We haven’t had particularly good weather luck here in Massachusetts this summer. Sure there have been warm, breezy, sunny days, but in the span of the past few months we’ve also experienced tornadoes and an earthquake. Now, here comes Hurricane Irene.
Last night I bought more non-perishable food and 3 jugs of water from the grocery store. In the check-out line there were mixed reactions. While chatting with the customer ahead of me, the cashier observed, “There have been people stocking up on water and food all day long! I think this is all over-blown. What happens, happens, but I’m not going to worry about it. I think they’re the ones overreacting.” I looked down guiltily at my stacks of soup, crackers, and trail mix, and wondered if I could hide a jug of water under the counter.
I’ve been tracking the hurricane all day and reading up on storm prep. (After all, I am my mother’s daughter.) Apparently, you’re supposed to buy one gallon of water per person per day of potential captivity; a 3-day supply is listed as the minimum. A 7-day supply is the preferred quantity. Whoa, hold up — do I even have room in my apartment for that much water?! And how could I possibly drink that much in the course of a day? But after reading that, I’m concerned I won’t have enough, so I’ll be stopping at the grocery store again tonight. This time I’ll avoid the criticism and find another check-out line.
But in all seriousness, the reports show this storm could inflict massive damage, and it’s better to be over-prepared than unprepared. Here’s what The Weather Channel suggests people gather:
During a hurricane, and possibly for days or even weeks afterward, electricity and other utilities might not be available. Debris and/or water might block the roads, preventing vehicles from getting in our out of your neighborhood. Help might not reach you for days after the hurricane, so you’ll need to be completely self-sufficient during that period.
Here are some of the most critical supplies to have on hand, well before a hurricane threatens:
- At least a 3-day and preferably a 7-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Formula, diapers, and other baby supplies
- Manual can opener
- First aid kit
- Prescription and non-prescription medicines
- Cell phones and battery-powered cell phone chargers
- Battery-powered radios and flashlights
- Plenty of batteries
- Extra cash
- Blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games (especially if evacuating)
When a Hurricane Threatens
- Fill vehicles with gas.
- Get extra cash.
- Fill prescriptions.
- For mobile homes, secure tie-downs and prepare to evacuate when ordered.
- Bring in loose objects from outside.
- Prepare to secure all windows with shutters or plywood.
No later than when a warning is issued:
- Secure all windows with shutters or plywood.
- Place valuables and important papers in a waterproof container and store on highest floor
- of home.
If you are told to evacuate:
- Follow all instructions from local officials, and leave immediately when told to do so.
- Bring emergency supplies listed above.
- Bring copies of important papers such as insurance policies and list and photos of your home’s contents.
- Bring blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games.
- Unplug appliances, turn off electricity and main water valve.
- Lock windows and doors of your home.
If you are not told to evacuate:
- Stay at home! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate.
- Clean bathtub with bleach, fill with water for washing and flushing (not drinking).
- Set fridge to maximum cold and keep closed.
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by local officials.
During a Hurricane
- Go to an interior room on the lowest level of the structure in which you’re taking shelter.
- Stay away from windows and doors, even though they’re covered with shutters or
- During extremely strong winds, lie under something sturdy such as a stairwell or large piece of furniture.
- Do not go outside, not even during passage of the eye. If the eye passes directly over you, the winds could become very weak, but only for a very short period. It will not be long before hurricane-force wind resume, blowing from the opposite direction as before the eye arrived.
After a Hurricane
- Help might not come for up to a few days, and power could be out for days or even weeks.
- Avoid driving on roads covered by water and/or debris. It is often difficult to determine the depth of water covering a road. Turn around, don’t drown.
- Avoid downed power lines. Stay away from objects that are touching a downed power line, such as a fence or tree.
- Do not touch anything electrical if you are wet. Stay out of water that could be touching anything electrical, such as in a basement with electrical appliances, or in flooded areas outside where there could be downed power lines.
- Only use a generator in an outdoor, well-ventilated area, and closely follow manufacturer’s instructions. Many people have died in the aftermath of a hurricane from inhalation of poorly ventilated carbon monoxide from a generator.
- Use flashlights instead of candles for light. Candles pose a serious fire hazard.
Stay safe, stay dry, and stay hydrated and nourished. Here’s to hoping all this preparation is needless after all.
Weather: 80 degrees. Blue skies, fluffy clouds, and sun.
Anna – 7.5 out of 10. Ready to buy more supplies. Stay safe, my friends.
Hannah – 6 out of 10. Hoping everyone back home stays dry… and send some of that rain my way!