(note: As mentioned in the above post, this article was written September 13, 2004, just days before Hurricane Ivan, a Category 4 storm hit our area hard. Tim -dh- had lost his job unexpectedly just 12 days before Ivan came.)
Now, I’ll tell you some things we are doing on a limited income, since some of you also may not be able to just go out and buy all of those things listed above:
1. Look at what you already have, for example:
a. I don’t have enough candles, but I do have candlemaking supplies. Since I will have power for the next two days at least, I will make candles rather than purchase them.
b. We’re making do with our under-cabinet kitchen radio rather than buying another one. We will just unscrew it from the cabinets to carry it throughout the house with us. Our kids also have some headset radios that they use as walkie-talkies. We’ll use them, if needed, to listen to the news updates.
c. I’m baking bread and making cookies. We don’t have the extra money to buy convenience items already made. I will store the baked items in containers like Tupperware. I will make some healthier items like whole wheat bread and blueberry muffins.
d. Rather than purchasing water, we are going to fill pitchers and water containers with the drinking water that we can get out of the faucet now.
e. We don’t have a tarp, but we have a roll of plastic that we bought for Hurricane Opal years ago. We’ll use that, if need be.
2. Natural disasters create a mess! Don’t start out with a mess, or it will be much worse for you. Start now to clean the house:
All important paper items need to be stored in waterproof containers. We are using some Rubbermaid totes that we have already.
Pick up loose items that will hurt your feet when you walk around in the dark when the power is out.
Put books and other papers in waterproof containers or at least get them off the floor if your storm is a watery one.
Do the dishes.
Make the beds.
Mop and vacuum
Straighten up anything you can. With the power out, you need everything to be already in its place so you can find it when needed
3. Be prepared. If you have the luxury, as we do, of knowing a storm is coming, you can start getting ready days ahead. Here is my list:
Charge the chargeable flashlights.
Charge the cellphones.
Charge the digital camera and clear it for ample storage after taking photos of the house (pre-storm) for insurance purposes. Email those pictures to someone in another state for safekeeping, or create a photo CD and keep it with the important papers.
Bake items now for eating when the power is out.
Have insurance and emergency information in a place where you can find it easily.
Pack a bag in case you have to get out fast. Put in a change of clothing for everyone, snacks, water bottles, and a special blanket or animal for the kids.
Pack another bag with important papers and medications along with your purse/wallet and car keys and cell phones. You will grab this bag if you have to evacuate.
Fill prescriptions and place medicine in the bag mentioned above.
Email or call someone to let them know of your plans.
If your emergency is a water one, dig any needed ditches for water run-off, clear gutters, and have tarp ready.
Have a plan for the outside animals. Our chickens are going to the garage (yuck!) if they are in danger from the high wind speeds.
Bring in the cat and dog in plenty of time.
Fill Ziploc bags now with water and place in the freezer. They will ice, keeping the freezer colder longer if the power goes out.
Fill the gas tanks of the cars (gas stations can’t pump without power).
Get some extra cash out of an ATM (ATMs don’t work without power).
Gather any loose items from the yard (we have lawn chairs and a deck box and planters)and place them in the garage or in the house.
Cover windows, if you are preparing for a windy storm, with plywood. If you can’t do that, as we cannot this year (plywood is too expensive for us now, and all stores are out of it anyway), then create a plan for what you’ll do if the windows shatter. For example, as soon as the power goes out, we are moving the television to a safe room without windows. We will move the living room furniture into safer rooms, also.
Create a “Storm Central.” We will create a space in either our master bathroom, which is large or in the hallway. We will bring in blankets, pillows, snacks, water, emergency lighting like flashlights and candles, games to play, my crocheting needle and yarn, the radio, paper, and pen, and the children will each bring a small bag filled with their favorite toys.
UPDATE: Hurricane Ivan was just awful to our area, destroying more than 40,000 homes. We had two houses affected, but Allstate, our insurance company, was more than generous in helping us repair the damage. We did not have power at our home for 7 days. When we did get power, it was from men who came from Tennessee and Louisiana just to help. We appreciated them so much! The National Guard was also appreciated. It was strange seeing our beaches protected at gunpoint, though. FEMA brought water, ice, and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat — what our soldiers eat on the field). We lived on MREs before our power came back on, as we did not have enough prepared food ready due to my husband’s recent job loss. The gas station lines were miles -literally – long since most stations were still without power and could not function. We got flat tire after flat tire from all the debris in the road. Many tornadoes were spawned from Ivan, including one that hit our land, destroying over 22 huge cedars, cypress, and oaks. Still, good things happened. Neighbors were generous, home values are still soaring, and almost everyone in the area got a new roof put on their house! ….just in time for Hurricane Dennis. 🙂
by Lori Seaborg