Hurricane Season: Key Word is Preparation

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Hurricane season is always a stressful time, but hurricane season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic adds another layer of anxiety. The key to dealing with hurricanes any year – but especially this year – is preparation.

Think about the crowds that flood the grocery store whenever a hurricane looks to be headed this way. Those are not the type of crowds that one would want to be around during a pandemic. There have also been times of uncertainty as far as store inventory goes since the pandemic started. In order to retain some social distancing for yourself and ensure that you don’t get stuck without some needed supplies, the best thing to do is start preparing now.

So here’s your top 10 list of things to do before a hurricane.

  1. Check your emergency supplies. Look to make sure that you have a flashlight and a battery-powered radio. It’s also good to ensure that you have some first aid supplies in case of emergency. Don’t just make sure those things are there. Verify that they all still work and that nothing is expired. Write down what types of batteries are needed for any devices you have.
  2. Stock up on batteries. In case the electricity goes out, you don’t want to be stuck without any type of power. Write out a list of devices and equipment that would run on batteries should power go out. Include the type of battery that each one requires. Make sure to buy multiple sizes in case you forgot about something you might need.
  3. Pick up at least one power bank for your mobile devices. While you’re buying batteries, you might as well pick up at least one power bank. Power banks are small batteries that, once charged, can be used to independently charge your phone or USB device without another power source. Having that ability to charge your phone in an emergency situation could be critical. These power banks come in many different sizes and prices.
  4. Pick up some extra water and canned goods. Don’t feel you need to buy everything all at once. Consider what you might need for a few days and then make a wish list. As you go to the grocery store or place your online grocery orders, add one or two of those items at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have everything you need. Pick up a manual can opener if you don’t have one already.
  5. Do a home inspection. With no hurricane currently targeting our area, it’s a good time to take stock of your home. Is there anything broken? Any wood rotted? Any leaks in the roof? If you have a generator, is it in working order? These are all things that you can evaluate and fix now so that they won’t be a bigger problem if a storm hits. If you need to hire someone to help, it will much easier to schedule without an impending hurricane.
  6. Organize your yard. Items from your yard can act like projectiles in the ferocious, swirling winds of a hurricane. That includes tree branches. Now is a good time to look around and see if there’s anything that can be picked up or secured. Trim those tree branches, especially weak or damaged ones, to reduce the risk of damage caused by trees. If there are any branches that are near power lines, call BPUB to request a tree trimming. BPUB’s contractor only trims tree branches near power lines. Your tree might even qualify for BPUB’s trade a tree program.
  7. Set aside some ice. This can be really handy in the event of a prolonged power outage, especially if you have medicines that need to be refrigerated or kept at a certain temperature. Buy a bag or two of ice now and put it in the back of your freezer. If you have an ice maker, set aside a bag or other storage container that you can fill and keep in the back of your freezer. If hurricane season passes and it wasn’t used, you will always be able to use for the next time you have company over. Don’t forget the ice chest!
  8. Get a non-electric grill. Propane and charcoal don’t run on electricity, which means that they are a good way to have hot meals when there’s no power for your stove and oven. Check to make sure that your propane tank is full. You don’t want to realize you’re out of gas when you need it. Only use the grill according to the safety instructions indicated for the product. Charcoal grills shouldn’t be used inside and should only be used outside when weather conditions are safe.
  9. Plan your evacuation and update contacts. This might be a little tricky at the current time because there are several factors to consider. Not only do you need to consider where to go to be safe from wherever the storm is projected to hit but you might also want to consider what the active COVID-19 cases are in that area. Keep a few locations in mind for evacuation locations and be ready to adjust depending on COVID-19 and storm factors. Also, get out a pen and some paper and write down important names, phone numbers and addresses. If your phone is lost, damaged or without power, this will allow you to still have key contact information.
  10. Get your vehicle checked. Don’t wait until the last minute for that oil change or tune-up. Do it now to make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Check your tires, including your spare. The last thing you need is a flat during a storm. These are all things that are easy to put off now, but they could ultimately be your undoing later if you don’t address them.