Tag Archives: hurricane preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness Tips You’ll Never Hear on TV

You can learn a lot about how to prepare yourself and your family for a natural disaster by watching The Weather Channel or your local news.  They will tell you what to expect in terms of winds or flooding, where the nearest evacuation centers are, and when schools and businesses reopen after the event.  Unfortunately, these highly trained experts miss a lot of the really important stuff.

  1. Shave your legs early and often.  Personal hygiene is important, and if your water treatment facility or pumping station loses power, you’ll need a waterless alternative to your daily ritual.  Think about how long you could stand to go without a shower, shampoo, or shave.  I know.  It’s not very long, is it?  You can buy moist towelettes to wash your face and body without water.  (Stay away from baby wipes.  Do you really want to smell baby fresh?  Target has some store brand cucumber and white tea or citrus ones.)  I see lots of new dry shampoos on the store shelves, too.  Never tried them, but I would be more than willing if the alternative was dirty hair for several days.  Unless you have a battery-powered razor, though, you would be smart to shave your legs right before the storm hits and as it’s passing through, if possible.  Dry shaving is just painful.
  2. Go to the library.  Or the craft store.  What are you planning to do with all of that time?  You can only watch the wind blow for so long before you get stir-crazy.  A big stack of books to read is my idea of hurricane preparedness.  If you are not a big reader, get a craft project ready.  Maybe you could spend those hours knitting or making jewelry.  Write letters to your Grandma.  Think about it.  This is the perfect time to do some of the stuff you say you never have time for.
  3. Charge you iPod.  Trust me.  You will want to drown out the noise.  Yes, the wind will sound scary, but what I’m talking about is the whining.  Kids who are cooped up inside without electricity can make an awful racket.  And you may want to think beyond ear buds.  Noise cancelling headphones, baby.
  4. Bake something ahead of the storm.  Face it.  The prospect of eating tuna or a granola bar for breakfast is depressing, and you don’t need any more of that in the wake of a natural disaster.  Banana bread, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls.  That’s the sort of pick-me-up that will put a smile on your face when you can’t make coffee and you have sweated through another air conditioning-less night.  Butter cake, chocolate chip cookies, or brownies work just as well.  Make oatmeal cookies, and you can tell yourself that they’re nutritious.
  5. Invest in a rain suit.  I’m talking about a heavy-duty raincoat with a hood, rain pants, boots, the whole thing.  You know how normally your dog will just go right out to the backyard to do his business?  Not gonna happen in a hurricane.  You will be forced to brave 50+ mph winds and sideways rain so that your dog can pee on your neighbor’s mailbox instead of in your house.  You have some choices here.  You can choose something brightly colored so that you look good out there and your neighbors will be able to spot you when a tree limb slams into you and knocks you unconscious in the street.  Or you can go with a neutral color or camouflage pattern so that no one will recognize you as that fool walking their dog in a Category 2 hurricane.

So there you have it.  Five tips from a pro.  File them away for the next big disaster.  It may be this summer’s next hurricane or the winter’s first blizzard.  Really.  You’ll thank me.

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There’s Prepared, and Then There’s PREPARED

Unless you live in the Caribbean, it’s easy to forget about hurricane season.  Yes, the local paper will throw in an insert about tracking and preparing for hurricanes.  And maybe the weather guy will take a quick look at the tropics just to remind us that it’s that time of year.  Mostly, though, few of us give even a passing thought to the potential for hurricanes when there are vacations to pack for, back-to-school shopping to complete, or grass to cut–AGAIN.  But just like that, a storm takes shape and begins to churn toward North America.

NOAA/NCEP

Let the panic ensue!  Actually, the Uncommonhousewife is something of a pro when it comes to hurricane preparedness.  As any Navy wife will tell you, you’re on your own when it comes to surviving a hurricane because your spouse has more important things to do: namely, get his ship to safety.  I had been married just over a year when I met this reality for the first time.  I made some mistakes.  For instance, I learned that you should never bring your gas grill into the house, even if it’s your only means of preparing food after the storm leaves you without electricity.  Also, taping windows may keep them from shattering into a million pieces, but it’s really hard to remove after the storm has moved on.  And a word about non-perishable food.  If you wouldn’t eat it on any given day, you probably won’t want it in a hurricane either.  Vienna sausages, deviled ham, spam all fall into this category.

So after 19 years of facing natural disasters on my own, I’ve gone way past rookie status.  Along comes Hurricane Irene, and I’m ready.  Bottled water.  Check.  Flashlights. Check.  Batteries. Yep.  Food. Ready.  This storm, though, looked so menacing that Darling Husband decides a portable generator is a must-have.  In the past, you understand, if a storm causing a multi-day power outage was on the way, I would have left town.  And I did evacuate a few times.  But this time Darling Husband isn’t assigned to a ship, and we live far enough inland not to worry about storm surge and flooding.  Wind damage and living without electricity are what we fear most.

Enter this bad boy.  The Generac GP5000.  Saw it at the Navy Exchange and grabbed it.  It will run for 8 hours on 6 gallons of gas.  We got another gas can, too.  Two days before the storm, we had generator and 15 gallons of gas ready to go.

And wouldn’t you know, our power never went out.  It flashed on and off several times so that I had to keep resetting the microwave clock.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was thrilled to have air conditioning and free access to the refrigerator.  TV and internet as the storm raged outside–priceless.  But now what do we do with the generator?  Keep it for the next one, just in case?  Or return it and get our $600 back?  Is there such a thing as being too prepared?  If we lived on the Gulf coast of Florida or on the Outer Banks of North Carolina this wouldn’t be an issue.  We would have bought a generator and held on to it long ago.  But do we really need one in case another once-in-a-lifetime hurricane comes our way?

What else does one use a generator for, anyway?  Maybe camping.  Or RV-ing.  Of course, we don’t do either of those things.  So for now, I have a 200-lb. dilemma sitting in my garage.  When you think about it, that’s quite a blessing.  It’s certainly better that having a foot of water on the ground floor or a tree in the living room.  Yes, God is good.

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