This is a short list compiled of things that may not be on typical lists (THOSE ARE CRUCIAL TOO!) issued by the authorities.
It’s based off my experience and the experience of those close to me. Be patient, smart, and safe!! The mantra my girls grew up with was – better an over-prepared fool then an under-prepared fool.
1. Start running your ice maker now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space between freezer items as you can. REMEMBER – turn your freezer and refrigerator temps to a low setting and avoid opening if we lose power.
2. Freeze regular tap water for pets and drinking/cooking in freezer safe Tupperware type containers. This will help keep things cold and then you can use it as needed. REMEMBER to leave space for expansion. Fill your empty pitchers, milk and drink containers with water. Saves money and better for the environment. Consider purchasing the large 5+ gal water containers for future use. We have 2 that we use just for hurricanes.
3. Start using up your perishables.
4. Fill up ALL vehicles with gas. Check for oil and tire pressure. Fill any gas containers you may have. Store gas in a safe way!
5. Get plenty of cash. Remember, if we lose power you won’t be able to use ATMs and stores won’t be able to process credit cards.
6. Screen shot important docs and email to yourself. Take originals with you in plastic bags. Video the exterior and interior (including contents of closets and drawers) BEFORE the storm. Upload to a secure site. You’ll want to remember what you have but it will be hard.
7. Remember your pets and livestock. Have food, medicine, and vet/shot records in case you need to go to a shelter with them.
8. Review evacuation routes and start making evacuation plans. Remember that many of our inland areas suffer from flooding in hurricanes so going directly west may not be the best idea. Share your plans with family and friends (not social media – don’t invite intruders!!) so they know where you’re headed. Make a list of what to bring should you have to evacuate. The scramble to get out will be no time to try to remember what to bring. I’ve been known to pre-pack my car just in case.
9. Consider putting heirlooms and photos in plastic bins and place in a high location or safe room if you’re not taking them. Don’t forget that dishwashers and front load washers are water proof and may also be used to store items.
10. SECURE ALL firearms and ammunition properly.
11. Place old rags and towels on your windowsills. Even the best windows can experience leaking from wind driven rain. Damp towels are better than wet drywall and floors.
12. Shutter windows and secure outdoor items now. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get it done early and relax or help others then to wait until the day before. ESPECIALLY if you’re mandatory personnel or a first responder.
13. You should already have your hurricane kit ready (we keep ours ready in a large bin and check and resupply at the beginning of the season). Get non-perishables sooner rather than later. Shelves will empty out.
14. If you have a grill, stock up on propane or charcoal. Get propane for your camp stove. A French press makes lovely coffee…heat the water on your camp stove (OUTSIDE!).
15. Fill your tubs with water (test to make sure the stopper is water tight) for flushing water. People sometimes forget that even if we have power, flooding could contaminate water and/or the water company may have to turn the water off. We also fill 5 gallon buckets and keep one by each toilet for flushing.
16. Lower your pool water to prevent flooding from that.
17. Consider covering your furniture with plastic covers. It may save your furniture if there is water intrusion. Move furniture away from windows if you can.
18. If you depend on your garage door opener or a wireless lock for entry to your house, then make sure you have your keys. Also, if you evacuate, consider getting a combo lockbox (most hardware stores like Lowes will have them) for your keys and securing it to your house. This way friends can check on your house if you’re not able to (I am happy to check if I’m in town!!). No power means no entry!
19. Consider adding whistle(s) to your hurricane kit. Wear that whistle!! It will help you get found in an emergency. We also keep an ax in our kit in the event we have to make a way out of our house.
20. Solar chargers are great for your devices (juice them up prior to the storm!!). I knew of people who used solar landscape lights inside when the power went out. Do NOT burn candles inside. Dangerous and added heat.
21. Understand your insurance!! Does it cover fences and sheds? Do you have your policy number and claim contact?
22. As much as you may want to, avoid drinking during the event. You need to stay sharp and ready.
23. After the storm, you’ll need sturdy shoes, work gloves, bug spray, safety glasses, possible face masks (mold). Get it all in one place now.
24. If you think you'll need them, pre-fill sandbags and keep them ready to use. We have 2 sets of doors that tend to leak when we have sustained wind driven rain. We have sandbags ready to go to use when we're doing our preparation.
25. Your family and friends are going to want to know how you are but you need to conserve your cell phone and other devices’ battery power (although a solar charger may help). If possible, once an hour, change your greeting on your voicemail to give an update (date and time stamp it), set up an automatic text reply with the same information (date and time stamp it), and post a social media post. Then, turn off your devices and resist responding to everyone or answering your phone.