Storm season is looming, which means it’s time to prepare once again. The recent storms were some of the worst in decades, so it’s more important than ever to move forward with preparations for storm season. Once the storm hits, the time to prepare is running out. So we’ve found some of the best things to do long before the first raindrop falls. Take a look at these five ways to prepare for a hurricane, and don’t delay getting started.
1. Get used to securing your home and car
Your home is probably the hardest thing to put in the face of a major storm, but there are plenty of little things you should have a plan for before the storm hits. You can do some of these things beforehand. First, secure the area around your home. Close your windows, trim large trees, and bring patio furniture indoors, or your neighbor down the block will enjoy some new lawn chairs when the wind blows! This applies to your car as well. Find a parking spot on high, clear ground. You don’t want a tree to fall on your car when you need it to evacuate quickly.
Once it’s safe outside of it, head inside. Take the art off the walls. Make sure the shelves are secured. Find the room in which you are safest. Usually the safest room in the house during a hurricane is the bathroom, but you should definitely be somewhere on the ground floor without windows.
2. Store important documents in a safe place
There are countless stories of priceless family photos lost during storms. When you have to choose between your family and your photos, the answer is simple, but it’s not a decision you have to make. Before a storm approaches, store family photos and important documents in a safe, weatherproof place. Some weatherproof lock boxes are not that expensive. It is important to find one that is as waterproof, shockproof, and fireproof as possible.
Get a weatherproof lock box in advance. Store photos, tax documents, passport, birth certificate, and anything else that is difficult to replace. Even if you are not worried about needing a new birth certificate, even if a third of the people around you also lose their certificates, there will be a long-term backlog while you wait. If you have plenty of time and your photos and documents aren’t too thin, it might also be a good idea to have them scanned and uploaded to cloud storage.
3. Know where to go during and after a storm
You don’t want to sit in the middle of a storm wondering if the people you love are safe. Make a plan with your friends and family so you know where everyone is during the storm. This means where they will shelter first, where you may all have to go, and where you can meet afterwards. Stay in touch with local news and NOAA Radio to get live updates for the storm and act on your plan.
The local News and Evacuation Authority will broadcast eviction orders, if any. If they tell you it’s time to go, be sure to listen. You don’t want to be tough when a storm hits. Even if you feel your location is safe, you don’t want to waste your rescue efforts because you decided not to move and meet your friends somewhere else.
4. Prepare a bag
Whether you are displaced from your home or stuck without electricity or water, it is essential to have a bag ready with some of the basics you need to survive. These include non-perishable foods, packaged water, medications, utility supplies, and basic electronics.
The food you pack should be dry and almost effortless to prepare. Trail mixes, packaged foods, protein bars, things that take up little space but provide a lot of energy. For water, the general recommendation is 1 gallon per day per person. You don’t know how long you might need to be self sufficient, so keep a few gallons of water on hand. It took days for the water to reach the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, so be prepared to wait.
The medicine you pack should be for general first aid, pain relievers, bandages, sanitizing wipes, sprays, and your prescription medications. No one knows how long it may take before you can get back to the pharmacy.
The last thing to pack is a set of general use tools that are useful for a variety of situations. Multitools like the Leatherman, flashlight, and lighter are all excellent to have on hand. You should also pack a compass in case the digital directions fail, a radio to keep in touch, a mask, and flashlights. If you pack canned food, it will also be a pity to be caught without a can opener.
5. Plan what to do if you don’t have electricity
Even after the storm continues, it may be weeks before your home can return to power again. If you don’t want to spend that long without modern conveniences like your phone or a hot plate for cooking, you’ll need your own generator. The problem is that many generators run on gas, and gas is a commodity after a storm. What you want instead is something like Geneark Solar Generator: HomePower ONE + SolarPower ONE.
This solar-powered generator can handle up to 1,002 watts per hour, which is enough for seven days of power on a single charge. It comes with 3 AC outlets that support 1000W and 2000W rated power at 110V. For a camper with this generator, this meant running “the cooler, 24 LED lights, coffee maker, toaster, cell phones, fan, and a laptop. I only needed the solar panels twice, out of nine days.”
If you’re stuck at home without power, a generator like this can make a huge difference. You can clean water by boiling it with an electric kettle, cook food with a hot plate, and charge your phone to call your family and tell them to come find you. And if the battery gets low, the portable solar panel is easy to set up and has a 200W output. If you’re looking for one thing to buy in preparation for storm season, this solar-powered generator is only $1399 (Reg. $1897), and it could make all the difference.
Prices subject to change.