Local Weather
MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond

Storm Preparation - House

Can't say it often enough - don't wait to the last minute to prepare. If you do you will find the grocery stores and hardware stores and streets packed with all the other people who waited to the last minute. Frightened, disorganized people are not nice to be around. Do you really want to have to get into a fist fight over that last pack of batteries or sheet of plywood?

Have cash on hand - If the power goes out the ATM machines will not be working and the banks will not be open.

Windows - If you only taped the windows rather than putting up shutters or plywood, close all drapes and curtains on the inside of the house to catch flying glass. You might even feel the need to nail heavy blankets over some windows for further protection.

Utilities - If you are evacuating with a big storm on the way, shut off the power, water and gas. If you are staying make sure you know how to turn everything off in a hurry.

Radio, lights, batteries - Expect that the power is going to go out at some point. It is frightening to sit in the dark feeling cut off from the world, not knowing what is happening, so make sure you have a battery powered radio, flashlights, and plenty of batteries. Do yourself a favor and get appliances that all use the same size batteries, so you don't have to stock up on various sizes. (Also, when batteries go dead in one item, you can swap out from another.)

If you use candles, use a candle holder that has a glass chimney. Not only does this provide more light, it minimizes the fire hazard of a bare candle. Even better, get some of those battery powered touch-lights.

Insurance - Check your insurance coverage. There are different deductibles, and different coverage. If you wait until a hurricane is actually on it's way you won't be able to get any coverage at all.

Check into your flood insurance. You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your local insurance agent or emergency management office. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowners polices do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.

Photographs - Photograph all your valuables - TV, VCR, computer, jewelry, collectibles... I go all through the house photographing every room and all around the yard photographing the exterior. Get a picture of the car while you're at it. Take a picture of yourself in a mirror so you have a photo of the camera, too.

Paperwork - I keep a small, fireproof safe for all my most important papers - insurance, property photos, cash. When evacuating I can just throw it in the trunk of the car and have everything right there ready to go. (Don't forget to take the key!)

Weapons - Not everyone has or wants a weapon, use your own judgment. I am of the "Looters will be shot, survivors will be shot again" school. If you are keeping a weapon handy, have it and the ammunition in a safe location where you can get at it readily, but your children cannot. (You will not be permitted to take a weapon into a public shelter if you need to evacuate.)

Tools - Have necessary tools together in case there is damage to your home afterwards. You won't want to be scrambling around under a collapsed garage roof to find saws, pliers, screwdrivers and so on.

Camping Gear - Very handy when the power goes out. You don't want to be cooking on an open fire with your good cookware, do you? My camping gear is all in a big plastic tub with a lid. If I have to evacuate I can throw the whole tub in the car, and everything is already in there. Some items you will want to be sure to include are:

matches or lighters cooking utensils paper towels
grill knives aluminum foil
charcoal plates/cups/forks dish soap
charcoal lighter fluid can opener (manual) dish towels
sterno salt/pepper/seasonings toilet paper
pot holders ice chest candles
cookware for grill mosquito spray flashlight

Food and Water - Stock supplies for a minimum of 1 week.

Water - 1 gallon per person per day. Buy or fill large plastic jugs (put a couple of drops of bleach in to keep it fresh). Fill the tub, too.

Freezer - Do NOT stock up on frozen food. If the power goes out it will defrost and you will have to either eat it quickly or throw it out. DO fill the freezer with plastic jugs of water - beforehand, so it can freeze. The frozen water will keep the food cold longer, then you will have the water from the melted ice for drinking or cooking. Once the power has gone off only open the freezer or refrigerator when you have to, for as short a time as possible. (This will keep it cooler, longer.)

Some insurance policies will compensate you for the loss of frozen foods after an extended power outage. Check to make sure your policy will cover this loss.

Ice chest - Fill a large ice chest with ice. If it looks like you will have to evacuate, take out some of the ice and stock it with prepared foods (sandwiches, fruit, juice) to eat on your trip.

Groceries - Get foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little to no water, and that can be heated up or cooked on a grill or open fire. Once the power has gone off things like bread, eggs, lunch meat, cheese, milk, fruit, will need to be consumed first, before they can go bad. Some items you might want to have in the pantry:

baby food/formula potatoes canned goods:
pet food onions juice
crackers rice fruit
cookies pasta tomato sauce
chips cereal soup
salsa Mac 'n Cheese dinners ham
summer sausages toaster pastries tuna
packaged cheese jelly gravy
peanut butter instant coffee/tea milk

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