As Hurricane Florence heads towards the south east, many of us are faced with the real possibility of losing our property. I’m hoping to help you lessen that risk and to help prevent you from facing life threatening situations.
A lot of people have been told to evacuate. If this is you, please listen. I know this is a huge inconvenience, but it must be done. It’s not worth risking your life! I’m going to start off with tips for those of you who are planning to leave your homes.
1 Remove anything from your yard that can blow around. This includes decorations, garbage cans, your garden hose, potted plants. Basically anything you might have in your yard. Make sure you even put your grill in the garage. Leave nothing out there that nature didn’t provide you with.
2 Board up your windows, if possible. If you can put plywood over your windows, this will help protect your home from flying debris. Tree branches, your neighbors unsecured yard items, even just extreme gusts of wind. If your windows are covered, they stand a much better chance of not shattering.
3 Just in case things go awry, cover all your electronics with plastic. Your television, computers, etc. Put them all in large plastic bags and secure them. This way if rain does get into your home, you run a better chance of these items not getting damaged.
4 Refill all your necessary Prescriptions and make sure you take them with you! You’re not going to be able to get a hold of your doctor to get new Prescriptions. Make certain you are taking care of yourself!
5 Put everything you treasure in your clean, empty dishwasher. Photographs, important documents, basically anything you hold dear, but don’t need to take with you when leaving. Your dishwasher is a water tight, solid, secure place to store these things and should prevent them from getting damaged.
6 Take along any important documents you think you may need. Insurance papers and phone numbers, birth certificates. Anything that will be a pain to replace if it gets damaged.
7 CASH. I realize we live in a digital world where we all have debit cards and pay with our phone apps. But if where you go, loses power, cash will suddenly become your very best friend. I can’t stress this enough. Make sure you have a good amount of cash to pay for meals, gas up your car, pay for lodging, etc. You want to be prepared for not being able to use any form of electronic payments. A gas station may have a generator to power the pumps, but if their internet connection doesn’t work, you’re not going to be able to pay with anything other than cash.
8 Take along any toiletries, clothing, etc. you think you will need for at least a week. Just because the storm is only going to last a few days, doesn’t mean you’ll be immediately heading back to your home. You never know what could happen and it pays to be prepared. Things we take for granted, like toothpaste and toothbrushes, might be in short supply where you are heading due to others forgetting to pack theirs.
9 Quarters and Laundry Pods. I know this seems like an odd thing to take, but trust me on this one. If you get stuck away from home for more than a week, you’re going to want to do laundry. Having a couple rolls of quarters and lightweight, easily portable laundry soap is going to be a god send. How many other people do you think are going to bring their own laundry soap? Don’t be surprised if you hit up the local laundromat or the washing machines in your hotel, and they are out of it. Bring your own!
10 Snacks and bottled water. You may end up stuck on the road for a long time. Having shelf stable snacks like granola bars and bottled water may make all the difference for you when sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. The Mc Donalds at the next exit is most likely going to be closed. Don’t leave your empty stomach up to chance.
11 Extra gas. Being stuck in traffic takes a lot of fuel. If you have room, bring along a 5 gallon can of gas, just in case. The last thing you want is to get stuck on the side of the road during a storm. Be sure to tank up before leaving too!
12 Ice. A good cooler with Ice and any perishable foods you want to take along. Ice is one of the hardest things to locate when there’s a storm. Make sure you’re prepared and find some before all the stores are sold out.
13 Pets. This is a big one. Whatever you do, don’t leave your pets behind. Make sure you have a good quality pet carrier for your animals. They need to come with you. Bring their food, bed, bowls, any medications they might be on, leashes. Basically sit and think about everything your pet needs and put it in the car. You wouldn’t leave your kids behind, don’t leave your animals to fend for themselves either.
14 Make sure you bring along any charging cables for your phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Sometimes we forget to bring these things along when we are in a panic induced, rushed state. While preparing to leave, make sure everything is charging. Charge any portable charging products you have as well, such as power banks. You want to be sure you can juice up your electronics in case you need them in an emergency situation.
I hope these steps help you prepare for evacuating your home. Stay safe out there!