This post is written for those of us living in the likely paths of these sometimes deadly storms. These suggestions were posted by a friend on Facebook:
If you’re in the path of the hurricane . . . .
This is a list of preparations to help you and your family stay safe (feel free to copy and share).
1. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can. Rinse out your coolers or buy a couple of new ones. Even cheap styrofoam coolers will do. Pack them with bags of ice too. The ice will melt but it may take 48 hrs or more.
2. Freeze tap water for pets in Tupperware containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the container.
3. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer. Keep your dry foods in a high place.
4. Fill up all vehicles with fuel; check tires & oil.
5. Get cash–credit cards might not work for merchants with no power. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state, so they don’t freeze your card for out-of-area, “suspicious” transactions.
6. Screenshot (or scan) & send important documents to your email. Take originals in sealed bags. Stash them in sealable plastic bins, if you can.
7. Stock up on pet & livestock food/supplies. (See item 6 for vet records in case you need to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.) Seal dry animal food in plastic containers and store in an elevated, safe place.
8. Print evacuation plans. Share with family members so they know where you’re headed. Put those in sealable bags as well. Go over the rules: staying together, what to do if you’re separated, where to shelter, etc.
9. Consider putting heirlooms & photos in sealable bags, them spring them in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them with you.
10. If you own them, SECURE ALL FIREARMS & AMMUNITION PROPERLY (if you own them the ‘right way’ in FL, this should already be the case).
11. Roll up and place old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors!
12. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder)
Have an Evac Backpack
Have a backpack for each person ready to go if you have to leave the house. That backpack should include:
– Two small flashlights
– A pack of batteries for the flashlights
– Basic medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, anti-diarrheal medication, antihistamines, etc.
– The individual’s prescription medication
– A spare set of eyeglasses
– If you wear dentures, pack what you need for that in a sealable plastic bag
– A first aid kit. If you don’t have one, make one: You’ll need a skin disinfectant, a few bandages or compresses, and some duct tape. Seal it all into a sealable plastic bag.
– A Swiss Army knife, or small multi tool
– Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
– Small bottles of hand soap or dish soap
– Mosquito spray (You may need this after 4 days)
– A roll of duct tape, electrical tape, or both
– A small pair of scissors
– Bottles of water
– Wrapped or sealed foods: Crackers and cookies will do, but energy bars are probably best. Cans work too, but they’re heavy. Shoot for 1,000 calories.
Line the backpack’s main section with a garbage bag. (The thicker the better. You will use the garbage bag to weatherproof the backpack’s contents. You don’t have to seal it or tie a knot at the top. Just twist the excess amount of bag at the top and fold it down before closing the bag. The tighter the twist and the fold, the more waterproof it is.)
Inside the garbage bag, carry, at minimum, a change of socks and underwear, a large towel, a small towel, a change of clothes, and a blanket.
Also pack two rolls of toilet paper in their own sealed plastic bags.
Additional gear to take with you if you have it:
– A pocket camping stove with a couple of fuel bottles and a metal bowl, pot or cup. You may need it to boil water
– A lighter or waterproof matches
– A headlamp
– A rolled-up tarp or heavy poncho
– 12ft or more of para cord or twine
– An emergency or sports whistle
– A few carabiners. They’re useful
– Rubber bands (you will use them for everything)
– A can opener
– Hard candy (Soothing, good for saliva production)
(Note that a good source of emergency water, if your supplies run out and your bathtub’s water is compromised, is water heaters. Most houses have one, and usually hold over twenty gallons of water each.)
Have a saw, axe, crow bar or hammers upstairs to break out of attic if water rises and you can’t escape the top floor;
have spray paint can ready if you need to signal a sign on the roof of the house. Bright colors are ideal–black paint on a black roof is hard to see.
– Fill up your bathtub(s) now so you’ll have more water.
– Buy one gallon of water per day per person.
– Put your smartphone in a sealable plastic bag. Pack your charger and a couple of charged portable phone batteries in a separate bag. Keep them on your person at all times.
– Save your phone battery. Cell coverage will be restored eventually, and you’ll need your phone to access important emergency information and let your family and friends know you’re okay.
– With a sharpie, write your name, SSN, and emergency contact info on the side of your arm.
– If you have flotation devices, keep them close. You may need them. Inflatable pool toys like inflatable dinghies can be pretty handy to move pets, kids, and supplies from place to place of your area gets flooded.
– If you have a pool, you may want to throw your pool furniture into it so it won’t fly away. (The garage is a better place for your patio and outdoor stuff, but if you run out of room, the pool will keep it all from becoming deadly projectiles.)
– Check on your neighbors. Make sure they’re all right and don’t need help. Helping others helps you help yourself, and takes a lot of stress away from your own preparations.
Feel free to copy and paste. Stay safe, everyone!