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As my previous home state Florida prepares for the biggest hurricane yet, I wanted to share ten hurricane tips you need to know to prepare for an upcoming hurricane. Hopefully, everyone who needs this information, already knows it and hope everyone else can gain some insight before they ever need to know.
- Water. You don’t have to get bottled water. Everyone panics and hoards water. You can store water in pitchers, empty gallon jugs, Ziplock bags and other containers for drinking. You will need extra water to flush toilets. Fill up your bathtubs, trash cans, and buckets. The water doesn’t have to be clean for flushing.
- Prepare your freezer. Fill some of the ziplock bags halfway and freeze. The frozen water will help keep your food frozen longer and will also give you more drinking water as it thaws should you lose electricity. Get a clear glass and fill it almost full with water. Once frozen, place a coin on top. As the ice melts, the coin will start to sink. When power is restored, it will freeze where it stopped and you can judge how long your food was thawing.
- Secure your belongings. Go outside. SECURE EVERYTHING. We had an above ground pool that was half full that completely got folded in on itself and then the frame around it was twisted and was carried down the the street. And that was in a tropical storm. Remember whatever is not secure, can become the very thing that can blow through your car window, or God forbid, your home window.
- Gather your important things. I keep important papers and documents in a metal box. In fact, I saw a suggestion to take important things (even photo albums!) and place them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is like a safe. I have all of my digital photos backed up on an external drive. If I need to grab and go somewhere, it’s easy to just grab that.
- Know where your prescriptions are and first aid kit. Be prepared. Make sure you are not almost out of a prescription. If you have power outages for a week or more, make sure you have enough medicine to last.
- Flashlights and batteries. My husband recommends this quad lantern. It’s great because if someone needs to leave the group, just pull off one side and go do their business, and when they return, connect it back for one big bright lantern. It’s four small bright lanterns or connect as many to make one bigger one.
- Get a weather radio. I know, I know. Everyone uses cell phones now. But guess what? If the towers are down, you have no cell service! When purchasing a weather radio, make sure you have options to run it. Remember, you probably won’t have electricity.
- Protect your home. Hopefully, you properly insured your home before now. What I’m talking about is when your town offers sand bags, go get them! If they are being offered, it’s because they will be needed. Get plywood and board up your windows. If your neighbor doesn’t secure their belongings, you don’t want to be showered by glass from a shattered window caused by a flying tricycle!
- Charge up external power supplies. Whether you have the small power supply for cell phone or the larger battery boxes, be sure everything is fully charged.
- Stay informed. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ONLINE. People panic in a state of emergency. Well-meaning friends and family will share every bit of information they find. If they are not in your county, they do not know the traffic conditions there. They will not be the source of information to tell you where there is still gas. Your county should issue emergency info lines. Be sure you sign up for text alerts. FL511 has an app and website with tons of relevant information, especially traffic updates.
Most importantly, if you are told to evacuate, evacuate. Be safe. Keep your wits about you and don’t panic. If you evacuate, be sure you take food, blankets, gas can (stored outside of the car!), a physical map, and a flare with you. If you have a baby, be sure you have more diapers and wipes than you think you will need. Expect delays. Don’t speed. Remember the golden rule because you might be the next person that needs to receive help so give it when you can.