Hurricane Preparedness – The Ultimate List

Lets meet MJ. Our newest blog writer here on Pagan Preparedness. Most of MJ’s adult life has been connected with the emergency preparedness field. In the military she assisted with evacuations from typhoons in the Philippines and Guam. In the late 80’s she worked as a military Ombudsman, and assisted dependents, families, and neighbors who weathered hurricane Hugo and its aftermath. Her work with the Lowcountry’s Emergency Preparedness divisions scanned over thirty years.

MJ is an established Crone in the local Pagan community Here in the Low Country of South Carolina

Hurricane Preparedness – The Ultimate List


It’s here, hurricane season,
and in the middle of a pandemic. How is YOUR Hurricane Preparedness? It is time to shift our mindset into getting ready for weathering out a storm, and for bugging out if necessary. Both are important, but preparing yourself, you family, and your home, for the chance that you may need to leave, and leave quickly, is going to make a difference in keeping everyone together, and safe, and loosing everything. So let’s get started.

The Fujiwhara Effect.

When two hurricanes spinning in the same direction pass close enough to each other, they begin an intense dance around their common center. If one hurricane is a lot stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit it and eventually come crashing into its vortex to be absorbed. Late last week it was a good possibility.  Currently that MAY not happen, Marco is set to hit the gulf coast Monday, and Laura later in the week. If they both hit the gulf coast at the same time it could have been  rough ride. 

It’s time to do some research. Here are the sites I recommend:

  1. From our favorite people, the CDC:
    https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/hurricanepreparedness/index.html
  2. Ready.gov – https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
  3. From the NOAA – https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness
  4. And finally, the Red Cross – https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/hurricane.html

It’s a lot, I know, so let’s break this down into the component parts. First, now, well before any storm forms, let’s talk about what to do before, what to take if you need to evacuate, and what you need if you are going to stay.

Right now, before a storm is even named, you need to do these chores:

Take a video of everything in your house. You will need it for replacement purposes. Everything. Take pictures, upload them to the cloud, onto your computer, and onto a thumb drive. Most of us have phones capable of taking good quality videos/photo’s. Once they are uploaded and backed up, you can delete them from your phone. Do this one room at a time. It’s easier that way.

Get your paperwork together. Everything you will need if you have to leave. Insurance paperwork: cars, boats, house1, renters, health, and I can’t stress this enough, animal shot records. Make sure you have your car’s vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Put it all in one folder, and put that folder in a box or bag that is easily recognizable. We actually have a portable safe that we can pick up and put in the back of the vehicle. More about that later.

Print out a list of medications, allergies, and any other important medical data for each member of your household. That includes your animals. If you can, get your physician to issue you scripts for two months’ worth of each medication. You can get them filled elsewhere if necessary.

Keeping it cool.

If you are diabetic, and take insulin, look into buying a portable refrigerator that runs off of your car’s 12v outlet. I am getting this one because it is both AC/DC, but do your own research, and read the reviews!  

There are smaller ones, like these two: Wagan Mini Fridge and the Astro AI Mini Fridge
They cost less, but only hold a few things. I like them because they have a hard shell, but it’s not big enough to hold what I need if we are going to be on the road for a day or more.

There are bigger ones, but they carry a much higher price tag, and they take up valuable space.

Start a list of all perishable & non-perishable food and sundry items you will need! There are lots of lists you can copy from the sites listed above, but you need one that works for your family. Prepare this list with the knowledge that you will have to fit everything, and everybody, into your vehicle.

Getting your stuff together

I started my list using everything I used from the moment I woke. Bathroom: tp, toothpaste, soap,towels. Kitchen: coffee, sugar, creamer, breakfast items (so I need mugs, utensils, a French press if I really want coffee, and wipes). I have a portable fridge so I can take a small creamer, some sliced cheese, yogurt, a small jar of jelly, and sliced fruit. Garbage bags. You will need these for lots of things, and you should get the best you can afford. Dinner is a little trickier, but you can figure out what you need to make food on the go. Canned is going to be the way to go. Soup, canned meats & fish, vegetables, fruits, all of these will help you to feed everybody for several days. You are looking for portability and convenience.

Pack it up.

As a side note, try to stay away from junk food. If you are going to be in a car with a gaggle of kids, you do not want them cranky from sugar or fat overload. Chewing gum is a treat that lasts for a while. Remember, you need paper towels, utensils including a can opener, salt & pepper, and anything else you touch in the course of a day. Make sure you have a small container of bleach, and Kleenex. You should also give each person their own pillow and blanket.

I have these pillows that you can smoosh into their little bag. It saves room when traveling. Everyone can have a little blanket to call their own.I have a small bag for person in my household that contains travel size soaps, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, and wipes. I also put in a washcloth, a small bag of tp just in case, and the meds each person needs for two days. If the child isn’t old enough to take responsibility for their bag, I keep it in mine.

My bag is a huge dry bag, which is actually what I use in my kayak to keep things from getting wet. It has come in handy several times. All of the travel size sundries can be purchased at Dollar Tree.

Organize and plan

Once you tackle that list, you need to have those items on hand. Every time I shop, I buy at least one day’s worth of items from the list and put them in a marked box. I have three boxes: towels, small cleaning and laundry supplies, and two days’ worth of clothes per person go in one, canned goods and non-perishable food products in the second, and everything else including utensils, the French-press, phone and medical devices & chargers in the third. I put each person’s clothes in a 2-gallon plastic bag, and mark the outside of it with their names. It helps.

The Freezer

Start eating down the contents of your freezer. You will not be able to take it with you, and if you lose power for any length of time, you will come home to some disgusting contents. Do you know what coffin flies are? You will if you leave food in your freezer.

Infotainment

Look at your portable electronics. Laptops, cell phones, game boys, tablets, portable DVD players. All of these need their chargers. If you have the capability of downloading books, and games, do it! Games like ‘Words with Friends’ are a great way to keep from going crazy if you are suck in traffic. Prepare as if you are going to be on the road for a minimum of two days. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Water

I am putting this in its own segment because it is extremely important. Water. You need a minimum of 1 gal/per person/animal/per day. You also need to have water for washing hands & other body parts. I have two five-gallon containers that are clearly marked H20. If I can bring both, I do. One if I don’t have enough room, but I try to always have room for two. Take a look at an earlier blog post on water.

Your vehicle.

Gasoline and car maintenance. While this is at the end of the items to start your preps, it is only slightly less important than water. As soon as they name a storm that even hints at coming our way, I fill up my vehicles, and I put a five-gallon container in the garage for each vehicle. I also have a smaller (filled) gas can so that if needed, I can transfer gas from the big container, to the smaller one so that I can put gas in my tank. These containers are clearly marked in big black letters,

GAS! You will be running your car’s AC continually, and everybody is going to be on the road trying to get gas at the last minute. Getting off the road may be an issue, so it is important that you have everything your car needs too.Now is the time to have your car checked out, your oil changed, your fluids checked, and your tires rotated. Check your spare to make sure it is serviceable and learn how to change a tire!

Wrapping it up.

A will. If you don’t have one, get one. Get a living will, and an advanced directive while you are at it. I pay for a monthly legal service that prepared my will at no cost. That service has saved me over $10,000. It’s worth looking into. Let me know if you want more information.

Cash. You should try to have $100/per person in cash. More if possible. Many places will not be able to run cards. Start putting the green away now. $5 at a time, more if you can.

Get your windows fitted for plywood. Do it now. Make sure you have a good power drill, and the proper bits and screws to fix them to the house.

When you get to where you’re going.

If you plan on going into a campground you will need everything necessary to camp. Tents, sleeping bags, paperwork for your animals (you need to make sure that the campground will let you bring your pets), food, cooking gear, etc.

If there is even the remotest possibility of you deciding to stay, invest in compost toilets and, if at all possible, a honey wagon. Look at these two portable toilets:
A. This one is a nice little. portable chemical toilet. It will fill up fast. Thus the need for a honey wagon.

B. This one is a lot cheaper, but still… It is called a Luggable Loo Seat and Cover, and it is available from Amazon,  Cabela’s and WalMart too.

Firearms.

If you are bringing a firearm(s), you need to print out the laws regarding carrying in all the surrounding states. This means Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and any other state you think you may end up in. Please stay away from New Jersey. NJ sucks for people who carry. Just saying.

I am going to talk abut my portable safe here because I can store an additional handgun, along with my vital papers, and whatever jewelry I cannot abide leaving behind. It is one of the best investments I have ever made, and if you are traveling through a state that requires you to have your guns locked apart from your ammo, I can put the extra clips in the safe, and the guns in the console. If I must separate the firearm from the clip, I carry one clip on me, or in the pooka in the door.

You may think you are going one way, and get forced to that another route, or enter a different state. PLAN ACCORDINGLY

Know the laws! I use two sites:
A. https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/

B. https://www.nracarryguard.com/resources/gun-laws-by-state/

Let’s talk about what you need to do if you are going to leave.

Gather everything we talked about in the list above. Make sure you have all of your paperwork, food & sundries, clothes, and cash. Check your lists. Make sure your boxes are clearly marked with their contents.

Gas up your vehicles and spare gas containers. Fill up your water containers. Get your food in the car.

Get your cash and firearms.

Make sure that you have notified your family that you are evacuating. It is good to have important people listed in your phone with an ICE in front of their names. The authorities will look for the In Case of Emergency (ICE) contacts if necessary.

Know where you want to go. You may be diverted, but it is always good to have a destination in mind. If at all possible, have a printed map of the surrounding states, or printed driving instructions. Do not rely on your electronic GPS.

If you are going to a shelter that accepts animals, you must have a carrier for each pet, their vaccination records, food and water, and waste disposal bags. You may want to have the pet carriers even if you are not going to a shelter. Animals need a place where they can feel safe.

Get the outside ready

Go outside and remove/store anything that could fly away. Put table and chairs inside the garage if necessary. Remove anything that is hanging. Anything left outside has the potential to become a missile.

Unplug everything possible. Turn your AC unit off. Unplug your major appliances. If at all possible, throw the main breaker to your house off. Make sure that if you are taking your computer/laptop, you have all the cables!

Get out early. I can’t stress this enough. Leave ahead of the rush. Not only will you get out ahead of everybody else, but you will have a better chance of arriving at your destination in hours instead of days. If you wait, count on being in traffic for three hours for every normal hour of travel. For example, if you are going to head to Atlanta, a normal 4 ½ hour trip will take you almost a full day. Nobody wants that. Especially if you have kids.

Please check on your neighbors. I have several older neighbors who do not want to leave, no matter how bad the storm is going to be. I rat them out to their children, some of whom are in separate time zones. If necessary, contact the local police department, and let them know that there are endangered elderly who will not leave. I am not above throwing them into my car, so long as their kids agree.

What to do if you are going to stay

Do everything in the list above as if you were going to leave. Gather all of your important papers. Make sure they are in a waterproof container – even a freezer bag will work.

You need to be prepared to go for days, weeks even, without power. We have two generators. One is just for the A/C. The other one is for the kitchen fridge. That’s it. Just those two things will make living in the aftermath somewhat acceptable.

Generator

If you plan on using a generator, you will need gas, and lots of it. Plan on having at least four five-gallon containers to get you through a couple of weeks. More if you have an older, or larger generator. We go through two gallons of gas every eight hours just for the smaller generator. Maybe it isn’t necessary to keep the fridge going. Also don’t forget to have engine oil for the generator. Most recommend an oil change every 10 to 15 hours of operation.

If the electrical grid gets shut down, and they have to shut it down in most severe cases, count on not being able to flush your toilet. You can make a simple compost toilet to get you through a few days. You need to plan on having this available for at least a week, maybe more. I talked about portable honey wagons above, along with a couple of toilets. You have to have someplace to safely dispose of your waste. It will make you appreciate your local water & sewer company.

More Lists

In addition to all the lists above, you will need the following:
Flashlights
Batteries
Oil lamps & smokeless/odorless oil
Matches, and waterproof if you can get them
Candles
Buckets, as in multiple. Get a few of the 5-gallon buckets from your home improvement store.
Bug spray. You are going to be outside a lot. The mosquitoes are fierce this time of year.
Heavy gloves for outside work, and rubber gloves for inside cleaning chores.
Fire extinguishers

Make sure you have a list of emergency contacts with you, as well as your medical history and medicine list.

Fill your tub, and any other leakproof container, with water. Make sure you have bleach.

Watch for the phone number of your local police/sheriff’s department and let them know that you are staying. If they are forced to come get you, you will not be able to take anything with you, and they will not take your pets. Just saying.

The Aftermath


It’s over, and now you have to face the daunting task of returning and getting repairs underway. Before you do anything, you need to know that most of the accidents, and many of the fatalities happen when people try to do repair work, remove trees, or fix roofs themselves.

If you have evacuated, you will not be able to return until the authorities have deemed it safe. This could take weeks. If you have someone in the area who can check on your home, make sure they have your contact information, and the number for your ICE contacts.

Make life a little easier on yourself by doing the following:

You were smart, and you have the number to your insurance company at hand. The second you can, contact your insurance company and let them know that your home and/or property has damage. Take photos! If you can remove any of the debris safely, then do it slowly, and with forethought. You do not want to suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or an amputated extremity. Ascertain the amount of damage and don’t do anything you would not normally do!

Call your family and let them know that you are safe. Insurance first, then family. It will save you weeks of waiting for an adjuster to arrive if you are first on the list.

Ensure that your supplies are safe, and that you have access to water and food. You can’t do anything if you don’t have them.

If you put up plywood over your windows, you can take some of them down. It shows potential looters that someone is there. Having said that, you need to be prepared for the possibility of someone trying to get into your home. Your electronic security system will not be working. That means that the only thing you have to rely on is you.

Be Aware

Check on your neighbors, and their property. If they have sustained damage, take photos. Leave a note and let them know that you have photos for them. If you didn’t know your neighbors before, now is a great time to meet them.

Find others in the neighborhood and form a modified neighborhood watch. You don’t have to go all vigilante, but it is good to know that there are other people in your area that you can depend on, and who can depend on you.

People outside of your area will know more about what is going on than you do. Keep in touch with family and friends who are outside of the strike zone.

Be CAREFUL

You may not have access to electricity, but if your vehicle is operational, you can charge your cell phone. If there is a lot of damage to your home, you can use it as shelter.

Do not touch any downed electrical wires and be damned careful once the power comes back on. Have your fire extinguishers out in the open and know how to use them.

If you have made it all the way here, I have one final thing to say. You can replace things. You can’t replace a life. Be safe, be smart, and if the order comes to leave, be ready.

 

With much love,

MJ the Crone

1 If you are covered by FEMA you will want to ensure that you have all of your payments made weeks before a storm strikes. There is a period of up to two weeks before a storm hits, that you will not be able to increase your coverage or pay your premium if you are in default. Find the money and get insurance.

 

One Response to “Hurricane Preparedness – The Ultimate List

  • It really comes down to daily preps. Do something every single day, and you will find it a lot easier if you have to evacuate.

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