It’s been 20 years since Hurricane Bob walloped us and it looks like Hurricane Irene is set to do the same on Sunday night.
I was an oblivious 16-year-old in 1991 and had no fear or real grasp of how bad things could have gotten during the storm.
Even as I write this, we are unsure exactly what track Hurricane Irene will take or how strong she will be when she hits us, if she hits us at all.
However, there are some measures we all can take to minimize the risk of danger and injury to our neighbors and ourselves. I am also writing this with hopes that because I have shared my preparedness list with you, Hurricane Irene will make an about face and retreat because we are all so well prepared!
My husband, thank goodness, has always been my own personal “survivor man," and after years of Nor’easters and snowstorms, we have a foul weather plan that we use for most every severe storm.
His motto has always been, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best."
It may sound extreme but we’ve never worried about the “what-if’s” that a storm like Hurricane Irene might bring. We don’t do this for every storm that comes our way, but when the experts say “batten down the hatches,” we listen!
Aside from the things I mention below, use your judgment when it comes to safety should the storm get that bad. Don’t go out riding around to look at damage during storm, and certainly stay away from the beaches.
If you are called for a mandatory evacuation, LISTEN! It’s not just for your safety, but the safety of our police and firefighters who don’t need to be put in any additional risk because you didn't listen.
Here is a list of things to consider in preparation for whatever Hurricane Irene has in store:
1. Clean Up Your Yard- Walk through your yard and bring in smaller items that could be projectiles if the winds get too high. Anything that you can’t bring in should be tied down and secured or laid down as flat as possible to minimize the risk of the wind picking it up and taking it with you. Remember, if the winds get that bad, it’s not just your own house you’re protecting; it’s your neighbors, too. Put plywood over large windows and place masking tape diagonally across others to minimize the risk of injury from shattered glass. Take pictures of your yard before the storm in case you need to file an insurance claim.
2. Pack An Emergency Bag- My husband and I have a staunch “we will not retreat” attitude when it comes to storms and our home, but we still pack one bag with a change or two of clothes and an extra pair of shoes and a second with a couple canned goods (with can opener) just in case. Toss in an emergency first aid kit. If you have pets, be sure to remember their food as well. Be sure to include a list of all your credit card numbers and contact phone numbers for any company you need to contact. You may also want to pack your cell phone charger, homeowners or renters insurance policy, and some small personal effects like a few family photographs or jewelry that couldn’t be replaced if your house was severely damaged.
3. Gas Up- Fill your car’s tank and remember get extra if you have a gas-powered chain saw.
4. Have Cash On Hand- Even if it’s just a couple day’s worth of grocery money, be prepared for stores to not have power for their credit card or debit machines and for ATM’s to be unavailable as well.
5. Stock Up On Non-Perishables- I’m not saying go all “bread and milk” on this storm, but some extra cans of soup, tuna fish and some bottled water for drinking can’t hurt. Even if you buy an extra can of soup here and there, you’ll be ready. Remember, hurricane season runs until Nov. 1.
6. Fill Up Your Bathtub- If we lose power for a couple of days, you can use this water for dishes, flushing toilets, and bathing while being able to save the bottled (expensive) water for drinking.
7. Turn Your Refrigerator Up- Same goes for your freezer. If we lose power, it will keep things colder or frozen for that much longer.
8. Put Things Up On Shelves- If you have important things in your basement, be sure to put them up high in case of flooding.
9. Have A Pet Plan- If you have to evacuate, what will you do with your pets? Can you bring them with you? Every time I think of all the abandoned pets after Hurricane Katrina, it breaks my heart. Their lives are your responsibility. Keep them safe.
10. Have An Escape Plan- Heaven forbid that this storm gets that bad, but if you do need to make a break for it, where will you go? Take 10 minutes, sit down with your family, and plan this out.