The first good rainstorm in two months is pelting the outside of my home right now, reminding me that hurricane season starts here tomorrow. I wrote about the experience of having Hurricane Irma roar over my home over here, and for the most part, we survived that disaster with minimal interruptions in our daily routine.
However, not everyone has that same amount of foresight, or doesn’t know where to start. There are plenty of resources out there from FEMA, the Red Cross and others, but in general, they all come down to the same things.
- Keep an eye on the weather. The National Hurricane Center and Mike’s Weather Page should become your new best friends from now until the middle of October.
- Bottled water doesn’t go bad. Buy some now, when nobody else is buying it.
- Buy canned goods and similar items now, enough for a couple of weeks for you and your family. Donate your supplies to a local food bank in November, right as the Thanksgiving food drives are happening, then buy them again in January. That way, you’ll always replenish your food stock, and you’ll do some good for the community as well.
- There is no such thing as too many lumens. Have at least one bright (300+ lumen) flashlight for everyone in your home, as well as two sets of spare batteries for each light. A big lantern that can light up a room is also a good idea.
- Know what you need before you need it. Does your house need hurricane shutters? Where are they? What’s your primary evacuation plan if you have to leave? Better to figure this out before you need to rely on it to save your life.
- Don’t forget your pets, especially if you plan to evacuate instead of ride it out. There will be no cages or pet carriers available in the days preceding landfall, and mail-order delivery service gets sketchy (or non-existent) when a hurricane is about to hit.
- Communication is life. The cell towers were all knocked out after Irma, as was the phone service and internet. Radio still worked, so get a wind-up radio for your home to keep up with what’s going on as the rain is coming down.
Most of all, relax and enjoy the wonders of living in the Sunshine State, especially if you’ve had the foresight to prepare for an emergency before the emergency actually happens. Keeping yourself safe means keeping yourself safe from all kinds of danger, natural or man-made.