Do you have a weather emergency kit ready to go? With two named storms out there, it's a good time to think about having one.
Here's Big Weather Don Schwenneker's hurricane essentials list:
- TO-Go Bag - Make an overnight bag so if you have to leave quickly, you are ready to go. In it put a change of clothes, bottle of water, flashlight, and important documents.
- ZIP-LOCK Bags - You can use these for all kinds of things. Put your important documents (check the Important Documents checklist a bit further down) into the bag and seal it up. Then put it in your to-go bag. Also, fill some of them 3/4 full and stick them in your freezer. The tighter your freezer is packed, the longer it will stay cool when the power goes out. Plus, it will give you more fresh water to drink as they melt.
- CASH - Put some in one of those handy Ziploc bags and stick it in the to-go bag. ATMs may not work, and you never know what you might need to purchase.
- A REAL MAP - Your GPS may not work, especially if roads are flooded, and you have to leave. A real map can help you find alternative routes.
- FLASHLIGHT(S) and RADIO - Make sure you have at least one of each. LED lights will last longer. And make sure to have lots of batteries for when they run out. If you can purchase a crank flashlight and radio, DO IT NOW. You'll be glad you have it if the batteries run out.
- TOILET PAPER - And other personal hygiene items. Stores may not be open, and you'll be glad you have it. Store these items on the highest floor of the house to keep them dry as long as possible.
- EXTRA KEYS - Put one in your documents Ziploc and give one to someone else, so you have a way to get back in if you evacuate quickly.
- DISINFECTANT/CLEANING SUPPLIES - It's never too early to stock up on these now. Then you have them after the storm, and possibly before any stores can reopen.
- EXTRA BATTERIES - I know I've said this once, but I can't say it enough. Have extras around, more than you think you will need.
- FIRST AID KIT - Think About Having these items if you don't have a pre-made Emergency Kit.
- PRESCRIPTIONS - If you are on prescription medications, make sure you have enough for at least 2 weeks. Pharmacies may not be open, or, if you get that medicine via the US Postal Service, it may be interrupted.
- EMERGENCY CONTACT INFO - Doctor's phone number, medications you might be taking, other relatives phone numbers, your insurance agent, etc. Write them down and put them in a Ziploc. You never know if your contacts on your phone will be lost.
- PRIORITIZE - You can't sling around your entire filing cabinet. Deeds, Wills, Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, and important financial documents go in the Ziploc. Anything else you can take pictures of and transfer to a thumb drive. Put that in the Ziploc too.
- TAKE PICS OF STUFF - Take pictures in every room of the house, your car, and of items serial numbers (like the TV & Fridge). You can put those on the thumb drive or upload to cloud, and you've got a record for insurance purposes.
- PUT PICTURES IN BAGS - and seal them up. Photo albums can go into giant garbage bags and tape them shut with duct tape. Do it 2-3 times to be safe and store them on the highest floor of your house.
- DRIVER'S LICENSE - Make a photo copy and put it in your important papers Ziploc.
IF YOU ARE RIDING OUT THE STORM AND NOT EVACUATING - Other items to think about...
- STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS - Even if they are boarded over, you can be injured by flying glass and debris. Windowless rooms are much better for when the storm hits.
- STAY INSIDE - Wait to venture out. It may be tempting to see what's happening, but if emergency services are taxed, you may not get rescued if you get into a bad situation.
- FOOD & WATER - Have enough food and water for at least three days or more. You should have one gallon/person/day. Remember you can fill your bathtub right as the storm hits and have a second supply of freshwater as needed.
- CANNED FOODS - Buy them now. Meats, fruits, soups, vegetables, powdered milk. All easy to use when it's not an emergency. And make sure to get a MANUAL CAN OPENER to open them.
- HIGHER CALORIE FOODS - you'll need as many as you can get to sustain your energy, especially if you are in a survival mode.
- COOKING FOOD - You can use a camping stove or propane grill to cook food. Make sure to use it outside! Toxic gasses can build up if you use them indoors.
- EXTRA CAN OF PROPANE - Buy it now, so you're not fighting the crowds.
- FULL TANK OF GAS - in your car. You can use it to charge phones and batteries. And don't park it on the street or under trees. Flood waters or branches may destroy that extra electricity generator.
- PET FOOD - Have extra food (and water) on hand for your pets, at least a week's worth.
IF YOU ARE EVACUATING
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH ROUTES - where are you going to go if you need to leave quickly. Know before you go!
- PLAN TO STAY WITH SOMEONE ELSE - If you have family or friends in other areas, plan to get to them first. Shelters may be full or minimal.
- KNOW IF YOU HAVE TO EVACUATE - You may not be in an evacuation zone. If you are, go when you are told to avoid the worst traffic congestion.
- SLEEPING BAG AND PILLOW - take it along in case where you're going doesn't have any.
- FIND A PLACE FOR PETS - Not all shelters take pets. Plan ahead. And never leave your animal chained up or home alone for extended periods of time.
- SECURE LOOSE ITEMS- bring in things like lawn furniture and grills, so they aren't blown away during the storm.
- SHUT OFF UTILITIES IF POSSIBLE - Water and electric can be shut off. Do not shut off natural gas. In most places, it must be turned back on by a licensed professional.
Most of all don't panic and plan. It's never too early to start planning. And most of the supplies can be reused if we have to prepare for an ice storm in the winter.