According to AccuWeather https://www.accuweather.com, we are in a “record-setting Atlantic hurricane season kicking into overdrive.” It started early this year—in May—and may go past its official ending date of November 30. Are you organized for when the next one arrives?
What do you need to get ready? At a minimum, it’s good to have certain supplies on hand in case you lose power:
- Battery-powered weather radio (I have a Midland radio https://midlandusa.com/ and appreciated its loud warning on April 19, 2019, “beep…beep…Reston, Herndon…take cover now…tornado warning!” when a tornado touched down a third of a mile from me.
- Fully charged power banks to recharge cell phones
- Flashlights and lanterns. Did you know there are candles specifically for emergency use? I didn’t until I found these online: https://thepreparednessexperience.com/emergency-candles/. Look for ones that are dripless and don’t produce smoke. Don’t forget to have matches on hand.
- Extra batteries (variety of sizes for your emergency items)
- Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes
- First-aid kit and required medication
- Water (1 gallon per person per day for at least three days) for drinking/washing; also buckets of water for flushing toilets
- Non-perishable food you can eat without heating. And a non-electric can opener. I have a Zyliss battery-operated one. My food supply includes canned vegetables, tomatoes, beans, and chili. Also good are canned fruit, peanut butter, crackers, cereal, canned tuna/salmon/chicken, energy bars, trail mix, nuts.
- Food, water, and medication for your pets
- Disposable plastic cutlery, cups, plates, napkins.
- Propane or charcoal for your outdoor grill. Handy to have to use up frozen food if power is out for too long.
- For a thorough list plus very detailed and helpful information and tips, I highly recommend fellow professional organizer Judith Kolberg’s 145-page book Organize for Disaster. Also available as an ebook. https://fileheads.net/ (I don’t get a commission.) Judith will have an updated version—to include information about pandemics—in the spring of 2021.
There are other things you might consider, including a grab and go bag if you have to evacuate (with important documents, cash, medicine, some clothes, plus masks, sanitizer, and disinfectant), and a family communication plan if disaster strikes while some family members are away from home.
And when high winds are predicted, bring inside or tie down loose items in your yard. Twice I’ve seen my next-door neighbors’ patio umbrella waft up off their townhouse deck and over their back fence because the umbrella had been left open (same deck; different owner). It actually looked very graceful, but of course, damaged the umbrella.
Don’t forget to prepare that home inventory you’re been meaning to do. The 2019 tornado in Reston uprooted a tree that damaged a townhouse so badly it was condemned. It’s hard to create an inventory for an insurance claim when you can’t walk through your home and have to do it from memory when you’re probably stressed out.
Be prepared and stay safe!