With Florida in the cone of uncertainty for Tropical Storm Erika, now is the time to prepare.
Here is a handy checklist to get you started:
1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers ahead of time to help keep food cool. Turn fridge to colder setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages. Fill unused plastic pitchers at home with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough snack foods in stock. Fruits that keeps well: grapes, apples, bananas. Buy bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Stock up on small wrapped cheeses, canned goods, individual meal portions.
4. Cook and eat perishable foods and items in your freezer. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out.
5. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
6. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another online address with your most recent files. Back up to a thumb drive that you can carry around.
7. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
8. Do the laundry.
9. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
10. Fill gas tank in car.
11. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATM’s won’t work in a power failure.
12. Pay bills.
13. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics.
14. Prepare list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room. Buy extra batteries, cooking fuel if necessary, duct tape, and plastic sheeting. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud.
21. Clean your bathtub and fill it with water. You can use this to wash if the water supply is contaminated.
22. Invest in a battery-run fan and a solar or battery-crank radio (you crank the handle to charge it).
23. Get a good paperback book to read.
Watch the weather reports at:
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Navy Tropical Cyclone Page: http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/TC.html
National Weather Service, Miami: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/
The Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/
Broward County Hurricane Page: http://www.broward.org/hurricane/Pages/Default.aspx