As I write this Hurricane Irene is blasting up the east coast on a path that you don’t see too often.
People who have never experienced a hurricane are going to be hit and most of them have no idea what to do.
If you are in the path of Irene or any hurricane for that matter here are a few things you should know.
If you live on the coast board up your house with plywood and go inland. Do not go to a FEMA camp unless you have no other choice. You will be much better off if you can stay with a relative or rent a hotel that is out of the storms path.
Don’t plan on coming back for 2-3 days (longer if your house is damaged). Make sure you have important papers such as your home owners insurance policy. Take as much ready-to-eat food and water that you can carry and having a LED Crank Flashlight can be helpful.
If you are not staying with a relative your biggest prep item during a hurricane is money. You will need enough to eat out for several day, to pay for a hotel and to put gas in your vehicle. $400-$500 should be enough unless your home is damaged and you cannot return for several weeks.
In such a case most home owners insurance policies will reimburse you for all of your expenses but this can take months and you need the money now.
If you live farther inland and plan to stay then make sure your house is secure and get your supplies ready. Plan to be without power, food and water for up to two weeks.
You will need at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. If you live in a house your hot water heater will have about 40 gallons of water in it. Hook a short hose to the bottom drain and put the water in containers. The rest of your water you can store in 5 gallon buckets or plastic 55 gallon drums.
You’ll need a way to cook and have a fire. This can be done outside on the ground or in a charcoal or gas grill. Just remember to store enough gas or charcoal to last at least two weeks and a lighter or box of matches. After your water sits for a few days remember to bring it to a gentle boil in a pot with a lid before drinking. This will kill any harmful bacteria and freshen the taste of the water.
For emergencies I like to keep a 12″ Portable Grill handy at all times. It beats cooking on the ground any day and it can be fueled with charcoal, sticks, pine cones, or whatever you can find. You can also buy prepared food bars such as Emergency Food Bars. These are great because you don’t have to cook them and they are super portable. Each food bar has a self life of 5 years and provides enough calories for 3 days.
Next on the list is food. Look for easy to prepare foods that make very little mess. You’ll need at least 2 weeks worth as your local grocery store will probably be closed or the roads blocked off.
Some good foods to stock up on are ramen soup, rice, beans, canned tuna, mac and cheese, and canned pasta. These are all cheap, plentiful, and nutritious. If you hate all these foods that’s fine.
Don’t buy what you won’t eat no matter how cheap it is. Just look for foods that can be dumped in a pot and heated and don’t plan any five course meals. try to provide 3 square means a day with at least 400-500 calories each meal.
You should also consider getting a 12 LED Hand Crank And Solar Powered Lantern.
The Hand-Crank AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio is also worth it’s weight in gold. Don’t forget your cell phone either. Chances are you will still be able to call your family and let them know you are ok and this radio comes with a cell phone charger to keep it all juiced up.
Also make sure you stock up on a few 3″ pillar candles. You’ll need 1-2 for each room you use the most (living room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom). A 3″ pillar candle will burn for days before going out.
Last but not least is a First Aid Kit. Never underestimate nature or the situation you are in. Having a simple first aid kit can save your life or maybe even your neighbors. Just like the emergency radio, don’t plan on bugging in (or out) without a first aid kit.
You have to keep your wits about you in situations like there. Your best bet is usually to get out of the path of the storm but if you’ve made up your mind that you’re going to stay then be prepared.
There’s simply no excuse for not being prepared for a hurricane. Make sure you beat the crowds to the store as food, water and emergency supplies sell out quickly. Stay away from doors and windows and make a “base camp” in the interior of your home. With a little bit of preparedness you can make yoursel much safer.