The Five Most Important Items that are Not on Your Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season in Florida is highly exciting for the natives. We have parties, neglect to evacuate, and joke about how, had we evacuated – we would have been in the path of the hurricane. String models show where the hurricanes will go, hurricanes go their own ways. Occasionally there are so many named storms, the forecasters run out of names.

Of course, the weather channel and news reports have helped you prepare. You have your checklist and are patiently waiting for storm season knowing your generator, flashlight, and chlorine tablets are ready. There are a few things experts have left off the list. Don’t be caught off guard this hurricane season.  Prepare for the next Andrew, Katrina, or Irma by checking ahead for these items.

  1. Expired Canned Goods

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) highly recommends having a 3 day supply of nonperishable food on hand per person and more than a 3 day supply of water. But what they neglect to mention, is that you should check and see if your canned goods are expired.

If you are incredibly organized and rotate your canned goods as you buy them, no worries. But it might be worth a look, so that your stash of supplies doesn’t give you dysentery. No one wants bad beans. As you stock your pantry this season, give a quick check one shelf at a time. Use up older goods and rotate newer to the back. Not only will you have the correct amount of emergency food – you’ll be able to eat it.

  1. Books/Cards/Board Games

In the past, people entertained themselves without the use of technology. This ancient system was known as self-entertainment. In this new, tech-oriented world, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few low-tech methods of entertainment. Think puzzles, cards, board games, art supplies, books and/or magazines. These can easily be obtained at the flea market, Dollar Tree, or your nearest yard sale.

What’s even better than having something to do when the power’s out? Knowing where it is. Keep your supplies organized and you’ll feel like a hurricane season professional. You’ll be patting yourself on the back during storm season by keeping Grandma Betty entertained with a 1,000-piece puzzle. Or you could stare at your dead smartphone screen for a while…

  1. Matches

Whether you have one book or twenty, know where your matches are. Perhaps keep some in a water-resistant bag. You won’t be able to start your charcoal grill or light any emergency candles without matches. Maybe your lighter will work. Maybe it will not. Matches are foolproof.

  1. Fuel Sources

Again, the NOAA will recommend you have these things. So now is the time to check their functionality and locations.

Gasoline – Is it stored properly? Do you have it near your generator?

Propane – Is your tank full? Is it properly attached to your grill or cooking device? Do you have a spare?

Charcoal – Do you have enough to run the grill for three days? Is it moldy…?

Wood – If you have a fireplace and none of the other items, you could boil water in your fireplace. Will it be hot in Florida, during hurricane season? Yes. Will you be able to cook and boil water? Also, yes.

When the power goes, cooking becomes difficult. Lacking an easily accessible fuel source increases difficulty. Most people have a propane tank or charcoal – not everyone checks it periodically. It’s unlikely that your local gas station will be open during the worst parts of a hurricane. Stock up now.

Also consider your water quality. If the sewer line is damaged or overflowing, you’ll need a plan. You can use chlorine tablets to purify the water. Or you can use your fuel source to boil the water for one minute to purify it.

  1. Fire Extinguishers

This sounds so weird, but really, fire extinguishers. Think of the above considerations for fuel sources. Where is your fire extinguisher? Is it fully charged (look at the top gauge)? With the power out, candles ablaze, your odds of a fire are greater. The emergency services – such as the fire department will be responding to an abundance of calls. Response time will likely be lower.

Keeping a multi-purpose fire extinguisher mounted in a central location in your home can save you time and money. You can also read the label and familiarize yourself with how to use it. Pull the pin, aim the hose at the base of the fire, squeeze the lever, and use a sweeping motion at the base of the fire.  Don’t believe fires can happen to you? Amazon’s company, Ring, reports structure fires to nearby residents. I’ve seen at least two everyday for the past months.

Now you are ready to brave your own Florida hurricane season. Happy trails, y’all!

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About the Author: John Watson

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