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10 Hurricane Preparedness Tips Learned from Experience

Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In Northwest New Jersey, where I lived for most of my life, hurricanes usually meant a power outage and lots of rain. It was never a real cause for concern. Five years ago, I moved to the Jersey Shore, not far from the beach. A few months later, Tropical Storm Irene came through. After that, Superstorm Sandy really turned my easy breezy beach life upside down.

I learned so many valuable lessons from those two storms and wanted to share some of my hurricane preparedness tips. While it’s early in the 2015 hurricane season, there is still plenty left to go (did you know it lasts through November?). Here are my top ten hurricane-tested tips:

  1. Stock up on batteries and flashlights now. When Sandy was approaching, I couldn’t find batteries anywhere. Buy them now and put them in a closet so you won’t be tempted to use them today.
  2. Stash that cash. Power outages mean credit and debit cards probably won’t work. If you know a storm is coming, make sure you have cash on hand.
  3. Gas up. Fill up your vehicles before everyone makes a mad dash to gas stations. Also, fill up spare containers if you have a generator or other necessary gas-powered items.
  4. Have an exit strategy. I have a designated hurricane backpack. Just before Sandy, I took my important documents, sealed them in a waterproof bag and threw them in the backpack. I also added in some bottled water, a flashlight, basic first-aid supplies and, because I have pets, some pet food. I also lined up my pet carriers, so they were ready to go in case I had to make a quick exit.
  5. Gather your gear. One valuable lesson I learned from Sandy was to not only check all my items (like lanterns, batteries, etc.) but also to put them in one place. You don’t want to be fumbling in the dark looking for those spare batteries. I gathered in an old shoe box batteries of all kinds, various flashlights and a battery-powered radio. I marked the box with glow in the dark tape, so it’s easy to find.
  6. Know before you go. Familiarize yourself in advance with evacuation routes and storm surge areas near you.
  7. Stock up on food. In 2012, I lived in an apartment that ran completely on electricity. That meant no stove, no heat and no water. Canned baked beans became a staple and I’m so glad I had them on hand. Always make sure you have food that doesn’t have to be cooked.
  8. Power up. When I learned Sandy was coming, I made sure all my devices were fully charged. I also charged spare batteries for those times when electricity was nothing more than a memory.
  9. Have a family plan. I made a plan with my family when phone and power lines were still up. I was able to reach out to family members who lived outside the path of Sandy and they were my main contact. It worked out because I knew the person I was calling wasn’t affected by the storm and they were able to keep tabs on everyone.
  10. There’s no time like the present. The worst time to prepare for a hurricane is during one. Take the time today to make sure you and your loved ones are as ready as they can be.

Hurricanes are scary business. While we can’t control them, we can definitely control how we react to them. Being prepared is your best defense. 

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