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Preparing for a hurricane

Although hurricane season started June 1st, August and September always seem to be the busiest months. The KEY is to plan, prepare, hope the trees stay up, and NOT panic. As the tropics begin to warm up and we prepare for the upcoming season, I have put together a list of some of my favorite tips to help those prepare:

· If you have a hurricane kit, find it and refresh it. If you don’t have a hurricane kit, make sure you have these items available and in a common place: flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, matches/lighter, and first aid kit. If you don’t already have a small battery powered fan, I HIGHLY recommend you get one (or more)! · Put ALL loose items around your yard and garden away in a secure place (shed, garage, enclosed porch). Lawn ornaments, potted plants, birdfeeders, tomato cages, chairs. Anything can become a projectile in high winds. Personally, I stuff our garden décor, pots, birdfeeders, and other items into my greenhouse then ensure everything is closed/secure prior to the storm. · Fill up vehicles with gasoline. · Have cash on hand. The lack of power and/or internet services after the storm may limit some stores to only accepting cash. · Email family/friends that are out of state links to your favorite radio/news station (WFTV Channel 9). If they cannot get a hold of you, at least they can find local new information. CNN, FOX, Weather Channel will likely be showing the worst situations or conditions that are not current to your area. · Do not expect to have cell phone service. Just do not expect it. · Charge all electronics. Phones, tablets, kids devices, electric tooth brushes, battery back up packs, rechargeable fans, or any other thing that may need charging. · Wash all your dirty clothes now. You never know if you will end up without water. · Figure out the best place in your home in the event of a tornado. Whether it be a bathroom without windows, kitchen pantry, closet, etc.. Come up with a plan for pets. Will they do best in a carrier within a cabinet/small closet or will you have enough room with you? · Make sure your pets have an identification tag on them, especially if they are not microchipped. If microchipped, make sure your current information is correct. Also make sure you have enough pet food for at least a week. · If you have a low-lying area next to your house (especially if you notice it holds water in our average summer storms), sandbag them. Sliding glass doors, sand bag them. An extra sandbag or two never hurt anyone. · Do you know your neighbors? This may be the time to introduce yourself and exchange numbers. You may have an older neighbor with no family or friends nearby… ask if they need help. · If you own your home, take pictures. Especially all four exterior corners, the roof, and ceiling. This can help prove any damage that may have occurred from the storm. This is also a great time to review your policies. Do you have flood insurance? · Eat things in your fridge and freezer NOW. Stock up on water, bread, peanut butter, breakfast bars, dried or canned fruit, and any other food that doesn’t require refrigeration. If you have kids, stock up on juice boxes and lots of snacks. · If you have a propane grill, make sure you have a full can of propane. If you use charcoal, make sure you have enough charcoal and some sort of fire starter. If you have both, get both. · If you have a lot of stuff in your freezer, make ice packs with Ziploc bags, empty jugs/bottles, or Tupperware containers. Filling a gallon bag and freezing while flat can help you stack ice pack in between items. Pack as tightly as you can. · About 12 hours before the storm, lower the temperature in the fridge and freezer and DO NOT open if the power goes out. Packing the freezer with ice and lowering the temperature can keep things fresh for 12-18 hours. After 18 hours or so, I encourage grilling anything that may go bad. Do not eat any items that were not maintained at proper temperatures. · About 6 hours before the storm, take a shower. Trust me. Afterwards, fill the tub with water. You may need it to flush the toilets. If you have a top load washer, fill that too (makes a great “cooler” when filled with ice) · If you have a generator, make sure it works BEFORE the storm. Make sure you have gasoline stocked. If you need to use it DO NOT place generators near a window, in a garage, or any other place where the deadly fumes can reach your family. It should be 20 feet away from your home in an area with open airflow. · If you evacuate… take all medications, pets, important papers, cash, and any other important items with you. Also, tell a neighbor or someone in your neighborhood that you are leaving. If taking pets to a shelter, they will likely require proof of vaccines. · If you drink, stock up best case scenario: preparations turn into a day off of work/school for a hurricane party in mild conditions.

We always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Comment below if you have any other helpful tips to share when preparing for a hurricane!

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