Hurricane Advice from a Sandy Survivor
Hurricane season has descended with terrible fury. First with Harvey and now Irma with more churning in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Most don’t think about the potential extreme weather conditions that keep many indoors for days, or even weeks. As a resident of New Jersey, when Hurricane Sandy hit, we were all unprepared and shocked that we were out of power for two weeks. No matter where you live, it is always important to be prepared and ready in the case of any emergency.
Here is some information on how you can be prepared, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
Items to have in your stockpile:
- Bottled water: Two to three gallons per person.
- Powdered or canned milk
- Canned fruit. Make sure you have a non-electric can opener.
- Granola bars or energy bars
- Toilet paper
- Baby wipes: Not just for the baby but for the rest of the family too.
- Batteries: Make sure they are the right size for your flashlights.
- Peanut butter: It is the best type of sandwich to make with no power.
- Extra propane: If you have a grill after a storm when the power is still out you can still cook on a grill but ONLY outside.
- Diapers even if you don’t have a baby: If you are stuck in a room or the power is out using a toilet may not be possible but diapers are made for just that.
- Garbage bags
- If you have family members on special diets make sure you have shelf stable food for them too.
- Keep a supply of cooked frozen meat in your freezer; you will be able to eat it after it defrosts if it is already cooked
- Your pet’s needs: Food, water, litter etc. If you have a dog get the training pads and have your dog use them when you can’t go outside.
- First aid kit/medicine: Make sure you have all the needed items for a first aid kit and a week’s supply of prescription medication.
Having a stockpile of food is not the only thing you need to worry about. There are other things you need to consider like your insurance policies and how to keep everyone safe in the event that a hurricane should hit where you live.
Important things to do:
- Create a “take box” filled with your important paperwork just in case you need to evacuate.
- Plan out a route; make sure all of your family knows what to do and where to go.
- Make sure your homeowners and renters insurance policies are up to date and have the proper amount of coverage. Better to have too much coverage then not enough.
- Make sure your vehicles are filled with gas.
- Learn how to turn off the gas and power to your house. You can call your gas and electric company and they can tell you what you need to do.
- If you do not have a generator or cannot afford one, buy a DC to AC adapter and a heavy duty extension cord. You will be able to use your vehicle as a generator and attach your in-home appliances like your refrigerator and a lamp to the car. Having extra gas in containers and a full tank of gas is necessary so be stock up on fuel.
- Have a battery-operated radio. You will want to stay updated on what is going on.
- Make sure you have cash on hand. You will be able to purchase items even if a store does not have credit/debit card abilities.
- Make sure you have activities for the kids: Coloring books, crayons, books, electronic games (and extra batteries for them). It would be stressful enough without kids who are bored asking for something to do.
- Make sure you have your kid’s favorite things like blankets and dolls readily available. No one wants to be looking in the dark for a child’s favorite blanket.
- Have a corded phone. Many people have the cordless phones that are great for walking around the house with, however they need electricity to run and a corded phone does not need it. The phones won’t be out just because the power is out too.
We all have important paperwork that if ruined would be very difficult to replace and it is important that we have it easily accessible.
How to protect your valuables:
- Put all pictures that are on your computer on an external hard drive and CDs. If your computer is plugged in when the storm hits you could lose your computer and everything in it.
- Put things like pictures and other items that could be damaged by water in plastic bags and up high and in cabinets. This will protect them from water if your house floods.
What to do if you know you are going to be hit by a hurricane:
If you are not in a place being evacuated, but the weather will still be nasty here are things to do to help yourself.
- If it is going to come where you are make sure you have a room in your house that is safe (no windows, no doors to the outside) that you and your family can go to.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows where to go in the house.
- Have food, radio, and all other needs in the room with you.
If you are told to evacuate, please find someone who will let you stay with them who is out of the main area that will be hit. Be prepared with a weeks’ worth the stuff when you leave and all of your important documents.
About the blogger:
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. Currently she serves as a Community Manager for USAA, writing about her experiences in deployment and military life. She has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.