Last-Minute Guide to Hurricane (and All Disaster) Preparedness
If you live or have ever lived on the East Coast, you know one of our favorite hobbies is freaking out over the impending doom of any weather that could possibly wipe us off the face of the planet.
Sometimes the precautions we take are overzealous. I remember class being cancelled at my elementary school due to fog. Other times, we have every right to clean out every grocery store of water, canned goods, and shovels to dig emergency underground shelter. “Snowmageddon” in 2009 dropped a record two to three feet of snow on almost every state.
I won’t blame these freak storms on Global Warming, but I will blame Hurricane Sandy on Donald Trump, as I do not believe his role in the destruction of our society can be overstated.
Hurricane Sandy plans to wreak havoc on the Mid-Atlantic, with predictions of up to 80 miles-per-hour winds, as much as 10 inches of rain, storm surges on beaches of up to eleven feet above ground level, and even snow before Halloween, which has led to news channels dubbing Sandy “Frankenstorm.” Residents are evacuating parts of New York, New Jersey and Delaware, and governors are declaring states of emergency in Maryland and other states.
No matter the outcome of Hurricane Sandy, it’s better to over prepare than wish you had when you had the chance.
For the best ways to batten down the hatches for Frankenstorm, I called my grandmother, our family’s resident expert in disaster anxiety. She still has canned food in her basement from Y2K. I wish I were kidding.
Here are my Grandma’s top five ways to stay safe in the worst-case scenarios of Hurricane Sandy (and all other natural disasters):
- Loss of power doesn’t just mean loss of access to Tumblr and Netflix. Depending on where you live, temperatures could reach below freezing, or at least frigid and windy. Make sure to have plenty of blankets and warm clothing to wrap up if your electricity goes out and you don’t have access to heat.
- Canned food items don’t need refrigeration, so they’re always safe to eat. But food in your fridge and freezer can easily go bad if you lose power for a significant period of time. Fill your freezer with bags of ice to keep food cool as long as possible, and don’t open the fridge to let out cool air unless absolutely necessary.
- That said, canned food isn’t anywhere near gourmet. Baked beans and fruit salad get old fast, so cook some food that tastes good cold for ahead of time. Pasta and salads kept in your freezer or a cooler will be a great break from soup and mixed veggies.
- Losing access to running water is also a possibility. Filling your tub ahead of time to help flush your toilet or take a sponge bath, or stocking up on hand sanitizer to sterilize after using the bathroom are smart suggestions.
- Low lying areas can expect flooding, which means if your car is parked in the street, your engine or inside could get really messed up. Try to park your car on high ground, like the top of your driveway or in a parking garage that doesn’t overcharge for overnight parking, could save you from vehicle damage.
These are by no means the only steps to take to stay safe during a storm. Keep up with local weather reports and read other hurricane preparedness guides to keep you and your loved ones dry and warm.
Written by Lauren Slavin
May 22, 2013
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