What last minute preparation can you do as the storm is charging at you? Here are 10 easy and actionable ways to prepare for the impending hurricane so that you survive and thrive in the hurricane (or other natural disaster).
Full bathtubs and (clean) trash bins with water. This can be filtered for drinking with filtered pitchers or used for washing and bathing.
There will be plenty of water left from the hurricane, but it will be contaminated with debris and junk. If the main water source goes out the extra water can be used for washing and flushing toilets (if it is yellow, let it mellow and conserve flushing when possible).
Locate all of your ice coolers and waterproof storage bins to place valuables. Christmas and holiday decorations are usually stored in waterproof plastic bins and can be “repurposed” for valuables if you need extra storage.
The washing machine and dishwasher are extra waterproof storage for larger items. Top load washing machine can also double as refrigerator, just fill with ice and it has a build-in drain for melt-off.
Prepare your penny test before you lose electricity. Freeze a cup of water and place a penny on top. If the refrigerator loses power then you will know how much everything thawed by looking at how far down the penny drops. Penny just at the surface means that all of your food is safe. Evaluate your meat if the penny drops to the middle. Throw away everything if the penny drops to the bottom of the cup.
If gas stations are still open, fill up your car and approved fuel cans. Fill cars before the storm as gas may not be available after the storm passes. Most modern cars are equipped with antiphon devices so do not rely on your car as the only source of fuel.
Duct Tape Preparation
Tape up keyholes with duct tape to prevent water leaks and long term rust on the inside of the locks.
Duct tape along the bottom of external doors including around the seal of sliding glass doors as an extra barrier to the wind and water.
Locate your Safe Room
Identify and set up in the designated safe room where you will ride out the storm. This should be in the middle of the house, away from windows and skylights. Bathrooms are preferred for access to running water and safety in the bathtub. Bring all family members (including pets) into the safe room with extra food and water.
Remove Potential Projectiles
Bring in all patio furniture, shelves, lightweight pots, and anything that could turn into a flying object. Look at everything near and around your house as potential projectiles and find a way to reduce the risk of damage by changing locations or removing entirely from outside.
For larger objects that cannot be brought inside stack them together near the most sheltered part of your house. Secure with bike lock, rope, bungee cords, chain – whatever you have to prevent these from flying through unprotected windows resulting in a breach.
Locate the Nearest Mattress
In case the wind breaches your home or the roof rips off be ready to grab a nearby mattress to use for cover. Climb into the bathtub and hold the mattress over head to protect your family against falling and flying debris.
Assemble your First Aid Supplies
Locate all first aid supplies and assemble them in your safe room. Band aids, gauze, antiseptic, antiseptic wipes (baby wipes will work), duct tape, super glue, and paper towels make a quick & easy first aid kit. Be prepared to dry, clean, and bandage cuts and wounds, even if that means you use paper towels to dry and duct tape to seal. Super glue works great for small cuts and may be used in combination with duct tape. Large wounds can be sealed with duct tape to apply pressure and keep out infection until proper medical care is available.
Bug Out Bag (BOB)
Pack a backpack with essentials like passports, money, and other important documents in case you need to evacuate quickly. Seal passports and documents in resealable ziplock bags to stay dry. Stash a few protein bars or wrapped snacks for later. If there is room, pack a clean shirt and underwear for every member of the family (usually fits in a gallon ziplock bag).
Extra thanks to the Traveling Island Girl for her wisdom and tips. Read more of her adventures and surviving Hurricane Irma.
Bonus Tip – CASH
Part of your regular Hurricane (or any Disaster) Plan should include a stash of cash. Do not count on Banks to be open, or for stores to be able to process credit cards. Keep enough cash to buy supplies, fuel, food, and transportation.
Small denominations ($1, 5, 10) allows for greater negotiation. It is much easier to claim that you can only spend $30 when you have the exact amount, rather than trying to get change back from $20 bills. And when cash is really in short supply, it may be near impossible to get change back on $100 bills.
These 10+ tips will help protect your family and your home as disaster strikes. For a complete preparation plan, here is my Hurricane Preparation Checklist.