At the time of this writing, it is once again hurricane season in the northern hemisphere. That means you need to start preparing now if you live anywhere along the Gulf Coast, the eastern seaboard, or in the South Pacific. Coastal residents in Southern California should keep their eyes open, but their risks are much lower. At any rate, stocking up on batteries and bottled water is a good starting point.
Building codes have drastically improved over the last several decades, so much so that the biggest hurricane danger is inundation. Storm surge does a lot of damage in coastal areas. Inland, the biggest concern is the power being out for an extended amount of time. That’s why batteries, bottled water, canned foods, etc. are so important.
Stocking Up on Batteries
Batteries are like gold when hurricanes knock out power. We use them in flashlights, portable radios, and camping lanterns. Even taking pictures of hurricane damage may require reliable batteries, if you use a digital camera separate from your phone.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are generally considered superior to disposable alkaline products. But in the event of a long-term power outage, rechargeable batteries are not so good. You might want to stock up on alkaline disposables.
Pale Blue Earth, a Utah company that sells lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged with a USB cable, says that it’s important to keep your rechargeable batteries charged should you decide to trust them after a hurricane. They recommend charging the batteries in the hours leading up to the onset of the storm. That way they are freshly charged and ready to go.
Stocking Up on Bottled Water
Bottled water is critical in the aftermath of hurricane for the simple fact that municipal water may be out for a time. If you wait to buy water until the weatherman says a storm is coming, you may find store shelves bare. A better strategy is to pick up a case of water every time you do your regular grocery shopping. When a storm is approaching, you will have a good stock on hand.
If you find yourself facing a coming storm and you cannot get bottled water, you’re not necessarily out of luck. You can clean your bathtub and then fill it. It is not the ideal way of providing potable water in the aftermath of a hurricane, but it will do.
It’s smart to plan to be without running water and electricity for at least 2 to 3 days following a hurricane. It’s also smart to plan for a disruption to services even after water and electricity are restored. This suggests stocking up on some other things.
Canned foods and other dry goods are at the top of the list. Though there are some exceptions, most canned foods are already cooked. They can be eaten straight out of the can if you like. Otherwise, you can use a gas grill or wood fire to heat your meals.
If you have a gas grill, invest in a spare propane tank for hurricane season. Your grill will give you the option of cooking while your power is out. Get a few cans of gas to fuel your external generator, too. Hurricanes can disrupt supply lines for days.
One last thing to consider is any prescription medication you take. If any of your prescriptions are running low, get them refilled before a storm hits. You may have to go without pharmacy access for a time.
Hurricane season is back. If you live in a hurricane prone area, prepare yourself now. Do not wait until the weatherman says a storm is on the way.