Every year, Florida residents hear the standard basics of hurricane preparedness --“fill up your gas tank,” “buy batteries,” or “get cash from the ATM.” Below are the lesser known, yet important hacks to prepare for a hurricane:
Hand sanitizer & baby wipes: Imagine no running water, no A/C and 90+ degrees outside. Need we say more? If you have no running water, it’s the best way to wash your hands and surfaces. Keep them in the kitchen and in every bathroom.
Gasoline additive: When filling up gas cans for generators, be sure to include the necessary additive so the gas doesn’t go bad. Yes, gas goes bad sitting in gas cans.
Peanut butter & jerky: Forget the jelly. Non-perishable proteins are hard to find. Grab a few jars of peanut butter and bags of jerky, but no need to eat them together!
Cold brew coffee: When the power is out, cold brew is the easiest way to get your caffeine fix in the morning. Big bottles are usually available at your local grocery store or Target.
Frozen jugs: Fill empty plastic jugs, Tupperware containers or Ziplock bags with tap water and store in your freezer. They can serve as ice packs to keep your freezer cold and then become your drinking water. Be sure to leave space in the containers for expansion in the freezer.
Paper plates & cups: If you lose running water, these are essential to bypass the pile-up of dirty dishes.
Lysol or Clorox wipes: It’s the best way to clean surfaces if there’s no running water.
Chainsaw: Make sure you have fuel. If you don’t have a chainsaw, quickly make friends with someone who does and keep their phone number handy.
Battery-operated candles & solar powered garden lights: Put these lights in the bathrooms, on nightstands and everywhere else to remove the risk of fire that regular candles pose. If you use solar lights, just put them in the yard during daylight hours to recharge them daily until your electricity is back.
External phone batteries: We can’t imagine you’ll forget, but remember to charge all of your external phone batteries.
Alerts: Sign up for your county’s emergency push-alerts to be texted to your phone. That way when power is out, you’re still in the loop.
Be a shutterbug: Take photos of the interior and exterior of your home for insurance purposes. Also snap a photo of all of your insurance policy numbers. Then upload the pics onto your cloud storage for safe keeping.
Gasoline availability: A good way to stay up-to-date on which local stations have gas is www.gasbuddy.com .
Do all your laundry: You know those five loads of laundry piling up? Now is the time. Remember, you may not have water or power after the storm, but at least you’ll have clean underwear.
Extra pool chlorine: Hurricanes can dump a lot of rain. Be prepared to add some chlorine to your pool’s water after the storm is over.
Stash important papers: Place your homeowners insurance policy and other important documents in a ziplock bag and put them in your dryer for elevated safe-keeping.
“In your hurricane preparation, ensure you have a 'go bag' of important items that you will need if you choose to evacuate,” said Lynette Barba of Allstate Insurance in Mount Dora. “And be sure to have your homeowner, auto, and flood insurance policy numbers handy in case you have to file a claim and you don't have the policies with you.”
In addition to having one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days and a three-day supply of non-perishable food, Barba also encouraged residents to have essential items on hand like a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, flashlight, a whistle to signal for help, a can opener, and extra batteries.
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