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How to Prepare for a Hurricane

Here are a few things to do if you’re preparing to deal with a hurricane:

  • Stock up on a 7-day supply of water and non-perishable foods, and gas up your cars. Don’t forget pet food and supplies.
  • Get batteries, flashlights, lanterns, manual can openers, paper plates and plasticware.
  • Campstoves and propane or grills are good for cooking post-hurricane if you lose power.
  • Refill any prescriptions for you and your family and pets. Most insurance companies will allow you to early-refill during the time of an impending hurricane without penalty.
  • Make sure you have special items your children will need to get through the storm or having to evacuate…toys, cuddles, and special books.
  • Get some cash, because ATMs may be down for awhile.
  • Find your first aid kit or make one by putting first aid supplies in a plastic bag. Bandaids, bandages, anti-inflammatories, alcohol, and antibacterial ointment should be in there. Put it in your safe room or in your car if you may have to evacuate.
  • Have a small bag or backpack with a change of clothes, toothbrush, and medications that you could leave your house immediately with if necessary.
  • Insect spray may be helpful if power goes out and window and doors need to be opened for air, if there are mosquitoes.
  • Get your pets’ carriers out and ready in case of a need to leave quickly. Have a small bag with a few days worth of pet food with them.
  • Place your important documents like homeowners or renters insurance policy, passports, etc in a safe box that is waterproof and that you can take with you easily. You can also add things that are not easily replaceable like flash drives, glasses, bite guards, credit cards, extra sets of keys.
  • Take pictures and/or video with your cellphone of the inside, outside, and contents of drawers and closets of your home to make taking inventory for insurance purposes easier if necessary post-hurricane.
  • Turn off gas if you are leaving your home and during the hurricane.
  • Fill up your bathtub with water to use to flush toilets later.
  • Bring in anything from outside that you can move by shoving it hard with your foot. Hurricane force winds can turn many things into dangerous projectiles.
  • If you have shutters, use them. If you can put up plywood, do so.
  • Do all your laundry before the storm. It may be awhile before you can do any afterward.
  • Put bottles of water in your freezer before the power goes out.
  • Locate the nearest American Red Cross shelter in your area, even if you think you will not need it.
  • Find the room in your home or apartment that has no or the fewest windows or is an interior part of the home. Put some of your supplies there, like water bottles, flashlights, radio, phone and chargers, and some food in case you were to become trapped there. Stay there if there are tornado warnings with the hurricane.
  • Move your cars (if possible) where they will not have trees or tree limbs fall on them.
  • The day of the hurricane, set your air conditioning a few degrees lower to cool the house in case the power goes out. It will give you a few hours of cool air.
  • If your power goes out, try to use flashlights or lanterns and not candles. Candles are a fire hazard and smoke over time can cause breathing problems, especially for asthma sufferers.
  • During the hurricane, keep windows closed and shades or curtains drawn, inside doors shut and external door braced if possible.
  • Resist venturing out during the storm due to objects being whipped up by the wind becoming projectiles. Remember that a lull could be the eye of the storm and is only temporary.
  • After the storm, be aware that downed power lines can cause electrocution. Be wary of standing water. Also, animals and pets may have been displaced from their homes.
  • Have rain ponchos, hardhats, gloves, and headlamp/flashlights ready if you have to venture out in the storm to remove trees from the house, etc. But it’s best to leave them until after the storm.
  • Never use a generator inside your home and always follow directions to use them away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow dangerous fumes into the house.
  • Boil water that may not be safe for at least a minute and let it cool before using. If you can’t boil it, eight drops (1/8th teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water will help to decontaminate water.
  • Don’t eat any previously refrigerated food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more. And cook and eat any food that is losing refrigeration as soon as possible.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area, pay close attention to evacuation orders and be ready to leave immediately. But do not attempt to drive in flooding water. Get to the top floor of your house.

The day the hurricane is coming in, We always go to my local pizza place. It always stays open until the hurricane is about an hour or two from being on top of us. We order two large pizzas and take them home. They’re great to have for the first day/night or night/day when you’re trying to not open the refrigerator door. And there’s never a bad time for pizza.

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