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Lessons I Learned From Hurricane IKE

With the threat from Hurricane Harvey, these lessons from IKE can be good reminders to help prepare.   A little preparation can make the hurricane much more comfortable.  Here are some things I learned during IKE.

  • You should be stocked and self-sufficient for 4 – 6 days. Think through what your family will be eating and drinking.  How do you cook or open the containers without electricity?   Plan on a case of water a day for 3 – 4 people.
  • Don’t forget about your pets.  Make sure you have plenty of food and water for them.  If you have to evacuate, you need to have a plan for them as well.   Many shelters don’t take pets.
  • You don’t want to depend on the government. (remember people sitting in their cars for hours for a case of water??) Create plan & get what you need early. Stores close earlier than you think.
  • If you are in low lying areas that can flood or in the path of the storm surge, GET OUT. The force of flooding water is tremendous. Park your car in a multi-story cement parking garage if you can, not on the roof and not on the lowest floors.
  • Flashlights and spare batteries– be sure they work! Battery powered lanterns that you use for camping work great.
  • Fill the bathtub with water for flushing; fill pitchers with water for drinking. We bought a couple of new trash cans put them in one of our bathtubs and filled them with water.
  • Fill large Ziplock bags with water before the hurricane is supposed to arrive and freeze them. If your power goes off, you can put these in a cooler with food or drinks, and they will last a couple of days.
  • Refrigerate as much water as possible before the Hurricane. Easier to keep it cold than to get it cold.
  • Check now to see if you have a dry ice company in your area. Dry ice works great in the bottom of a refrigerator to keep it cold.
  • Freeze as many water bottles as you can. It will keep your refrigerator cold in a power outage and then you can drink them. Buy UHT milk or powdered milk. Stock up on canned and paper goods. Make sure you have a manual can opener!
  • Check your camping equipment – a good propane stove can be a lifesaver. Make sure you have extra propane tanks in your GARAGE (not inside the house). Think about how you’re going to cook. Gas Grill – make sure you have a full propane tank.   If you don’t normally camp, it’s worth considering buying some pieces that would really help in an emergency.
  • Battery powered fans – They can be a life saver.
  • Battery-powered radios and TVs can give you information.
  • Bring inside any plants or outdoor furniture that can fly away. Flying debris breaks windows.
  • Look at the trees around your house.  If they fall, which part of your house will be safest? Cut out dead branches and dangerous overhanging limbs.  Do this now.
  • Fill up your car’s gas tank and all your extra gas cans. Do this when a hurricane enters the Gulf and then keep your tank filled. When power is out, many gas stations don’t work either. Plus, the gas supply is not set up for demand surges.
  • Refill any prescriptions that you might need in the next week or two.
  • Telephones – You most likely will use your cell phone – remember extra batteries or car chargers.  Cell phones can go down in an emergency – the towers may be down, or the lines will be jammed.  Texting can be a good way to go.  If you use a land line – remember standard old-style (non-cordless, non-internet) phone will generally work in a power outage.  Be sure you have at least one extension that does not need electricity.
  • If you use bean coffee, grind some now while you have power! (No fun using a mortar and pestle).
  • Think about being without electricity and the internet for a week.  What would you miss most? Think back, you could read, play cards and board games – be sure you have a full deck!
  • If you have kids, think about how you’re going to entertain them. Extra batteries for their handheld Games can be a life saver.

Pamela Kehoe