Hurricane Preparedness

Hi everyone! Are you #IrmaReady?

As of this posts’s latest update:
– Irma is a category 5, with sustained winds of 185 mph, + gusts reaching over 200mph.
– Irma is definitely going to bring devastating winds and storm surge to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
– It is very likely that Turks and Caicos, the North coast of the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Haiti will also receive similar catastrophic damage from Wednesday night through Friday
– Future-tracking beyond Friday is still difficult to pinpoint, but there are strong indications that the storm will continue on a north-northwest track towards the southern tip of Florida

Photo Credit: My Radar app, available on iOS and Android as a free download- Hurricane tracking and ad-free are paid upgrades.

There are very few scenarios that place Irma outside of causing major damage to Florida. All media outlets and national weather advisories are giving the same recommendation: Be Prepared!

Below you’ll find my own list of tips for making sure you’re #IrmaReady. Feel free to comment or even add your own tips below!

Here’s a few things to consider in the coming days:

1) Fuel
Most people hold off until the very last second to fill up their car gas tanks, and gas containers for generators: don’t be those people. Unfortunately, there were many people in Houston who were waiting for HOURS to get gas. For this week, I’ll be filling my tank every day on the way home from work. I have no desire to be caught in any kind of hectic gas line, and I suggest other’s adopt a similar habit this week too. If you plan on hunkering down, a generator is not a bad idea if you have the resources to get one. They run about $400 and up. Most Home Depot’s and Lowe’s keep only a few on-hand, so the earlier you buy, the better chance you’ll have of acquiring one.
Don’t be like these guys:

Even just today there are lines forming at the pumps. If you tried filling today, and thought waiting for 2 or 3 people to finish pumping before you was bad, you don’t want to imagine trying to fill up on Friday, and waiting behind a line of 20+. This is also caused because stations will run out of gas, and everyone will frantically flock to the remaining stations still in service…. don’t get caught behind!

2) Water
In the Tampa Bay Area, we’re already experiencing supply shortages. Do not lost hope though- we are still early enough that shipments are coming in daily to our main stores. I would recommend going very early tomorrow morning to your local Costco or Sam’s Club, or call your Wal-Mart and find out when they expect their next truck in.
Although it’s illegal, be on the lookout for price inflation, and speak up if you see anything suspicious.

This is a 40 count of 16.9 oz water bottles. It’s the equivalent of about 5 gallons of water, but in bottle form. The pack cost $3 at costco, so we bout 4. Mark and I have the same thought process: In the best-case scenario where we aren’t hit, we’ll still use the bottled water. Worst case scenario- our water is now in easy to use, easy to pack containers. In addition to the 4 cases we bought Sunday, today I managed to make another run to Costco and grab 5 more cases. Costco is rationing their water- limit of 5 cases per customer. And although they may tell you at the front that they are out of water, enter the store any way, and check the back section. I did this, and found that Costco had a whole team of employees helping distribute the cases and ensuring their customers were abiding the 5 case rule.

3) Food
Obviously we don’t need to doomsday prep, but I would recommend making sure you have a few essentials that can carry you for a few days. Canned chicken, tuna, cereal, granola bars- these are all things that will keep you satisfied, pack up pretty easy, are non-perishable, and will not go to waste in the best case scenario where prepping isn’t needed. In the event we don’t need to make emergency meals with the canned chicken and tuna, they make great ingredients for lunches at work, and even casseroles for dinner! If you check on Amazon, they still have ‘emergency food’ available, and Friday is still only two days away- one or two day shipping will get your orders to your door just before we get any bands.

4) Electronics
Let’s face it: Living without a charged phone would make life pretty inconvenient, especially when our phones become a lifeline in emergencies. Keep you phones charged. Keep your tablets charged. Keep your laptops charged. And by all means, if you don’t have a mophie power pack or another external battery, PLEASE MAKE THE INVESTMENT. Because i work for Verizon, I am happy to extend my employee discount to my friends and family. Please contact me and let me know if you’re interested. They truly hold their value, and will make your phone last up to 10 days without access to an outlet. The example below is one of the largest capacities Mophie offers. It has 3 USB ports, an LED level indicator, and when fully charged, provides roughly 7 full smartphone charges. They are a bit bulky to take with you on an every day basis, but for camping trips, vacations, and emergency situations, trust me when I say it’s a small price to pay to keep your electronics charged and ready.

Speaking of electronics….

5) Social Media
Cell phone towers will become over-run with every single phone trying to make calls simultaneously. Only call if needed for 911. (Did you know, in most areas, you can TEXT 911?) If you’re just trying to let people know that you’re okay- use Twitter to send an update online, and ‘check-in’ to the facebook crisis event. No data? Save the Twitter short code number and text your status update. To text TWEETS to your twitter account, the number in the US is 40404. Make sure now that your account is already linked to your cell number!

6) Board Up?
If you own your house, you’ll want to board up- and don’t skimp on the quality of the plywood. You’ll need decent plywood, 2×4’s, plenty of wood-screws, and appropriate anchoring screws to adhere the boardings to the exterior walls of your house. You’ll want to board as many windows as possible, and entire glass doors if you have them

7) Hunker Down
The center-most room/closet/bathroom is where you’ll want to hunker down. Put as many walls between you and outside. Do not pick a room with a window. If this isn’t an option, maybe a closet is better. Still not an option? Go into a bathroom, and bring a mattress. Use the tub or shower and make yourself as small as possible, and ‘seal’ the tub or shower using the mattress on top. This would be the safest place to be in should you experience hurricane force winds while in your own home.

8) Documents/Papers
Passports, Birth Certificates, SSN Cards, Green Cards, Drivers License- these will be the most important documents. The originals should be kept in sturdy ziplocks, or even a water-tight, fire-proof safe. You can pick one up on amazon for about $30. Keep digital copies handy on your phone (available offline, meaning a picture, or a file that doesn’t need to be downloaded from a cloud), do this especially if you have plans to keep your phone charged. Photo copies will do just fine- those should also be kept in ziplocks to keep them safe from weather.
SentrySafe Fire Safe, Waterproof Fire Resistant Chest

These are just a few tips and tricks that I have for now. Check back for updates, and be sure to subscribe to my site, either directly here on WordPress, or through my Facebook page. Stay safe everyone!

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