Things I learned growing up in "Hurricane Alley"
How can it already be August? Kids go back to school earlier and earlier, and retailers, online and local, have cleared out the swimsuits to make room for Halloween decorations. Seems like it should be be too early to mention hurricanes, but the fact is, we are entering peak season for these storms. Those of us in Atlanta are less directly affected, but if you remember Hurricanes Hugo or Katrina, even inland locations are subject to damaging weather, downed trees and losses of power.
Growing up on the south GA coast, I've been through a number of these big storms, and let me tell you, after living through a bad one, you never again take for granted the day-to-day "necessities" we have come to expect. Things like electric lights, a/c, a hot meal and running water are rendered unavailable at the whim of Mother Nature, and there isn't a thing you can do about it. You can, however, prepare for the worst to keep yourself and your family safe and relatively comfortable. I've downloaded the latest Emergency Preparedness info from FEMA, but there are a few things I learned as a kid that will get you through most situations.
The most important thing to know about emergencies is that they are sudden, and you have very little time to get your act together. With that in mind,
Keep on hand enough canned food for your family & pets to eat for 3-4 days. You won't have electricity, so we are talking about things like canned tuna, chicken, Spaghetti-O's, Vienna sausages, dry cereal and powdered or canned, evaporated milk (not condensed milk,) pork & beans, canned fruit, and anything else you can eat without hot water. Don't forget your pets!
Have a manual can opener in your pantry! Otherwise, you'll have lots of food you can't eat!
Make an emergency box and put it in your closet. Stock the box with candles, matches, an oil or battery-operated lantern, fuel or batteries for the lantern, a good flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a deck of cards, several board games (because your kids will get BORED,) a knife, and backup power chargers for your cell phones. Check these periodically to top off the charge.
Never, ever leave candles burning unattended! That is a lot more dangerous than the storm!
Keep 4-5 milk or juice jugs on-hand for water. See below.
Water, water, water! When you know a big storm is heading your way, fiil all the tubs with water, and make sure (in advance) it doesn't leak out. Why? If power is out more than a few days, you won't have running water, BUT you can scoop water out of the tub to flush your toilet, for personal hygiene, etc. Neat, huh? I had a smart mom.
More water... At the same time you're filling the tubs, fill every pitcher, all the milk jugs you saved, (and even bowls & flower vases if the storm is severe) with water. This is your reserve drinking supply. Plan 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, brushing teeth, etc. If you don't need the water after all, use it on your flowers or petzs. Don't skimp on water! Heavy rains bring flooding, which contaminates city water supplies, which leads to typhoid, cholera and other nasty stuff. This happened to us in high school. Our whole area had to take a series of shots for typhoid, because tap water was tainted with sewerage after a flood!
Don't open your refrigerator when the power is out. Your food will stay cold at least several hours. More if you don't open the doors.
There are many other things you can do to be uber prepared, but the simple measures I've listed, combined with a touch of common sense, will get you through. Here is a link to the FEMA publication if you want more information. Stay safe!