With Hurricane Harvey and the devastation he caused fresh in our mind, a new hurricane is about pound Florida and she’s not looking too nice. Caribbean islands have been flattened and flooded, and this monster is heading this way. Since we saw what one storm can do to a major US town, all of Florida has started panicking, making plans, and getting prepared for the worst.
I’ve been staring at Facebook and the news since this past Sunday, anxiously awaiting the impending arrival of this mean, old lady named Irma. With all exposure this storm is getting, I decided to compile a big list of some tips and tricks that I’ve gathered from my 29 years living in the Sunshine State, along with some I have seen on Facebook and other blogs. Besides your basics–water, non-perishable food items, flashlights, candles–here are some other suggestions to help your preparations out.
- At-home filter. If water is hard to come by, purchase a Brita or PUR system, filter your water at home and start bottling your own. I currently have 4 gallons of drinking water from the store, but I had an empty milk jug and will soon have an empty apple juice bottle and I’m filling those bad boys up with water from my Brita.
- Bag your own ice. Start (like, right now) bagging your own ice from your freezer. Put it in gallon bags and you’ll have ice at the ready if you need it.
- The Quarter Mug. If you’re evacuating, freeze a mug full of water, then stick a quarter on top of the ice. When you come home, check to see where the quarter is in the mug. If it’s on top, you never lost power. If it’s on the bottom, you lost power for quite awhile and need to throw out your freezer items and (possibly) your refrigerated items. If it’s stuck in the middle, that means it was out for some time but came back on–use your discretion when tossing items at this stage.
- Over-chlorinate your pool. For those with pools, you don’t need to drain your pool too much (because of what the water does underground to the walls of your pool if it’s not filled), but make sure you over shock and chlorinate it to prevent luckiness building up in your water and on the walls. Make sure you have lots of shock and chemicals for after the storm, too.
- Battery-powered chargers. If you can get your hands on a battery-powered phone charger, BUY IT. It could be a literal lifesaver.
- Busy box! For those with kids, create a busy box! Pack a box that is new for your kids, so having no power seems more fun rather than completely dreadful. Try not to pack something that makes a mess, because you don’t want to use more water than you needed. For example…
- I have a baking sheet I’ve sprayed chalkboard paint on so my son can use chalk to draw on it, as well as play with magnet letters and numbers to put on it.
- Coloring books and crayons
- Go on your Netflix account and download movies offline (not all movies have this capability) and/or try a YouTube Red account (free for the first two months) that way your kids can watch movies and videos with power on an iPad or phone. Use your power sparingly though!
- Update and protect paperwork. Make sure all your family paperwork is updated, in order, and in a safe location. Our homeowners insurance has recently been updated and I put the number of who I would need to call in my phone, just in case I need to make a claim.
- Video your belongings. Go around your house and the outside of it and video all your belongings for insurance purposes. Then email yourself those videos (or save to Google Drive, etc) that way you have a way to access them other than just on your phone.
- Use your dishwasher as a safe. I saw a tip that if you put valuables or pictures you don’t want destroyed in your dishwasher, there’s a really good chance that those items could be saved in a flood, since the dishwasher is sealed and waterproof, as well as if a home is damaged because the dishwasher is (typically) protected by cabinets that surround it. Now, I say there’s a chance because there were some comments on that post that said their dishwasher filled with water during a flood, but most comments were positive experiences. Again, use your discretion! Just don’t let your toddler push start.
- Homemade Puppy Potty Pad. For those with dogs and worried how they are going to use the bathroom when its blowing 80 mph winds in your backyard, go to Lower or Home Depot, get a plastic kiddie pool and a couple squares of sod, put the sod in the pool and then in your garage, and you have a safe place for the pups to use the bathroom. After the hurricane, dump the whole thing and call it a day!
- Fill your tub with water. If you fill your tub with water before the storm starts, then you’ll be able to use your toilets when the power goes out, and be able to clean up messes or wash clothes, if needed.
- Leave no laundry. If that’s even possible! I know as a mom, it’s very difficult to never have any laundry to clean, but if at all possible in this case, try to have all clean clothes and towels available. If the power is out for days, you’ll always have clean clothes ready, and if you have some flooding or need to go over to someone else’s place to clean up, you have fresh clean towels ready to be used.
- Know your zone. Look up your county zone map, locate your address and write down, save, or tattoo on your arm whichever zone you’re in. If your zone is all of a sudden called to evacuate, you won’t be rushed to figure out if that means you. I’m luckily not in a designated sone, so it would mean the storm would need to be a direct hit for me and my family to evacuate. Which leads me to…
- Fill your tank. My SUV had half a tank this morning, so I decided to fill ‘er up just in case we need to take off. We also filled our propane tank so we can use our grill as a cooking method if our power goes out.
These are just a handful of tips to use to prepare for this storm. But here is my big one…
Every single person around you right now (if you’re in the path of Irma) is going through the exact same thing. Everybody needs gas. Everybody needs water. Everybody is panicking and worried.
Be kind to each other and help one another. Think positively. But most importantly, pray that everything will be okay, as long as you keep your faith in the Lord.
Be safe and prepared and ready for worst, but pray for the best.
Are there any tips I missed that you’d like to share? Tell me in the comments!