When it comes to hurricane preparation, Floridians have been there, done that.
We know the drill… stock up early to take advantage of sales and ample supplies, then double-check the hurricane kit if your area falls within the forecast cone.
It’s been five years since Hurricane Irma steamrolled up Florida’s peninsula with gusts up to 142 mph and storm surge as high as 8 feet. That means even native Floridians could be out of practice when it comes to hurricane preparation.
Although the 2022 hurricane season is off to a slow start, weather experts are still forecasting another active season.
A standard hurricane kit contains flashlights, batteries, tarps, water, snacks and a first aid kit, and possibly a generator. The list is much longer, though, for those who are truly prepared to ride out a storm and live essentially “off the grid” for five to seven days after a storm. Power may be out, running water might not be potable, and gas stations and supermarkets might be closed.
Beyond the staples of a hurricane kit, here are five items that might not be on your list, but should be:
- Power bank: Cell phones are a lifeline when the power goes out. We use smartphones to let family and friends know we’re OK, watch the news and see what’s happening outside of our neighborhood. High-capacity, portable power banks can charge multiple devices at once. As a storm approaches, keep all devices plugged in and charging. That way, when the power goes out, batteries will already be at 100%.
- Cordless drill: Hanging hurricane shutters with a screwdriver or hand tools is hard work, not to mention time consuming. A cordless drill speeds up the process. You’ll also want to purchase a package of drill bits and wingnuts, which fasten shutters into place. Remember to recharge batteries so your drill is ready to remove shutters once the storm passes.
- Fuel: Individuals who do not own a generator often fail to stock up on fuel. If your home loses power, refrigerated and frozen items may spoil within 12 to 24 hours if you don’t have a premium quality cooler, like a YETI. A barbecue grill makes the best of the situation, but only if you have a full tank of propane, charcoal or wood chips.
- Battery-operated devices: Once the power fails, room temperatures heat quickly with no A/C. A portable, battery-operated fan keeps the breeze blowing and the body cool. Battery-operated radios also provide access to news and information, as well as a little musical relief to occupy your time.
- Saw: Cleanup crews will begin clearing storm debris from main roadways soon after a storm passes, but neighborhood streets and driveways are lower on the priority list. Prepare for a little DIY cleanup by investing in a gas chainsaw. Those not comfortable with such a powerful tool can use a handsaw to cut fallen limbs into manageable pieces and a rake to corral twigs and leaves.
As Floridians, it’s easy to say “we’ve got it covered” when it comes to hurricane preparation. Just like packing for a vacation, though, it’s easy to forget an essential item if you wait until the last minute. Early preparation is the best way to guarantee your home and family will be prepared for the next storm.
– By Scott Hamblen, Chief Operating Officer