Are these five things on your hurricane supply list?
You stocked up on batteries and canned food — good! But it’s easy to overlook some less obvious disaster supplies. Before a storm is looming, check your prep list for these five items suggested by the experts at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
All of those canned goods you bought aren’t much use without it. (More hurricane preparation at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/news/2018/05/21/prepare-for-hurricane-season-with-plenty-of-non-perishable-foods/)
Water storage containers
Every time a hurricane hits, you see news coverage of empty shelves and panicked shoppers shut out of buying bottled water. You don’t have to fight for the last case of water at the big-box store: It’s easy to sanitize containers you have around the house to safely store tap water. Take any food-grade glass or plastic storage container (empty disposable containers headed for the recycle bin are fine, but avoid milk jugs, which can grow bacteria) and sanitize it with a solution of a teaspoon of unscented household bleach in a quart of water. Rinse with clean water, and it’s good to go. You can even freeze the filled containers to help your food stay cool when the power goes out. (More info, including how much water to store, at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss439)
Contacts stored in our cell phones have erased all but a few phone numbers from our brains — plus who knows the number of the power company by heart? You might be expecting to use the internet to look up numbers or your cell phone to reach loved ones, but those resources might not be available when the network is down or the power is out. Write down important numbers, including those you might need to get your house up and running again after a storm, and keep them in a safe place, UF/IFAS Extension agents say. For tips on what to put in your ‘go bag’ should you need to evacuate, visit http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/helpful-tips/go-bag.
Corded phone, if you still have a landline
Landlines can be helpful after a storm, but if the power’s out, your cordless phone is likely out, too. Ditto for any phone that plugs into an electrical outlet. Hit the thrift shop for a low-tech corded phone (and cord) to stash in case you need it. (More post-storm supply suggestions in the UF/IFAS Extension Disaster Handbook.
Not critical for your survival, but possibly for your sanity: Gather some electric- and Internet-free things to do to pass the time while the power is out. Dust off a favorite board game, get a few books or puzzles, or stock up on craft supplies or sheet music for that new talent you’ve been too busy watching Netflix to develop.
Find more disaster preparation tips at http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu.