I know, I know, we’re a couple of months in….it’s not like I’m just realizing this. It happens every year though, we all get worried for the first few days in June, and when we see no activity out there in the ocean we become complacent. “Yup, this’ll be another year with no hurricane’s!” Well, as great as that would be….to just know what the season will be like based on a week or two of inactivity, you never know. And with hurricanes….even when you think you know, you don’t.
Which brings me to this post. The bulk of it (if you keep reading) was written a bit less than a year ago. I took it down because I got paranoid, but I figured now’s a good time to repost. There is no better time to prepare for a hurricane than BEFORE there is any news of one. Why? Easy…
1. You’re calm and collected. No panic factored in.
2. Your neighbors are calm. Meaning you’ll go to the grocery store and actually find food there. (It’s a horrible feeling to get there and find the water and tuna shelves wiped CLEAN.)
3. You have more time to shop for good prices. (You won’t have to settle for the first – and only – supplies you find.)
4. You can spread out the cost over several trips, which is probably better for your budget.
5. If you forget something, you can always go back. If the hurricane is due any minute, you don’t always have that luxury.
So, onto the post….If you flash back to my state of mind when I was writing this, we were faced with the possibility of being hit by a hurricane. If you don’t live in the danger zone…..well, lucky you. If you DO, you definitely need to get yourself prepared. You’ll memorize this after a few seasons. You’ll also be glad to have something you don’t need to worry about. The “beauty” of hurricanes is that you never know what is going to happen. You may get by with no scratches during a category 2 or 3 hurricane, yet get extensive damage with just a Tropical Storm (true story).
So here was my original list of things to keep in mind while preparing for a hurricane:
-CASH. Its important to remember that when the power goes out….ALL power could go out. That means your plastic is USELESS! Stop by an ATM and get cash. This gives the term “emergency fund” a whole new meaning for me. I’m thinking $100 is a good amount to keep on hand? Is that too little?
-FOOD. No refrigerator, no stove. That means you’ll need food you don’t have to cook (and I don’t mean McDonalds, TacoBell, etc! lol). This means tuna, canned chicken or salmon, vienna sausages (eww), even spam if you need to. Bread to make sandwiches. This is where it gets kind of expensive since you need to have plenty for everyone. Don’t forget that if you lose power you’ll loose the food in your fridge, and probably some from your freezer. I believe their recommendation is enough food for 3 days. (Oh, one recommendation is to stuff your freezer and fridge with crumpled newspapers before the power goes out. This supposedly keeps the stuff in there colder longer when the power goes out. Unless its just a myth….if so, please correct me. hehe.)
-WATER. They say you need a gallon of water per person per day. (Did I recall that correctly?) I don’t remember us ever stocking that much, but on their suggestion of two weeks that would be 42 gallons for three people. (Is it just me, or is that a lot?!!)
-CHARCOAL or gas for your grill! When [the last big hurricane] came and most of the city was out of power the grocery stores had GREAT sales on meat and chicken!! Sounds gross, but my dad made sure he didn’t buy any spoiled food (he knows about that kinda stuff). The catch was we had to cook and eat it all fairly quickly since there was no fridge or freezer. As a kid it was a heck of a lot of fun times. Plus if you have any food in your freezer you’ll need a way to cook it.
-GAS. For the cars. The problem is if we lose power most of the gas stations won’t be able to sell any to us! Nowadays a good number of them have generators, but with scarcity the price might go up or they could sell out. (And trust me, they always do….the day before a hurricane all you can find is premium gas!)
-LAUNDRY. Do all your laundry before a hurricane hits! I sound like a broken record…but there is a possibility your power will be out. So you won’t be able to wash clothes, and I’m sure you’ll be sweating since you wont’ have AC. Even water isn’t guaranteed. So make sure you have clean clothes before the hurricane strikes.
-A CORDED PHONE. You know, the opposite of a cordless phone. Those old-fashioned contraptions with a string that attaches to the wall? (Its amazing how many kids have never seen one.) Anyway, run over to Walmart and grab one for $7 before they sell out. No power = no phone if you have a cordless phone! (Trust me, after one hurricane my parents were THE ONLY ONES in the family (out of 30+ people) that had a functioning phone. The only reason they had it was because I left it with them when I left for school. They learned a quick lesson.)
Of course, this list doesn’t including any safeguarding for your home. That depends on what kind of house you live in, and you DEFINITELY need to plan that ahead of time. (Also, note how there are only TWO things on that list that you can’t do in advance: laundry, and gas for the car. You have no excuses! hehe)
What I’ve found is that most people don’t bother to think about hurricanes until one is at their doorstep. Sure, you might’ve dodged one or two last year, or maybe you did get “hit”….but nothing happened. DON’T become complacent and think that nothing will happen this year. LISTEN to the weather man…BE PREPARED! You’ll be a little more sane when the moment of truth comes, and it sure will be easier on your wallet if you do it all with time to spare.
And that completes my hurricane rant. =] I hope none of us will need it this year.