Community Contributor
7:25 am
Sat June 1, 2013

The 2013 Hurricane Season Has Arrived: Here's How To Prepare Without Wiping Out Your Pocket Book

I learned a few things after Andrew. I did not have my supplies prepared and had to go through the hassle of getting some of the items needed for survival. So with hurricane season officially beginning today, the idea with the list below is that you can stock up during the early part of the season for all these items, and you'll be good to go when it hits.

Many of us who live in the tropics do not seem to bother to get ready for the season until a storm start to approach, and then watch out. The idea here is to get yourself ready without breaking the bank. 

1. Food

If you are not going to evacuate, then plan on stocking up on canned goods for at least two week's worth for your family. Take an inventory now of what you need to buy. Then every time that you go to the grocery store, purchase a few of the items on that list. If you go to the store every week, by the time the height of the season hits, you will be all set.

2. Prescriptions

Make sure you have a supply of any prescribed meds available. These may be hard to get after a storm.

3. Water

I never understood why people go out and buy water when there is an easier method. Start to save all the plastic milk jugs and juice jugs that you get with your regular groceries. Wash them out and store them. When you are threatened by a storm, fill the jugs with tap water. 

4. Batteries

Same rule as food. Start to buy a pack every time you go to the store until you have enough for your needs.

5. Candles/Kerosene Lamps

Take stock and replenish during one of your grocery outings. Get fuel for the lamps if needed.

6. Ice

If you have a freezer or an extra fridge, throw a bag or two of ice in it. This helps to keep things cool when the power goes out and until you can get your generator going or more ice supplies. You can also take a couple of your gallon jugs of water and freeze those. 

7. Documentation

Make a bug-out bag in case you need it. Get a hold of your deed, your insurance documents for the house and cars, and place them in a re-sealable baggie and place those in a case or box to take with you should you have to evacuate. Now is the time to review your insurance and change any coverages as needed. When a storm goes in the "box," your insurance is frozen and no changes can be made.

8. Evacuation Plan

If you have to evacuate, make a plan now. Get your contact list together and decide where you will marshal together if your family is separated and you need to evacuate. 

9. Fuel  

Fill fuel containers now. As for propane, fill your tanks, as sources can get hard to find after a major storm. For the two cycle equipment, make sure you have enough oil for them and container(s) to keep the fuel in.

10. Generators

Now is a good time to take them out of the shed/garage an fire them up to make sure they work. Make sure the oil is fresh and they are ready to go should you need it.

11. Vehicles

Now is also a good time to have your vehicles serviced to be ready to bug out if needed.

12. Shutters

Make sure you can easily get to your shutters, and it would be a good idea to test fit a few of them. In addition, keep handy a roll of Visqueen plastic to cover furniture and several rolls of duct tape to hold it down. 

13. Pets

Buy plenty of food for them. Water should be taken care of with the jugs. 

14. Bug Spray

Yes, the beasties will be out in full force, so a good bug spray is recommended.

15. Weapons 

Make sure your weapons are clean and in readily available and that you have an adequate supply of ammo. Looters are an issue after a major storm, and nothing stops them from bothering you more than seeing that you are armed and ready.

Mike Vidal has an engineering degree from Florida International University. He has a computer repair/technology consulting business and has been in the technology field for 30-plus years. He lives in Miami now but was in Cutler Bay during Hurricane Andrew, which wiped out his power for a month and taught him about planning for storms. 

This post came from a member of the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with The Miami Herald and WLRN. Become a news source for WLRN by going to WLRN.org/Insight.