There is such a unique feeling that comes with being a Florida resident. Maybe it’s the adrenaline, the excitement, a little bit of shock, and whirlwind of emotions. Feelings come in waves, like the angry sea ahead. One moment, we are laughing and shrugging it off. Then there are times when we get a bit nervous. Will we run out of gas and water? Will my home be safe? Am I in a flood zone? Do I have enough batteries?
The uncertainty of the storm is also an impending storm within ourself: the sky is always the bluest, with true Florida sunshine warming our backs while we cannot see what is coming for us. Rumors and guesses pour in like rain as we listen to the latest forecasts. The storm’s movement dances, teasing us and growing stronger.
The shelves dwindle as we run into our neighbors and wish each other luck. Tick tock, the clock counts down and the hurricane creeps closer. Businesses and homes board up their windows during the calm before the storm.
Whether you are a hurricane pro and Florida native or a storm newbie, preparation is very important. Even if the storm isn’t a direct hit, you never know if it will make a sudden and unpredictable turn. Even outer rain bands can cause damage and/or flooding. ALWAYS be prepared.
Hurricane Preparation Tips:
- Fill up your gas tank and keep it full. You never know if you may need to change plans and evacuate, or when gas will be available after the storm.
- Losing electricity is likely. If you don’t have a generator, it’s a good idea to eat the food in your freezer to reduce the amount of food that may go bad after days without power. Fill up the freezer with ice. Stock up on non perishable items and food items that can fit in a cooler.
- Stock up on water or fill containers with water. Water lines typically get shut off so have drinking water and water for cleaning, washing your hands, etc. You can fill the bathtub and washer with water as well to use for flushing the toilets. It doesn’t hurt to stock up on baby wipes to freshen up if you can’t shower.
- Be sure to have all your medications filled. You don’t want to run out or discover you are low when everything is closed and you are stuck inside or out of the area. This includes medication you may not take daily, like anti-diarrhea, aspirin and home remedies.
- Share your plan with friends and family so that people know where you will be. Cell towers don’t work well after a storm hits so making calls may not be an option for a moment, and without electricity your phone may be dead. Check on neighbors and elderly to see if anyone needs help.
- Don’t forget the pets! Make sure they have plenty of food as well.
- Get gallon size ziplock bags for important documents. This also comes in handy for keeping food from getting soggy as ice in the cooler melts.
- Get a battery operated radio to listen to updates. Make sure you have other essentials: toilet paper, paper plates, lighters, batteries, candles, bug spray, etc.
- Know your local resources: shelters, emergency management, local updates, resources.
- Have cash handy. Once again, without electricity there are no debit/credit card machines. When stores reopen they may be cash only.
- Do not run generators indoors
- If you will not be home, fill a cup of water and freeze it. Then, place a quarter on top. If it is at the bottom of the cup, that means you lost power and your food is bad.