As Hurricane Irma approaches we thought we would share some smart hurricane prep tips. The key is to be prepared, have a plan, know where to go and try not to freak out. Although these are great tips, please rely on official preparation, evacuation and emergency information available at the National Hurricane Center and FloridaDisaster.org as it may be best for many to evacuate.
1. For a big storm like Irma, you need enough water to drink for 7 days. The water does NOT have to be bottled. You can simply buy water containers and fill them with tap water.
2. Buy plastic sheeting and duct tape. Use the plastic sheeting to line the tub. Then you can fill your tub with water without it leaking out. You'll use this to flush the toilet and for basic cleaning if the water goes out.
3. Have enough food on hand to eat for 7 days - food bars and other packaged food is good.
4. Buy a large number of Ziploc-like plastic bags - large and small. You'll use them to protect papers and other valuables AND you'll fill them 3/4 full of water and stuff the freezer full. Do that by midweek to be sure they are frozen when/if the power goes out over the weekend. It will keep the refrigerator colder. Do NOT set your fridge on the lowest setting.
5. Get a portable radio that receives AM and FM. NOAA radio is good, but doesn't get you information on evacuations and other instructions. Get batteries.
6. Get LED flashlights and/or lanterns. They run forever on fewer batteries. But you still need plenty of extra batteries.
7. Get large plastic boxes. If you put your valuables, photos, and papers in plastic bags inside the boxes, they will likely be okay. Put the bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don't plan on taking them with you. Take some video of your home, your valuables and property. This may be helpful for insurance purposes.
8. Do your laundry this week! Lol
9. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can.
10. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn't crack the container.
11. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.
12. Fill up all vehicles, check tires & oil.
13. Cash from ATM, at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don't freeze your card for out-of-area "suspicious" transactions.
14. Screenshot all of your important docs & send to your email. Take originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.
15. Prepare pet / livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.
16. Make evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where you're headed.
17. SECURE ALL FIREARMS & AMMUNITION PROPERLY.
18. Old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors!
19. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).
20. If you don't already have your hurricane supplies, you might want to get them now. Shelves are already empty in most places.
Be safe Sunshine State.
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