simple to fix.You can buy powdered milk or shelf stable milk ( no refrigeration needed til after you open it) or you can freeze a gallon of milk, keep it in a cooler and and use it as it thaws. Pop tarts are a popular hurricane food and Walmart reports that strawberry pop tarts are the #1 food item that they sell the most of in the days before hurricanes. Get barbeque sauce if you are planning on barbequing the contents of your freezer. Try to plan some meals and make a list of everything you need for them.
Make sure you have all of the prescriptions that you will need because the pharmacy may be closed after the storm. Make sure you have basic first aid supplies as well. Consider family members with special needs such as infants who need formula or baby food or diabetics who may need their insulin refrigerated. Benadryl is good to have because it can stop an allergic reactions and is also a useful sleep aid.
Consider your power sources for you cell phone. Charge your phones up. You can recharge them in your vehicle if you have a car charger or you may be interested in a solar phone charger. If you have old phones that you don't use, you might want to charge them up so you can pop your sim card in them and use them if you are unable to recharge your main cell phone.
Get your kids involved in the preparations as well. This will keep them busy and will help you in the long run. It may be a good idea to invest in a few new coloring books and colors, cards or puzzles to keep them busy if the electricity goes out. You might also want to stock up on batteries for those video games and iPods that they can't seem to live without. There is nothing worse than being cooped up with children who are bored so think of ways to keep them occupied.
Find your camera and take pictures of your house and contents before the storm. That way, if there is damage, you will have pictures to document how things looked before the storm. You may also need it to take pictures after the storm. Charge up your video camera if you have one because they may be something interesting that you want to capture footage of.
Find your radio and get batteries for it. You can also buy small tvs that run on batteries to keep you informed of the news if the electricity is out. You may have to get a small antennae to hook up to it to get the best reception, depending on where you live.There are also an variety of lights, radios and other devices that don't need batteries but can be cranked to generate the power they use. These are always a good investment and kids love to crank them. Kid power is a great thing to be able to harness and use!
Wash up all of your laundry because you may be without the ability to wash clothes if the electricity fails. Have everyone pack a small bag of clothes that are ready to be grabbed if you do have to evacuate suddenly.
Locate important paperwork such as insurance policies, birth certificates, etc and put them all together in one place so they can be easily found if you need them. Putting them in a ziplock or a waterproof container is a good idea as well. You may also want to take precautions with priceless pictures as well and put them in a waterproof container.
Making yourself a checklist of everything can help save precious time and help you assess what you have and what you need. It's hard to keep track when everyone is scrambling around and you are trying to get things done before the storm hits.
Let relatives and trusted neighbors know of your plans and make sure they have your important numbers. Give family members your neighbors names and numbers and give your neighbors the contact info on your family members. You never know when this information will be helpful.
Once you have everything ready, and your family is safe and secure, relax. Rest up and spend time with your family and friends or whoever is there with you.Often family a friends gather to ride out the storm together which helps pass the time and keep everyone entertained. There is nothing else you can do but patiently wait and ride it out. Don't get over stressed about things, just remember that material possessions can be replaced, damages can be repaired, and as long as your family makes it through the storm safe and sound, everything else will be all right.