A hurricane warning means the storm is imminent, and will occur in the next several hours. Of course, before a warning is issued, a hurricane watch is in effect. During this time, people generally prepare by going to the store and stocking up on supplies. However, hurricane supplies are not the only thing to consider when a bad storm threatens. There are other things to take care of that will help your family survive a hurricane and will make life a lot more comfortable.
Keep Hurricane Supplies in a Central Location
If a hurricane is expected to make landfall in the next several hours and you already have hurricane supplies, the first thing to do is to gather them together. You’ll want to store them in a plastic, water resistant tote and keep them in the room you’ll be in while the hurricane passes. The best room to ride out a hurricane is typically a windowless room in the center of the house. This could be a bathroom, a walk-in closet in the center of the home, a laundry room or even a hallway. The last thing you want to do during a hurricane is be fumbling around for supplies you may need. If the hurricane is moving slowly, you could be spending several hours in your ‘hurricane room’. Make sure there are small comforts such as pillows, portable devices like mp3 players,snacks, and games/crosswords etc to occupy the time.
Also, clean and make sure laundry is done. This may sound silly, but during hurricane Charley, our family was without power for over 9 days. It was very comforting knowing we had clean clothes and a clean house — there was no electricity for laundry, vacuuming, dishwasher etc.
Documents and Money
The other thing to do is gather all important documents together and store them in a padded envelope inside a large Ziploc bag. Alternatively, they can be placed in a waterproof container such as a Tupperware casserole container. Keep them with hurricane supplies in the event of evacuation. Go to the ATM and take out cash. You should have enough cash for all your basic needs for a week. In the event a hurricane knocks out power and does a lot of damage, some stores will be closed and some will only operate with cash.
Fill the car or cars up with gas before a hurricane. If you have to evacuate, or if pumps aren’t working due to power outages, you’ll have enough gas to last until the dust settles.
During the hurricanes of 2004, we had to go to public places that had power to charge our cell phones. Thankfully, businesses were kind about letting people do that, but we couldn’t charge our phones for the first couple days due to a curfew and state of emergency. Charge laptops and cell phones before a hurricane, so they will have full power in the event of a power outage.
If a hurricane is imminent, the last thing people tend to think about is bubble baths. However, if the power is out for days, the hot shower you take may be the last one until power is restored. No electricity=no hot water. Before a hurricane comes, make sure you’re clean.
Fill Bathtubs and Make Ice
Conserve your drinking water by filling up bathtubs. The water can be used for flushing toilets and hygiene purposes. If you have an ice maker, make as much ice as possible to fill your freezer. This should be done as soon as the hurricane warning is issued. Ice was incredibly difficult to find the first couple days after hurricane Charley. Purchase extra if you can.
Protect Important Items
Store valuable items up high in case of a flood and cover with plastic in case of roof leaks. A cheap waterproof cover is plastic drop cloths or dollar store table cloths. This will protect them temporarily until the roof repairs after the hurricane.
Finally, have a plan. If evacuations are recommended, consider going to your local hurricane shelter. If not, have the phone number on hand in case electricity is out for several days. Above all, be safe.