I had thought about writing this post because I truly do believe that if you are prepared, it makes things less stressful. I had no idea that as I was thinking of this idea, that Hurricane Matthew was forming in the tropics. As I type, it is barreling this direction, and I am hoping it weakens and turns East out to sea. However, just in case our area is affected by this storm, we have begun preparations.
A lot of this information, I have learned over the years of things we have needed. We were hit by Hurricane Isabel 13 years ago and we were without power for about 4 days. That was pre-kids, but I spent some of my time those days entertaining my niece and nephew who were 7 and 10 way back then. Boy, was that a challenge! And back then when smartphones didn't exist, we were not as hooked on technology. I will always remember 6 of us crowding around a portable DVD player with a tiny screen watching one of the Austin Powers movies. It wasn’t fun at the time, but a great memory now!
There is “official” information put out by the government at ready.gov. It has other items that would definitely be handy. Here are my top 10 to get you started. (Please don't ONLY rely on my top 10!)
1-Water- approximately a gallon a day per person for 3 days is what is recommended by ready.gov. Water is needed for brushing your teeth if the water supply is not reliable as well as drinking and potentially even flushing toilets. Before big storms, sometimes we prepare by filling a bathtub with water before the storm hits. It may not be for drinking (my tub isn’t that clean!!) but for using it for other things.
2-Flashlights…can I be really crazy and suggest headlamps?! Hear me out! They are super handy when the power goes out and you need your hands to do things. Maybe going to the bathroom? Or if you have the need to change a baby’s diaper at night? Lanterns are also helpful to have, to light a whole room.
3-Food- another 3 days supply of non-perishable food is recommended by ready.gov. Might I suggest also including creature comfort types of food as well? Maybe a morsel (or MORE) of chocolate to boost morale? And don’t forget a manual can opener for food! There is nothing worse than standing in your powerless kitchen with your can of food and a power can opener and no way to open it. I think there are some hacks to do that, but unless you know before, google will be of no assistance now!
4-First aid supplies- a basic kit would come in handy! However, you may need more than just a few band aids and antibiotic cream/ointment. It may be difficult to get medical attention, or to a drug store to get any supplies. Make sure you have something to clean a wound, among the band aids (of all sizes) you should also have pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, thermometer, etc.
5-Paper products- I have a friend who used to always insist on going out and buying toilet paper and Oreos every time a storm came through! A lady after my own heart! But seriously, toilet paper is a good one. And paper plates, napkins, cups and disposable silverware. I know…so wasteful! (No judgment if that is your daily routine! We all do what we need to get through life!) However, if water is limited, washing dishes will be difficult, so save that water for more important things!
6-Batteries/solar chargers- you will need something to power those flashlights/headlamps/lanterns! Not to mention the all important CELL PHONES!! Maybe even charging one of those battery power packs pre-storm could be useful to add some life back to your phone.
7-Medications- I think this is self explanatory, but you want to make sure you have enough medication to last at least several days past the storm. The pharmacies might be closed or their supply chain disturbed due to the storm. And if any of your medications require refrigeration, make accommodations to have a cooler with ice in case the power goes out!
8-Fill Up Your Gas Tank!! Please gas up your car! You have no idea when you might be able to fill up again, and the shortages that you could encounter post storm could last for longer than is optimal.
9-Cash- another good thing to have on hand. If you are able to get out, and the credit card machines and ATMs are down, you’ll be stuck with no way to purchase necessary supplies.
10-Important paperwork- gather your important paperwork together in a folder, or preferably a waterproof shoebox so that in the event of an evacuation and you need to grab and go quickly, all your pertinent documents are handy. Think forms of identification (passports, birth certificiates, Social Security cards), insurance policies, financial records and even any treasured photos.
Bonus item! Patience and a sense of humor! Things can go south quickly in stressful situations. If you can keep your wits about you, and a positive attitude despite whatever you are facing, it will help!
If you have a baby/babies: make sure you have all of the supplies necessary to take care of him/her for a few days. Diapers, wipes, food, bottles, whatever you have chosen that goes in those bottles…I know this seems basic, but once I forgot diapers. Diapers!!! Luckily, I had a stash I forgot about in a closet in an old diaper bag. We ended up not needing it. The storm spared us on that occasion.
Finally, never underestimate the need for entertainment options (cards, movies previously saved on a charged iPad, board games, etc.)!!
Again, please refer to the government website for a complete list of suggestions, but this is just some ideas to help get you started!
Be safe out there everyone!
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