Home Hack

Hurricane Prep

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…

Gas Can

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.

Batteries

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.

Surge Protector

Start recharging things in advance with a reliable surge protector power strip. A good extension cord also may come in handy.

Rechargeable Accessories

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.

Canned Goods

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.

Poncho

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…

Medication

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.

Gas

  • 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.

Coolers

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 It!

Charge your phones, radios, tablets, batteries, fans, light bulbs, flashlights, and anything else you will need to pass the time or keep you connected.

Water

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.

Sand Bags

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:

For more ideas and tips on hurricane preparedness, check out our past article “Are You Storm Ready?”

 

Home Hack

Are you STORM READY?

Florida is prime storm territory and being prepared can make all the difference. Here are some ideas to help you with your hurricane preparedness.

When hurricane season begins (even though there may be no named storms) part of “being prepared” means creating an emergency supply inventory. There are lots of items you can gather or purchase before there is a threat. Think about the things that are not easy to find when there IS an actual storm approaching. Items include things like canned and packaged non perishable foods, batteries, flashlights, and any other high demand items that are snapped up as soon as the spaghetti models start showing up on the news. Start early and you’ll have no problem creating your emergency inventory.

Found on Amazon

Food: Canned and packaged non-perishable food items should make up the bulk of your emergency food supply. The best part is, if canned goods are not your thing in everyday life, you can donate the goods after hurricane season when many organizations do food drives. We found these “emergency food supply kits” on Amazon, and have seen versions available at stores like Walmart too.

Pro Tip: Paper plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery are also a great thing to have in your emergency supply for easy clean up during a long power outage.

Water: In general, if you drink soda, have soda. If you drink tea, make tea. But you will still want to have some plain drinking water on hand for your emergency supply. If there is a water pressure loss or boil advisory during a power outage, you’ll need safe water for making food, brushing teeth, drinking, pets, etc. We read it’s recommended to have one gallon of water per person for every day, and most places recommend at least a 3-day supply.

PRO TIP: 5 gallon water bottles make it easier to store a water supply for family-sized needs.

When it comes to non-perishable and storm-friendly foods, there’s a lot more than Spam to choose from these days. But yeah, there’s still Spam. If you have a grill, camping recipes are a great source for better-than-beans-in-a-can hurricane cuisine.

STORM-READY:

Print out important contacts – Your phones may not work in the storm. Your phones may get damaged or you may lose power and have no way to charge them. Print or write out any contact information for family, friends, doctors, veterinarians, banks, etc. or other information you may need a hard copy of.

Refill prescriptions – Storm damage can effect supply times. If a storm is approaching, get any low/necessary prescriptions filled.

Fill the tank – Fill the car, but please NEVER fill any unapproved gas containers.

Charge the phones… and the laptops, the tablets, the headphones, the power cells, etc.

Games and activities – Waiting out the storm and being without power can be long and boring. Board games, cards, puzzles, and crafts are ways to pass the time with no electricity required.

Don’t forget the pets – Food, water, meds, snacks, and know where your nearest pet-friendly emergency shelter is.

Freeze some water – Freezing a few gallon bags of water can help keep the fridge cool or be used in a cooler should you lose power.

When gathering supplies take what you need, but remember there are others in need too.

Wishing you an uneventful, safe, and Storm Ready hurricane season!