Hello my fellow Americans!
Although I’ve been in Europe for the past two weeks I’ve been keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma forming in the Atlantic. I feel helpless here now that I won’t be returning because of the storm so I decided to put together a list full of tips and advice.
I have asked friends/family and done some research to find some preparation tips and tricks from people who’ve been through this type of situation. Thank you to everyone for the advice and let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed! (I’ve added a section on Swimming Pool Preparation which you will find at the bottom!!)
Preparing for Hurricanes Like A Pro
1. Gas up all your vehicles and fill up gas cans with extra gas. (VERY hard to find gas after bad storms) Also check tires and oil.
2. Purchase water/non-perishable food items. (Buy more than you think you need – a friend of mine that lived near Harvey said even once the storm passed the stores still havnt been restocked yet. So don’t buy just for the storm duration but for the time after that you may be without power or the ability to purchase food)
3. Be sure to put together all important documents (social security card, passport, birth certificates, etc.) and place them in a large ziplock bag to keep them dry. Also take picture of these documents and email them to yourself as a backup. (Bring documents with you if you are evacuating. Also bring important photo albums and sentimental items)
4. Board up your windows, yes it’s a lot of work but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Take evacuations and warnings from the weatherman seriously!! It is their job to warn and protect you.
6. If you have babies/young children it may be best to evacuate even for the smaller storms as the children will be extremely frightened and if you need medical attention it would be very hard to get it. Additionally, no power or AC with children is typically not a good mix.
7. Make hotel reservations ASAP and get out of town quickly to avoid last minute traffic.
8. Take pictures of your home and yard BEFORE the storm. This makes filing claims after the storm much easier because you can prove from the before/after pictures the damage and loss of property.
——If you do have damage to your home, cars, or business – file claims immediately!!
9. Fill up all bathtubs with water to use incase you lose power. (Drinking water ONLY for animals, to flush toilets, wash dishes, etc.)
10. If stores are out of water use Tupperware and any reusable bottles you may have to fill up with water.
11. Charge up reusable batteries for cellphones. (Important to be able to stay connected incase of Emergency and to let relatives know your safe)
12. Don’t leave broken tree limbs or any outdoor furniture lying around your yard as they can easily become projectiles. (If it can go inside put it inside) Additionally, I was told that the landscape garbage crew stops picking up debris 48 hours BEFORE the storm. So don’t cut your tree limbs right before the storm or you will be stuck with a huge pile of projectiles.
13. Start making ice packs in zip locks with ice from the freezer days before the storm. These are perfect to put in the cooler if the power goes out and it can also be used as drinking water.
14. The day of the storm put fridge and freezer on coolest settings so if the power goes out your food stays better longer.
15. Place all furniture (or as much as possible) on the 2nd story or as high as you can in case of flooding.
16. Purchase batteries and flashlights for each member of the family.
17. Prepare generators for AFTER the storm. (Do NOT turn on generators in your home – the carbon monoxide posioning will kill you. Keep it outside)
18. Make preparations for your pets. Be sure to purchase extra dog food and ensure collars are on tight with name tags incase they get away. Bring pets with you when you evacuate. (Try and get a copy of their vet records incase you need to bring them to a facility where you Evacuate to or if your staying with your pets at a shelter)
19. If you have babies stock up on diapers and formula/baby food. (Even if you are evacuating)
20. Make sure to get cash because if the power goes out most stores may be unable to accept credit. If your evacuating bring enough to get out of state with tolls/gas/etc. and for your hotel.
21. If you evacuate – share your plan with your relatives and friends so they know where you will be.
22. Place keepsakes and precious heirlooms and memories in plastic boxes as high up as possible if you are not going to take them with you.
23. Secure all of your firearms and ammuntion properly.
24. Get sandbags to put around doors outside to stop from flooding. (There are often places around emergency areas that offer this)
25. Check with local hurricane shelters now to see if they will accept you and your pets as they fill up VERY fast.
26. Fill all prescriptions you may need within the next month.
27. If you have Amazon Prime purchase cases of water and non-perishable items to be delivered right to your door. They will be delivered in 2 days so only do this if there is enough time. This helps to avoid those crowded grocery stores! (You can get 50% off Prime if you’re a student – sign up HERE)
28. Don’t wait to do all of this until the last day as you will run out of time and supplies will be gone!
29. After the storm be sure to stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately. Also be careful in flooded areas for down power lines as you could be electrocuted.
30. If you are evacuating call your bank and let them know you will be traveling so they don’t consider out-of- state charges fraud and freeze your account.
Stay informed, prepare yourselves, and be safe!
- Put photo’s in the dishwasher for safe keeping. (5×7 fit perfect on top rack)
- Use washing machine to store valuables as it’s waterproof.
SWIMMING POOL PREP:
(From excerpt in local paper by Bill Makielski, owner of Pool & Spa Perfect in Vero Beach, FL)
- Do NOT empty the pool under any circumstances. The water provides weight to hold sides and bottom in place. If your pool is properly equipped and surrounding areas drain well, leave the water level as is. If runoff could cause problems, lower the water by only a foot or two.
- Turn off electric power to pool equipment at the circuit breaker before the storm hits.
- Tightly cover, or disconnect and remove exposed electrical equipment, such as pump motors.
- For a 15,000 gallon pool, add a gallon of chlorine for every 2 inches of rain expected.
- Remove debris with leaf rakes and baggers.
- Have chemicals and supplies on hand before the storm; they could be hard to find afterward.