With Dorian set to hit the east coast of Florida on Monday, the time to prepare is now, not Sunday night.
As with many other things in our lives, preparation is often an afterthought, especially when it comes to natural disasters. Hurricane season can be a scary time, especially in the southeastern part of the United States where Hurricanes are the most common. Below are a few highlights of things that you should be shopping for upon hearing the news of an imminent hurricane.
Water - while water is the most basic essential thing to sustain human life, it becomes even more important during times of tragedy, or natural disasters. If you happen to swing by a grocery store in Florida on Sunday night, I dare to say that there won't be a package of water in sight. Stock up on enough of the H20 to last about a week minimum, but DON'T overdo it - if you usually drink 2 bottles a day, plan it that way. Don't walk out of Wal-Mart with 10 packs of water if you don't anticipate drinking that much.
Cash - You've heard the old saying "cash is king", well once again, this proves to be an even bigger reality during a hurricane. This is due to the fact that hurricanes will typically knock out power in a very wide area, leaving electronic cash registers and point of sale systems down indefinitely. Regardless, some stores will still open after the hurricane has passed, especially mom-and-pop stores that didn't receive significant damage. They may not have power, but they will still take cash if you need any essential items that you forgot to pick up during the preparation phase.
Ice - So not only do you need water, you also should begin preparing frozen water ASAP. When the power goes out to your house, your fridge, your freezer and/or deep freezer will go with it. This could be detrimental to everything that you have in your deep freezer & fridge, depending on how long power goes out. Bottled water can remain at room temperature and be alright, meats and dairy products cannot. Coolers full of ice are always a good idea when it comes to storms, especially if you're depending on any of those meals to survive over the next week or two.
Lanterns/flashlights - Because it's very hard to navigate your house at 2AM without the ability to turn any lights on. This also brings in the need to keep plenty of batteries/rechargeable power supplies for said flashlights and phones.
Pictures - When we think of storm damage we automatically think about insurance and getting our stuff replaced/paid for. This brings a whole new set of challenges as insurance companies are just like you and I, as they try not to spend money where they don't necessarily have to. If they have even the slightest reason to believe that item was damaged prior to the storm, they're going to try and wiggle their way out of paying for it. For this exact reason, go through and take a few good snapshots of your home and the items inside prior to hurricane Dorian making landfall. God forbid that everything gets damaged and you don't get everything that you're entitled to.
Final thoughts - HAVE A PLAN. Things never go according to plan, but that is never a good enough reason to not have one. In the unlikely even that you have to leave your home (see:Katrina, 2005), make sure your family has emergency contact numbers memorized, and have an escape plan. The last thing you want to do during a natural disaster is improvise on what to do. Planning ahead is the key to safety. Our thoughts and prayers are with Florida during this time.