As a Florida native, I have been through my share of hurricanes. Hurricanes are tricky beasts that are hard to predict. You think you are in the clear and then WHAM it makes a turn and comes right for you. The small ones are normally just an inconvenience – the big ones you need to be ready for and run if necessary. Unfortunately IRMA is currently a CAT 5 – not one to play with. If you think you will need to evacuate, make a reservation NOW. Seriously hotels will fill up so figure out your escape plan now. Just make sure to book one you can cancel if you don’t need it.
In North Florida, normally the problem isn’t the damage caused by the hurricane, it’s the power outages. We have tons of trees up here and they like to fall on power lines during storms. This can take days even weeks to fix. Over the years I have learned a few tricks that help make it easier to deal with the outages and run if necessary!
The storm is five days away and my city has already sold out of water. Water is always a big problem. We never buy bottled water instead we fill out all the containers in the house and freeze them if possible. Empty jugs, pitchers, water bottles, anything that can hold water. Just make sure to sanitize them. This serves two purposes – ice and water. Make sure to leave a little room at the top for expansion. Fill your freezer as full as possible. This helps keep the food frozen longer too. If you need to leave, put them in a cooler with your food.
Instead of buying water bottles, get a Igloo 5 Gallon Seat Top Beverage Jug with spigot. They are only $22 and you will have water for days. If you order now, it should be here in time or you can check local stores like Dick’s, Walmart, and Academy. Occasionally drop one of the blocks of ice from above in it and you can keep it going with cold water for days!
Things to get BEFOREHAND:
It’s a good idea to clean your house BEFORE the storm. Sounds weird but if the power goes out you won’t be able to do dishes or laundry for days so it’s a good idea to get it done beforehand.
There are several things your house should have in case the power goes out:
- Water – tons of it!
- Hand Crank Radio
- Solar chargers – great for charging phones
- Battery power pack for phones
- LED Lanterns – safer than candles and provide more light
- Camping gear – stove, coffeemaker, etc – get it ALL out!
- Food – canned if possible – enough for a week
- Fill prescriptions
- Manual Can Opener
- Check propane for grill. Get ready to empty that freezer!
- Evacuation plan – know your route out and have a printed map – GPS networks may not work!
- Bug Out Box – see below…
Bug Out Box:
I keep a box of the necessities when we travel – it has paper plates, salt, a pan, and anything else we need in a foreign house. Nothing elaborate, just a plastic storage bin like this. It’s great for extended stays in hotels because they never have everything WE need like a noise machine to sleep.
For occasions like this, it becomes our bug out box in case we need to leave in a hurry. I suggest getting one ready now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
In the case of a storm, that box will now also hold the following:
- Important papers in zip lock bags (insurance, birth certificates, etc)
- Important electronics in zip lock bags
- Photos of our belongings for insurance – we use a flash drive and upload online just in case. Video is best!
- Medicine – anything and everything we need **good idea to fill extra is possible before storm hits**
— Include birth control – for real, there are always baby booms after storms!
- Cash – not IN the box but make sure you have some!
- Any family mementos we don’t want to lose
Of course a larger family may need more than one box. Also make sure to pack enough clothes for a week for each family member.
Don’t forget the furry family members. They will need leashes, food, meds, and more!
Right before the storm hits:
If you decide to ride out the storm here are a few things you should do…
- Fill at least one tub with water – may want to leave one empty
- Determine your safe zone in the house – inside closet, tub, hallway, safe center part of house.
- Check contacts in phone – add insurance agents, hospital, etc.
- All objects outside should be in garage/storage.
- Cars in garage if possible.
- Tape windows. Packing/duct tape will help keep them from breaking.
- Bucket of water next to toilet. They should still work just need water to flush if power is out. Would keep flushing to minimum though.
- Know where your local shelters are and have phone numbers on hand
I am not saying you should stay or go, everyone’s situation is different. If you are going to leave you need to do so early. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the road. Once the storm hits it will be almost impossible to travel so plan ahead.
I am not an expert just trying to give some tips that can help! What are your tips and tricks?