September is a month synonymous with so many great things…the return of football, the start of fall weather, and fun festivals across the country. Unfortunately, September is also when hurricane season kicks into high gear and this year is no exception. As a native Floridian, I have learned that practical, thoughtful prep is key during the season of storms. We all know the basics: water, batteries and gas. Below are some additional tips to keep you not only surviving, but thriving, during the storm.
- Put all your patio furniture and potted plants in your garage.
Cut any loose, low hanging branches in your yard.
- Put pool toys away.
- Drain some water from your pool-it WILL fill up and run over.
- Turn your AC on very low when the hurricane is about 4 hours away. You will be amazed how hot it will get once power goes off. Trust me, you will want a cold house.
- Put bags of ice in your freezer -you can use them for coolers to save your perishables for a day or so. Or you can use the ice for your cocktails!
- Charge your cell phone power packs. You can never have too many charged devices.
- Have paper plates, cups and cutlery on hand.
- Empty out your dishwasher before the storm hits.
- Get gas for all cars now. It’s impossible to get gas after a storm and it runs out right before hand. If nothing else, you’ll want to crank up your car to charge your phone as needed.
- Get board games, puzzles and a deck of cards. This will give you hours of family fun with no TV accessible.
- Candles are great but they heat up a place like nobody’s business. Use flashlights instead! If you haven’t checked your flashlight batteries, trust me they are dead.
- If you have a Kindle, you are in luck! Charge it now and you can actually read when there is no TV.
- Make sure you have plenty of pet food if you have an animal friend. Check the weather closely and take out your furry friend before conditions deteriorate. Invest in potty pads if you have a dog that needs frequent outings.
- Get your gas grill in order if you have one. This is a great option for cooking with no power after storm. And bonus: you can cook any meat and veggies you can’t keep cold. Invite your friends!
- Put up your shutters. Seriously. Even if your neighbor isn’t.
- Food that isn’t totally horrible for you if you lose power: Apples, peanut and almond butter, PB&J, avocado on wheat bread with salt and pepper and olive oil, granola, power bars, bananas (although man do they go quickly in the heat).
- Help each other. Now is a time for community, so once you are prepped, find someone else that isn’t and dive in.
If you need to seek shelter outside of your home:
- FloridaDisaster.Org has an index of shelters, and also includes a list of special needs shelters.