Prepping for a Hurricane

If you live in a hurricane prone area, every May and June, you are urged to prep for the upcoming Hurricane Season. I’d like to share with you my top ____ must haves for Hurricane Prep.

I’ve been through 4 very rough hurricanes. Three of which occurred one after another in 2004 (Charley, Frances, and Jean). This past hurricane season, we were “visited” by Irma.

I’ve been joking for years that I’m a would-be doomsday prepper, but Irma hitting Florida was a wake up call for me. We were very blessed with the minimal damage our property received, but I had a completely different experience with this hurricane vs. the three in 2004.

In 2004, I was a Junior in high school. My dad had purchased a generator 3 months prior to the hurricanes hitting for a job site that didn’t have power. We were connected to City Water. My cell phone service provider was Nextel, which all the Emergency Response crews had. So we had the ability to plug in the microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, and charge our phones. We still had running water. And because my cell service was the one all the Emergency Response crews were using, I never lost cell service.

September 2017, my husband and I own our own home. We hadn’t purchased a generator yet. We have a well, that requires power to run. My cell service provider now is AT&T…things went quite differently for me this time. I can deal with no A.C. a lot better than some people. I was more worried about my fridge and chest freezer. I could walk down to my in-laws to charge my cell phone. Not having running water did suck. We do have a pool, so I could use pool water to flush the toilets. Also we could use the pool to rinse in and take “Florida baths.” Not being able to call or text my mom to tell her I was okay was probably the most difficult part of the whole experience for me.

Anyways, spending the day after Irma had done her damage, cleaning up and figuring out the next step, was eye-opening and I started making a mental list of stuff to help prepare for the next hurricane season.

1. Candles/Lanterns/Flashlights

We were without power for only 28 hours, not too bad really, but once the sun goes down, the house gets very dark. I seriously thought I had more candles than I had. NOPE! Flashlights are great, but candles are also acceptable. Especially those tall, 8 inch, sanctuary candles from the Dollar Tree that burn for 80 hours. *DO NOT LEAVE BURNING CANDLES UNATTENDED*

2. Easy snacks, food, and bottled water.

My husband and I joke about how peanut butter and Chef Boyardee always go on sale at the beginning of hurricane season, but they are great things to have in the pantry if the power goes out. Peanut butter can be eaten straight from the jar. Chef Boyardee can be eaten cold or warmed on the grill. Another staple would be Pop-Tarts. Empty calories and comfort food. We didn’t lose anything in our freezers (very well insulated), but not really thinking ahead was a mistake. Bottled water is an obvious need, especially if you live on a well and the pump doesn’t work without power (and you have no hand pump) or if city water goes on a boil water notice.

Yes, we had fresh veges and fruit, and bread and peanut butter, BUT it’s not the same as having Little Debbie ® snack cakes and potato chips…Calories don’t count during crisis mode, right?

3. Generator and several full gas cans

Find some money in the budget and buy the damn generator. It’ll save you having to throw out ruined food and you can plug a fan in to stand in front of. Some insurance companies will reimburse for lost food if the power’s out for long enough. I don’t want to contemplate having to deal with that. I’d rather be proactive and try not to lose food.

4. Battery-powered or crank radio

In talking to a friend of mine, who is in no way a prepper, but she likes being prepared, she mentioned purchasing a hand-crank radio was going into the budget for next hurricane season. (We’d gone through Irma together.) And she’s right.

5. Mindset

Mindset is more important than you think it is. You can be physically prepared (gas, generator, bottled water, candles, flashlights, etc.), but if you’re not mentally prepared nothing will calm your nerves.

I’ve been through 4 hurricanes in my life. Three of them were back to back in 2004 (Charlie, Frances, and Jean), and then Irma in 2017. And let me tell you, they were completely different experiences. Re-read the beginning of this post if you’ve forgotten.

6. Books, board games, decks of cards

You’re going to need something to keep yourself entertained if the power goes out. We’re so addicted to our smartphones, that we risk running the battery down on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. without a way to charge our phones. Also if the power’s out, so is the wifi, genius.

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2 Responses to Prepping for a Hurricane

  1. Claire Miller says:

    My list for hurricane season is a little different than yours, because I live in an apartment building on the 10th floor.

    My #1 priority is going to be temporary shutters for the east windows. We spent hours trying to keep the water from pouring through the windows during Irma. Ideally, the landlord would fix them, but if not, I can do something.

    Other priorities
    *fix charging port for cell phone (I currently need to charge off a wireless charger, which does not work with backup batteries)
    *food that does not need to be cooked. I had enough camp food that we were ok, but needing to cook while stressed out was really hard.
    *paper plates and plastic utensils. Doing dishes while needing to boil water was awful.
    * another collapsible jerry can or a tub liner for more water. We were on city water, but we only had enough water for drinking in storage.
    * Duct tape for windows (for the seams! we had a lot of water blow in)
    * More battery and solar fans/lights

    Landlord problems: Since we rent, I can’t do some of the things I would like to do to the house. But I can pester the landlord.
    *Having the hurricane shutters fixed on the west side of the house.
    *Following up on new windows for the west bedroom.
    *Ask for permission to install the temporary shutters if a storm is coming.

    • caendicott says:

      Thanks for your input, Claire! Yes, hurricane prep can vary depending on where you live. Good luck with the landlord!

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