There is a hurricane on a direct course for your island.
The store shelves are empty and you think you’ve done all you can do to prepare thus far, but you worry you’ve missed something essential. Don’t panic.
Here are 9 Proven Last Minute Tips that you can do to secure your home and family just before the outer bands hit.
1. Capitalize On Additional Water Storage Options
Fill up any bathtubs and (clean) trash bins with water. This can be used later for drinking with filtered pitchers or used for washing and bathing.
Yes, there will be plenty of water left from the hurricane, but it will be contaminated with debris and junk. If your main water source goes out, the extra water can also be used for flushing toilets. (Island conservation tip: If it’s yellow, let it mellow and only flush when absolutely necessary.)
2. Create Waterproof Storage For Your Valuables
Locate all of your extra ice coolers and waterproof storage bins. Think outside the box – things like Christmas decorations and out of season clothing are usually stored in waterproof plastic bins that can be repurposed for your valuables in this emergency situation.
The washing machine and dishwasher are extra waterproof storage options for larger items. A top loading washing machine can also double as a food cooler – just fill it with ice, as it has a built-in drain for melt-off. Just to give you an idea size-wise: the entirety of my wine fridge fits comfortably in my washing machine with ample ice, so I can pace my wine consumption throughout the entire storm. Non-essential? Depends on who’s asking…
3. Set Up The Penny Test
Every rock dweller should already have a frozen cup of water with a penny (or button, pebble, bottle cap, or similarly sized item) placed on top of the frozen surface. The penny provides a visual cue of what happened to the food in your freezer. Anytime the power goes out, you will know how much everything has thawed by looking at how far down the penny drops. The farther the penny drops, the more food is ruined. After both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we took preventative measures and cooked everything from our freezer. Too much food? Share with the neighbors!
4. Assemble Your First Aid Supplies
Locate all first aid supplies and anything that could be used for quick medical care. Channel your inner MacGyver when gathering supplies – you may need to get creative before this bitch is over! Band aids, gauze, cleansing wipes, duct tape, super glue, and paper towels make a quick & easy first aid kit. Be prepared to dry, clean, and bandage cuts and wounds, even if that means you use paper towels to dry and duct tape to seal. Super glue works great for small cuts. Large wounds can be sealed with duct tape to apply pressure and keep out infection until proper medical care is available.
5. Prep A Bug Out Bag (BOB)
Another hurricane essential is the versatile Bug Out Bag. Pack a backpack (bonus points if you’re able to use a marine grade dry bag) with your life essentials such as passports, money, medications (or a list of), and other important documents in case you need to evacuate quickly. Secure passports and documents in resealable ziplock bags to keep them extra dry. If there is room, pack a clean shirt and underwear for every member of the family.
6. Stock Up On Fuel
If gas stations are still open and you haven’t done this already, fill up your car and any approved fuel cans. Filling cars up before the storm is important because gas may not be available after the storm passes. Most modern cars are equipped with anti-siphon devices, so do not rely on your car as your only source of fuel. Golf carts and scooters are much easier to siphon gas out of even if they are damaged in a storm. A couple feet of plastic tubing as a make-shift siphon makes the transfer easier, if not entirely tasty. Yuck!
7. Duct Tape Your Doors
Tape up keyholes with duct tape to prevent saltwater from getting inside and rusting the locks.
8. Locate Your Safe Room
Identify and set yourselves up in a designated safe room where you will ride out the storm. If possible, this should be in the middle of the house, away from windows and skylights. Bathrooms are preferred for access to running water and safety in the bathtub. Bring all family members (including pets) into the safe room with extra food and water.
9. Locate The Nearest Mattress
In case the wind breaches your home or the roof rips off, be ready to grab a nearby mattress to use for cover. Climb into the bathtub and hold the mattress overhead to protect your family against falling and flying debris.
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Experiencing a hurricane firsthand is something no one is ever quite prepared for, though doing your best to set yourself up for success can be invaluable to your mental and physical well-being.
To those of you who have been through a hurricane, what else would you add to this last minute prep list? Add your tips in the comments below!