If you’ve joined us for our “Storm Ready” events, you know D&CO. encourages clients and partners to be proactive with their hurricane preparedness plans. We like building our supplies up month by month, so that if a named storm quickly approaches, we have little we need to rush out and get. These are our hurricane prep basics:
Long BEFORE there’s trouble in paradise…
A good gas can will be VERY hard to find once a storm is named. Buy a quality gas can now to have on hand. When choosing a gas can, walk through the steps of operating it. We have bought at least three in the pandemonium of an approaching hurricane that turned out to be worthless. If you can’t figure out how to open in, fill it, or gas doesn’t flow efficiently or easily it will be nothing but a headache (and potential mess or safety hazard) after the storm.
Pro Tip: Fill the gas can only when you need it. Gas doesn’t last, so don’t fill it and let it sit for months. Purchase only what you need when you need it.
This one can be a little tricky. We don’t want to have too many batteries on hand for too long or they may be drained right when we need them most. Invest in batteries with the power level indicator on the side, or a simple battery power tester and verify your power source is good to go before the lights go out. Light and heat are the nemesis of batteries. Store them indoors, in a cool, dry, dark place (like a closet or drawer) to ensure batteries last as long as possible. Modern rechargeable options have come a long way. We’ve found the rechargeable Ikea and Energizer systems work well.
Start recharging things in advance with a reliable surge protector power strip. A good extension cord also may come in handy.
Luckily, we have the wonders of Amazon reviews to help us find good products that actually work. Consider and research rechargeable items like personal fans, battery cells, batteries, flashlights, and even lightbulbs. All of these seemingly minor items will provide comfort should the power go out for a few hours or days.
A hurricane kit should have enough recently purchased canned goods, non-perishables, and water to last at least three days. (For people and pets.) Consume these items after hurricane season ends in November, or donate them to charity.
Hopefully you won’t ever need it, but we pack them in our kit (and have had to use them more times than we’d care to) just in case.
As a storm approaches…
Call the pharmacy and fill those prescriptions. Check and replenish first aid kits with bandaids, antibiotic cream, and even over the counter headache medicine. Some other items to consider having on hand: bug spray, calamine type lotion, sun block, and antihistamine, to name a few. Just try to think of what you would need if the power goes out and you’re forced to spend more time outdoors or with the windows open.
- Dispense gas into safe and approved gas containers only. Take only what you need. There’s no need to panic purchase excess because you are pre-prepared, after all.
- When we lose power we default to cooking on the grill, so we always make sure we have a fresh propane tank ready to go there too.
Wash and ready coolers. Freezing gallon freezer bags with water before the storm can work as make-shift ice packs until you are able to purchase bags of ice after the storm passes.
Pro Tip: If power is lost, keep the fridge and freezer closed to conserve the cold. Instead of endless fridge-gazing, set up a little cooler of commonly accessed items like drinks and snacks to use during the storm.
Charge your phones, radios, tablets, batteries, fans, light bulbs, flashlights, and anything else you will need to pass the time or keep you connected.
In addition to purchasing bottle water or whatever you prefer to drink (you can do this early, as water and beverages have a pretty good shelf life), most homes may need tap water for flushing the toilets. Keep it simple by filling a tub or bucket for various usage as the storm approaches.
If you have an area of your yard that tends to pool in regular storms, sandbags might be good to have on hand this storm season. Here in Orange County, there are always free sandbag pop-up spots for residents. Check on your local government site or local news channels for free sandbag opportunities and other helpful emergency information.
Central Florida emergency services information links below:
- Orange County (including current free sandbag pick up spots)
- Lake County
- Sumter County
For more ideas and tips on hurricane preparedness, check out our past article “Are You Storm Ready?”