So many of you dear readers are in the lines of the approaching hurricane. Those of you that are not are facing the possibility of one of the many storms coming to life in the surrounding seas heading your way. Everyone else… Odds are you are watching, praying, as friends and family prepare for the storms. I have been in both the direct line of the storms and the one watching on in horror. Here are some simple tips to prepare for a hurricane. If you don’t need them share this with someone that does. If you have kids snag this hurricane unit study to make the experience educational and keep them occupied.
Power for during and after a hurricane
One of the biggest adjustment a hurricane can force on you is being without power. It sucks, it’s hard, and you are lucky to have some sort of warning. With warning, you can make choices that will make it easier to care for your family by preparing now.
Charge all devices that can be used for light or power. Old cell phones make great flashlights that are easy to charge with other devices. A charged laptop can be turned on and left closed to make a great phone charger that can charge multiple phones at once many times over. If you have portable chargers for your phone be sure to charge those now as well.
If you do not have flashlights and batteries on hand well before the storms come your way getting them can be difficult. If a warning has not hit your area yet stock up now while you can. I love to keep a weather radio that has a flashlight and can be crank powered on hand. These can even charge your phone while giving you light and a way to stay on top of storm updates. Put kids to work cranking it once in a while to help keep hands busy and place in a window when the sun comes up to charge.
If you have a generator getting gas can be difficult for a long time. Stock up before the rush of people looking for gas with the storm hits and store it. Use your generator sparingly if you believe power could be out for a long time as it could be days, even weeks before gas is easy to come by again.
Preparing water for a hurricane.
We all know water is vital to life and when a hurricane is coming it is one of the first things to clear from store shelves. Is you have managed to get a stock of water your best bet is to try and keep it as long as possible. Sealed water bottles will last longer than other stored water so use them last.
fill everything from old soda bottles to trash cans. Leave nothing every trash can, bin, bottle, and tub with water. The ability to use this water to flush toilets can help keep your home sanitary and odors under control. A waterBOB for bathtubs is a great way to store large amounts of potable water. Even the washing machine can be filled and the lid left open so it will not run and drain. This can be used for washing up.
I remember during the big blackout in middle school the mom I was babysitting for called and instructed me to fill everything I could as we had no idea how long we would be without power. I followed her instructions blindly and learned a valuable lesson that has helped keep my family comfortable in storms and power outages for years.
Fill cups and glasses with water and cover the tops to keep dust out. drink these first saving the water bottles for last. Store unsealed cups and bowls in the refrigerator to use after you run out of covered cups on the counter saving the sealed containers for last.
Drink plenty of water before the storm hit so you will be hydrated to start with. Avoid eating large amounts of salt and sugar that can dehydrate and cause you to blow through your drinking water quickly.
Food for during and after a hurricane
When it comes to vital things to prepare for food is at the top of the list. Not only is food vital for life it is also vital to help keep you strong and healthy during recovery from the storm. Hurricane can cause massive amounts of damage and take days or even weeks to fully recover from. To make it easier you need to ensure your families food needs are met.
Before a hurricane, you will notice that bread, sandwich fixings, and canned goods fly off the shelves as long lines take over stores. If you already have a well-stocked pantry this won’t be a big deal for you. If you waited to prep and store shelves are empty you will need to think outside the box.
Go through the refrigerator and cook anything you can. Meats cooked can be used first without having to open the freezer giving frozen foods a chance to survive. hard boiled eggs make a great high proteins snack or addition to creating a balanced meal. Before the storm hits boil the eggs and put them in the refrigerator. They will last a couple days in the fridge.
Toss out food that is past its prime or won’t last long without power. They are likely to take on odors that can contaminate other foods and leave your home unpleasant quickly. Fill freezer bags and shove into gaps in the freezer. Use water bottles to fill in larger gaps. This will help keep your frozen foods frozen for as long as possible. Turn your fridge and freezer down as low as they will go after prepping it to give it an advantage.
Use a cooler for stuff you will need the first day allowing you to keep the fridge and freezer shut and the food preserved longer. Tying them shut is a good way to keep family members from entering the fridge and freezer. Or like in my case when the power went out last month opening to cool off, or to grab something and leaving them wide open.
Should power be out for several days you can cook up the food in the freezer after you run out of regurgitated foods to keep them from going bad. The cold water bottles that had been frozen will become a welcome treat.
Stock charcoal in a dry place or an extra take or two of propane if you have a gas grill. A grill can be used for everything from cooking meats, to making coffee, heating water for cooking and cleaning, you can even bake in your grill.
Don’t forget to stock extra food and water for your pets. They will often want to eat more during the stress after the storm even if they stop eating during the approaching storm and as it is over you.
Preparing your home for a hurricane
While preparing your home for a hurricane the outside is often the focus with placing flood barriers and boarding up windows often we overlook the importance of preparing the inside of the house for the storms.
Wash all dirty clothes and bedding. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C and summer temperatures roar on. You will not want to need an item and find it dirty. Even give extra blankets a wash as you prepare. They can be great for helping insulate windows from the heat or making spare beds for people that show up in need.
Empty out all trash from your home. Empty and wash trash cans then fill with water. Empty and wash kitty littler boxes so you are starting fresh.
Give your bathroom and kitchen a full scrub down and disinfect. This allows you to start out with a clean odor free environment. These two rooms trap the most odors but also are the most common rooms for germs to make family members sick. These cleaner these areas are when you start your storm prep the better. Make sure all of your dishes are nice and clean before the storm rolls in.
Give all living areas a good cleaning. Check under furniture for food a kid may have shoved that will smell and attract bugs when it gets hot out. Give floors a good vacuum and make sure you have a good stiff broom for cleaning floors when power is out. A stiff broom works best on carpets.
Rearrange the house so that you have clear walkways through the house. this will help for getting around in the dark or if you need to get out quickly in an emergency. Plan you use the safest rooms of the house and block the rest off during the storm. This is the perfect time to have a camp out in the living room with the kids.
Prepare your emergency basics before the hurricane
When preparing for a hurricane you need to focus on being prepared for everyday needs. Stokling your emergency kit for the entire family including your baby and pets is vital. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Use ziplock bags to keep documents dry. Make sure you have cash on hand for transactions while digital systems are down.
Refill medications early ahead of the storm. You may have to call your doctor or insurance companies to make it happen but this could be a lifesaving decision for medication dependent individuals.
Clean out the yard of anythign that can fly. Tye down trash cans and any furniture that you can not bring in. Pick up stick and trim loose branches.
Gather your basics like candles, matches,, flashlights, and batteries you have running around the house. All of these will be useful but only what you can find when you need it. Send kids off to search for these items while you work on harder preps.
Before the storm bathe everyone and unplug devices or play them on a surge protector. This will keep your items from being ruined should the power surge during or after the storms.
Gather distractions for children. Toys, coloring books and board games that do not require power will be a lifesaver through the storm and int eh day following should you lose power.
Get records of items in your home before the storm to make filing claims with your insurance company easier. Photos or video work best. Place receipts for high-value items in a safe waterproof place.