Top 10 #Hurricane Must-Haves
September 1st. The start of what is historically the most active month of hurricane season. With #HurricaneDorian, a catastrophic category 5 hurricane on it's way, I wanted to share a few handy items you can grab at most big box stores or Amazon. These are things you might not think about beyond the basics (water, batteries, gas, flashlights, non-perishable food, lighters, etc) but you will definitely need (or want) to have if power is out for an extended time.
As a lifelong Floridian, I can offer one major tip to start: DON'T PANIC. Prepare, plan ahead, and remember there have been many hurricanes that have hit our beautiful state of #Florida and we always come out the other side!
1) Battery Operated Fans. Some run on USB cables too- I will get to that next.
2) Portable Power Banks. You will need these to charge things like phones, devices, & run any devices such as those portable fans if the batteries go out. Get a few!
3) Battery Operated Lanterns. Flashlights are great but these are excellent for providing a ton of continuous, stationary light.
4) Emergency Radio. These are good to have on hand- in case you run out of battery & use up all your USB chargers.
5) Portable Grill. In case power is out for an extended time, this is great for cooking. Don't forget the charcoal, lighter, & tongs too!
6) Dry Ice. Get some pre-packaged dry ice and throw them in your freezer, coolers, etc. to keep perishable food cold as long as possible. It takes longer to melt then regular ice. When the power goes out, try not to open your fridge & freezers as much as possible, so you can keep the cold air sealed.
7) Potty pads. I know this one sounds crazy but your pets will still need to relieve themselves in a hurricane and going outside is not always feasible. These are disposable.
8) Prescriptions. Try to get all your must-have prescriptions filled as soon as a hurricane threat is declared. If you rely on daily medication, you do not want to run out in the middle of a hurricane. Do this EARLY- when Irma came through, the pharmacies were backed up, BIG TIME.
9) Pet Food. Again, don't forget about your pets. Make sure you are fully stocked on their food & medicine too. If you are running low, go grab another bag.
10) Emergency Supplies. You are most likely NOT going to need these, but they are good to have on hand, just in case: rope, a saw, a good first aid kit (not just a limited vehicle version), and of course, a designated safe room in your home where everyone can go, if absolutely needed. In a 1-story home, the strongest room is usually a bathroom or walk-in closet, near the center of the house. The strongest wall in a 2-story home is usually near a stairwell. A first-floor closet nearby may be the safest spot.
Some other good ideas are an inflatable raft (again, you will MOST LIKELY not need this), a water filter (mentioned in our Podcast- "This is Tampa"), a generator (please be careful with these!), and have some cash on hand, incase you need to purchase items and card processors are down. Another good thing to keep in mind is that many wireless phone providers will lift usage limitations for customers in hurricane affected areas, so you may want to keep an eye on when/if they announce that.
Some great apps to use during a storm are: Windy, MyRadar, Zello & Voxer. Also find out how your local authorities will be contacting residents and subscribe to any text messages or email services they offer. In Tampa, you can sign up for #AlertTampa here: https://www.tampagov.net/emergency-management/alert-tampa.
Please leave your suggestions below for more useful items and comment with any questions you have!