A thorough hurricane prep checklist for your home
As originally created by Sherrie Pisetzky, Miami Beach Marina extraordinaire and updated by the Nautic Nomad team after hurricane Irma.
1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still be used for dialling 911. Charge external battery backups. A portable generator power station is great for charging small devices off the grid.
2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill them with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill them with water and store them in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.
3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep them from collecting dust. Fill the washing machine and leave the lid up to store water.
4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep them near sinks for washing hands.
5. Fill Tupperware with water and store in the freezer, or store water bottles in the freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a backup water supply.
6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in the fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for the first day without power.
9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
11. Toss out any expired food, clean cat litter boxes, and empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
13. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
14. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water-filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a waterproof bag, backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, Sat Phone (if you have), hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
16. Make sure you have cash on hand.
17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and do other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
26. Run your dishwasher; don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes; you need every water container! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing, and cleaning your hands.
27. Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also, put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
28. Check on all family members, set up emergency backup plans, and check on elderly neighbours.
29. Remember, pets are family too. If you evacuate, take them with you!
30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
31. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
32. If you can, take a video of your house and contents….walk room to room–open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof of items and help you list all the items (help your memory, so you don’t forget anything)…Highly recommend!!!
33. If you have time, clear branches near power lines after the storm units respond to the direst situations first before repairing power. Don’t be that neighbour that causes a power outage on your street because you didn’t trim your trees!
I also heard you should freeze a cup of water, and place a coin on top after it is frozen…keep this in your freezer to help you gauge the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful if you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen, but if the coin is in the cup–you will know!!
If you are going to stay and face power outages, having a generator & A/C in a window unit combo is a lifesaver. It helped us with getting to sleep at night after losing power from Hurricane Irma. Don’t forget extension cords.
Stay Safe everyone!
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