Dear Folks, by now most of you have heard about Hurricane Irma and her increasing threat of making landfall in Florida. Although her exact path is yet to be determined, it is never too early to begin preparations and take necessary precautions. As my grandmother always says, “it’s better to be safe than sorry!”
Most Floridians have prepared for a hurricane at least once in their life and are familiar with the usual hurricane preparedness tips, such as stocking up on batteries, water, and non-perishable food items. These tips are extremely useful and should be followed.
However, this blog post will address some things to keep in mind that might not be mentioned in your usual hurricane preparedness list. But before we get into the list, I want to urge everyone who lives within the current zone of Hurricane Irma’s possible path to evacuate if possible. This is now a category 5 hurricane. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was a category 4 and devastated a large part of Miami-Dade County and its surrounding areas. For the Panhandle folks, Hurricane Ivan was a category 3 when it made landfall and it took years to rebuild following its devastation. With that said, here are some helpful things to consider when preparing for Hurricane Irma:
- Don’t panic! I know, I just told you to evacuate if possible but now I’m telling you not to panic. But seriously, if you take precautions and prepare, there is no need to panic.’
- Purchase a cell phone charger for your car. If your house is without power and your cell phone battery runs low, you can always charge your phone in the car – even if the car is not running! It will become extremely important to have a cell phone in case you need emergency medical treatment or need to stay in touch with friends and family.
- Purchase a rechargeable battery for your cell phone. This one goes along with No. 2. It’s always handy to keep one or maybe several extra batteries around. Most cell phones these days have a flashlight which also becomes a critical tool.
- Purchase an old school transistor radio. If you don’t already have one lying around, I suggest purchasing one (unless you can find one in your great-uncle’s garage). In case your cellphone provider’s service gets interrupted, you can still stay up to date on what is going on in your area before and after the storm.
- Call an elderly friend or neighbor. There are plenty of elderly Floridians who live alone without any family or friends nearby. If you happen to know of someone, pick up the phone or drop by that person’s house over the next few days. You want to make sure that person is either relocating to the nearest shelter or has the necessities to ride out the storm.
- Make sure your pets wear tags. Let’s not forget about our furry friends. In addition to stocking up on food and any medications for your pet, it is also important to make sure your pet is wearing a collar with a tag that contains your contact information. You should obviously keep your pet inside during the storm, but in case your pet gets loose and runs away you want to make sure that whoever finds your pet can get a hold of Buster’s owner.
- Fill your prescription medications. Don’t wait on this one. Call your doctor and pharmacy immediately. I also suggest stocking up on fever reducers for your entire family.
- Get some cash. In this increasingly electronic society, most people don’t carry cash anymore. But if your area loses power, those credit card machines will no longer work. You will need to keep some cash handy to pay for the basic necessities.
- Fill the propane tank for your gas grill. This will come in handy in case your power goes out. It can also be used to cook the perishable items in your fridge or freezer before they go bad.
- Locate your nearest shelter. If you decide to stay and ride out the storm, you should have an emergency evacuation plan and determine your nearest shelter. This is important if you change your mind and want to leave your house before the Hurricane makes landfall. It is also important to know this information if your residence is unsafe following the storm. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to locate your nearest shelter.
Stay safe everyone.