Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hurricane Preparation Part 2

Now that you've purchased some supplies to help you wait out a hurricane, there's a few things you should do just prior to landfall. Preparation doesn't end at the grocery store.

First, fill some containers with water and freeze them. Plastic ice cream buckets, 2 liter coke bottles and milk jugs work great for this. Fill them 2/3 full and freeze them with the tops off. Once frozen solid, mostly fill the gap and freeze again. Attach the lids and store them in the back of the freezer. You should have enough to nearly completely fill the empty space in the freezer. This will keep your food cold once the power goes out.

Second, arrange the junk in your freezer so that you can get to the good stuff easily. Pull meats to the front and shove the frozen bottles to the back. Put meats on one side and vegetables on another. Organize it as best you can and remember where everything is. When you have to remove an item, you can't afford to be digging for two minutes. Open the door, grab it, shot the door. Ten seconds is the longest that door can remain open. And you will only open your freezer once per day.

Third, fill as many waterproof containers with water as possible. Start collecting empty milk jugs and drink containers now. 1 gallon Hawaiian Punch jugs are awesome for this, so are milk jugs, tea jugs, plastic coke bottles, etc. Rinse them out and put them aside in a cabinet or closet. Once the hurricane becomes a certainty, fill them ALL up. Water pressure will fall once the power goes out. A good quantity for drinking water is 10 gallons per person in the household. That should be enough to last a little over 2 weeks, which is plenty. Also, fill large pots for use as cleaning water for dishes. Wash all your dishes and fill up both sinks. If you have large plastic totes or buckets, put them in the bathroom and fill them up. This is how you'll bathe and flush the toilet.

Cook a large meal and have the whole family dig in. This will get rid of some of that frozen food so that nothing goes to waste. The leftovers will keep for a couple days and you won't have to cook or clean pots for a while. If you have an electric stove, this will also be the last well-made meal you'll have for a while.

Everyone should take a good, thorough shower a few hours before the hurricane. It'll be a while before you get another good cleaning, and you don't want to give horrible body odor a head start. Once the bathing is done, fill the bath tub with water.

Unplug electronics and move them away from windows. Power surges could fry them and even start electrical fires. Your phones and laptops should all be charged.

When the storm hits, keep your kids calm. The situation will have them on edge. Getting them to help out with the effort will go a long way to raising their spirits. Have them unplug the electronics. Once that's done, get the kids to play with the dog. Tell them that the dog is scared and playing with the dog will help out the family pet. Giving them something to take care of will turn them into the protectors. Occasionally ask them how the dog is doing. Their response will likely indicate their own feelings rather than those of the dog. Downplay the hurricane. Tell them it's just a storm that takes a little longer to pass than most and that most people evacuate because they're scared of thunder. The kids might even find it silly to be afraid of hurricanes.

Once the power goes out, play a board game or tell ghost stories. Since the TV is off, spend some quality time bonding with your family. You'd be amazed how much fun a Category 3 hurricane can be.

Soon, I'll go over some things to keep in mind for AFTER the storm passes. These things include navigating through a ruined town, finding food when there's no open stores, dealing with the National Guard if the area is declared a Disaster Zone and getting around when the area has been put on lock-down.

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