You might be tracking the busy hurricane season, or might be preparing for the latest storm. After living in Miami for over 20 years, I’ve learned a thing or two when it comes to getting ready for strong winds, torrential rains, and potential flooding. Here are my 20 top tips to prepare for a hurricane.
How To Prepare For A Hurricane
A few tips for those making hurricane preparations from somebody who has survived many hurricane seasons:
- Backup your data: phones, computers, tablets, cameras.
- For extra peace of mind with important data, use a cloud service as well. That way you don’t worry about external drives getting damaged or lost. A few options: Dropbox, Carbonite, Amazon Cloud, iCloud.
- Charge all your devices. From tablets to smartphones, flashlights to tools, make sure you get a full charge before the storm comes.
- Charge extra battery packs/power banks. Get them at Best Buy, Target, Walmart. You can also get a solar-powered battery pack.
- Tap water is more than fine so start bottling it now, especially if you have filtered water. Fill your water bottles and refrigerate. You can also freeze plastic or Tupperware containers with water. If you have a tub, fill it with water. However, if there is a boil water order, please boil and cool before bottling it in clean water bottles.
- Prepare a go-to bag for each member of your family with toiletries, change of clothes, flashlight, cash, snacks, a bottle of water, a copy of your IDs and printout of important numbers.
- Take pictures of important documents on your phone. Upload to a cloud service and organize in folders. Have printouts in a Ziploc bag with you.
- Refill any medications you (including family members and pets) will need this month.
- Get cash. If power outages occur, you will need it.
- Have a food supply for everybody in your household for at least 3-5 days. Stock up on canned goods, shelf-stable milk and juice packs, bread, tuna pouches, dry cereal, pet food, and other food items that do not require refrigeration.
- Print a list of important numbers. If you lose power and can’t charge your phone, you need to have a hard copy of important phone numbers (friends, family, doctors, insurance companies, pharmacies) even if it’s just a handwritten note. Most of us only know a few numbers by heart.
- Protect what has sentimental value as much as you can. Family photo albums are priceless for many of us. If they are old and cannot be replaced, cover in a plastic bag in the safest place in your home or take them with you.
- If you have a smartphone, enable location services and share your location with your close friends and family.
- Have enough water for all family members, including pets. Experts recommend a gallon a day per person. If buying individual water bottles, consider 2-3 per day per person.
- Freeze water. Use water bottles, ziplocs, plastic containers. If the power goes out (which is highly likely), it will help preserve your food a bit longer. Plus, refreshing water when you have no A/C is a blessing.
- If you have a car, make sure your tank is full.
- Remember to be kind. Especially to first responders and those working at stores, supermarkets and gas stations. I know people are nervous and worried, but take the high road whenever possible and thank those who are helping everybody else get ready.
- If you have kids, remember they are watching us react. They might be nervous and anxious. If they’re acting out, take a deep breath, reassure them that you have a plan, and depending on their age, assign them a task so they feel they are helping. If they are very young, have them draw, play board games or make puzzles, build something, or paint a tshirt. Don’t let them watch the news because it will make them anxious.
- Your safety is more important than anything. Do what’s necessary to stay safe.
- Take pictures of each room in your home in case you need to file an insurance claim.
After careful consideration, my family evacuated during Irma. I hope hurricanes spare us all and that everybody manages to stay safe.