Born and raised in South FL I have seen my fair share of storms. We have been pretty lucky as a family to bypass a lot of them. As a Floridian, it's basically our nature to "wait it out" and not freak out until last minute. It is what it is, people! We know the repercussions of our actions! Now that we have a baby, seeing that a category 4/5 hurricane is heading our way is a little more terrifying. As of now, we don't even know our plan - but I know we are getting prepared.
**The best way to stay safe from a hurricane or natural disaster is to get out. Take time to plan, and DO NOT leave last minute. Fun Fact :One of the safest places from natural disaster in the world is Oregon.. Go there ;)**
The Normal Stuff
I'm not going too far into depth with this, because this is the normal stuff that all the news channels are probably telling you every 5 minutes. Here's the list :
- Water (1 case  per person per day is the rule of thumb)
- Batteries (AAA for the small flashlights usually, D for the larger flashlights)
- Non perishable foods / food that can be kept in a cooler with ice easily
- Ice (day before, kept in freezer until needed, or day of)
- Important documents (License, social security card, birth certificates)
For Kids :
- Baby food
- Formula / bottles
That's just the basics, but let's think outside of the box a little bit!
We usually get ice the day of, honestly. I know, not the best plan. But surprisingly last year day of, their was plenty of ice to go around at our local twice the ice/ ice machine. We just had to bring our own cooler, and fill it. Now - if this is not an option, or you want to get ahead of the game, start freezing cubes in multiple trays at a time, putting them in sandwich bags, and squeezing them in various places in your freezer until needed.
If you are leaving, definitely do not go grocery shopping this week. Try emptying out your fridge the night before/morning that trash is supposed to come before the storm. Then, put all of your food in an iced cooler. Depending on your car situation, bring the food with you or keep it at a friends house who is staying. If you don't, then there's no point to this method bc all of the ice is going to melt and the food will go bad, anyways. I would suggest bringing the cooler with you, and putting it in a fridge ASAP wherever you are evacuating to.
If you are staying, try squeezing ice wherever you can in your freezer, and having a cooler on standby. Still go through your fridge and freezer the last trash day before the storm. You may not lose power at all, who knows. So if you are staying, keep everything in the fridge, easily accessible, and if the power goes out, quickly put everything in the cooler, throw the ice in there, and hope that your power will be on soon. (FPL is usually the bomb dot com at this - we love our linemen!) If not, then when it is safe, try to go out asap and get ice. Continuously do this until the power is back on, or you somehow find access to a generator. If it gets so bad that there's crazy flooding and a state of emergency and you have no roof, then screw the food obviously. Get out of there!
If you have animals PLEASE PREPARE FOR THEM. I am a dog mom, and am thoroughly preparing for this, and if we evacuate we are taking our sweet boy with us FOR SURE.
Here are a few things you can do to cut back on costs, and also take care of your pets.
Fill old water bottle, jugs, or even Tupperware with tap water. Keep it in the fridge until hurricane time, or freeze it, or keep it wherever you freaking can. Just do it. This ensures that they are not taking from your water stock pile. If you keep enough aside, you can even use this water for cleaning yourself, washing hands, etc. If you're really terrified, and think you're screwed - fill your tub up before you lose power.
Stock up on various essential pet items such as their food. Also, make sure you have tags on them with your contact info, in case they get out or somehow get lost during the storm!
If you are evacuating, bring all portable electronics with you. iPads, laptops, phones, and chargers for them all. I know I can't afford a brand new MacBook Pro or iPhone!
Everybody always checks the basic places for propane, and they usually run out the first word of a storm coming your way. Almost immediately. Check around town for local feed stores, and RV camps. We got propane last year DAY OF at an RV camp in town. Nobody ever checks those kind of places for whatever reason, first thought is publix, Walmart, etc. If those places are out, try these! Google is your friend! Google local RV camps and feed stores! I'm almost positive there is one nearby you.
Our essentials are probably a little different from people who are active campers, etc. We don't have a grill at this time, so we stocked up on easy cooler foods, and snacks. This is what we bought :
- Peanut butter & jelly
- Peanut butter crackers
- Trail Mix
- Bean dip
Don't have a flashlight? We are SO terrible about this. We have about 3 mini flashlights that put off pretty much no light, and that's it. We do, have a ton of candles but UGH those make things so hot! If you can somehow hunt down one small flashlight, and a jug of water, lean the light facing the jug, for maximum illumination. Or strap it, or put it on top. You get the idea.
Doing this with a kid is extremely stressful, so we are really stocking up on her necessities, especially. We have a box of 148 diapers right now, a huge box of wipes, and a ton of baby food. We bought the baby food POUCHES because they are resealable (um awesome) and compact, so they can easily be thrown into the cooler.
If there is a mandatory evacuation, take it seriously!! Do not mess around. If you are unsure of the powers of a hurricane and its' different categories, here is a (scary) reminder.
Stay informed. Stay safe. Get prepared!