There are plenty of emergency preparedness websites to prepare you for for 25 year, 100 year, or in the case of Houston, 500 year storm events. But with stores running out of items as families prepare early for Hurricane Irma, nothing compares to Hurricane Hacks from locals. We've shared, with permission, these local hacks from our moms group and added some of our own. Having been through 6 hurricanes, we want to do everything we can to help those living in the hurricane's path by sharing our experiences. Scroll down for info on how to prepare for the storm. We will keep adding as we find items and the list is growing beyond 33 items!!
1. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as much space in between your freezer items as you can.
2. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn't crack the container. Fill ziplock bags with water and freeze those.
3. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.
4. Fill up all vehicles & check tires & oil.
5. Get cash from ATM, at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town.
6. Screenshot all important docs & send to your email. Take originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.
7. Get pet food & supplies. Have veterinarian records on hand in case you need to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.
8. Finalize evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where you're headed. More info HERE.
9. Consider putting heirlooms & photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don't plan on taking them with you.
10. Secure all fire arms and ammunition properly.
11. Place old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors!
12. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house early. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).
13. Purchase hurricane supplies more than a week out as many areas will sell out.
14. Fill tubs with water for flushing. Be sure your tub's drain is leak proof - purchase a rubber stopper if needed. If the rubber stopper has a metal ring around it, remove it as that will rust. Be sure to close bathroom doors if you have children in the house.
15. Pack dry clothes in heavy duty plastic bags so if you leave you at least have something dry to change into.
16. Put water in 2 liter bottles, gatorade bottles, orange juice bottles, milk jugs and freeze them. They take a long time to thaw and are good to keep in freezer or put in frig to keep it cold when the power goes out.
17. Fill up sand bags at your county/city's posted locations.
18. Purchase milk in juice style boxes as they don't need to be refrigerated.
19. Pour bags of ice in top loading washing machines for coolers. The water will later melt and you can use that as non potable water.
20. If you purchase a generator, be sure to have long extension cords on hand or purchase some.
21. Have hand powered or battery operated fans to keep cool if power goes out.
22. Cook items ahead of time, like boiled eggs, bacon, peanut butter or oatmeal cookies, granola bars, to have on hand a couple of days while the fridge is still cool.
23. Put your AC and fridge/freezer settings down very low to get your house very cool and then don't open the doors.
24. If you have a gas stove, be sure to keep matches on hand so you can light the burners and keep cooking.
25. Have a charcoal grill, charcoal, or propane grill with propane to cook outside if you run out of power.
26. Be sure to have plenty of coloring items, games, art supplies, etc. to have on hand for kids activities during hurricanes as you can't leave the house for multiple days in heavy rain and winds.
27. Cut the breaker to your garage door and set it to manual. If power goes out, you'll want to be able to get your car out of the garage. Also, lock your garage door manually as the wind and pressure can cause your door to open.
28. Have portable chargers for phones and computers on hand.
29. Bring a camping gear if you evacuate in case there are no hotels open. This is also a great way to save money instead of staying in a hotel.
30. Wash clothes and other laundry ahead of time in case you lose power.
31. Have baby wipes or hand sanitizer on hand to wash hands.
32. Have trash bags and tarps on hand to place on roofs if leaks happen.
33. If you are a coffee regular, brew coffee ahead of time, order a French press ahead of time, use Starbucks Via packs and just add hot water from your gas stove or propane camping stove, use a stove top percolator, do a cold brew, or make sure you have a cord that you can use in your car.
34. Use a 9V battery, a key, and your car charger and usb cord to charge your phone.
35. Have alcohol on hand, plenty of alcohol!
Cover photo credit: NOAA.gov