Last Minute Hurricane Tips2

Last Minute Hurricane Tips

written by Julie Cohn

Are you in the path of Hurricane Irma?  I have close family and friends in Florida in the path of the hurricane, so I have been very worried all week.   College friends, aunts and uncles, cousins, blogger friends…my Dad!!  People I love and worry about.  To help my dad prepare for the storm, I found and shared safety tips with him, but wanted to share the tips I found with other family and friends and you!  If you or someone you know is in the path of the hurricane, please use and share these last minute hurricane tips, so you can be better prepared.  (Thanks to my Aunt Linda for some of these tips!)

Last Minute Hurricane Tips

Last Minute Hurricane Tips3

Before the Storm

  • Stock up on bottled water, bread, protein bars, and non-perishable canned food.
  • Refill medications with a two-three week supply.
  • Place photos and other valuables in plastic baggies, then place in a sealed plastic tote.
  • Take photos of every room in your house for insurance.
  • Make an emergency contact list and place in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Get extra cash in case of last minute evacuation.
  • Back up your phone to online storage (dropbox, iCloud, etc)
  • Back up your computer to a portable storage drive, place the drive in a plastic baggie, and place in safe place.
  • Keep phones charged.
  • Keep a portable phone charger and USB cords in a plastic baggie.
  • Get a small fire and waterproof safe to put jewelry, extra cash, and other valuables in.
  • Dishwashers are water-sealed, so use your dishwasher to keep valuables safe.
  • Great tips on how to make your cell phone battery last longer (given to me by Kim)

Food Safety

Food safety, especially if you lose power, is important to prevent food poisoning.

  • Try to put as much food as you can in the freezer to keep it colder longer.  You can even freeze milk!
  • Check canned food labels to make sure food is not expired and replenish your pantry as soon as you can.
  • Do not use canned food that has been exposed to water, is bulging, or dented.
  • Purchase a cooler and keep blocks of ice or dry ice in the cooler, in case you lose electricity.
  • If you lose electricity, food will stay cool in a refrigerator for four hours and the freezer for 24-48 hours.
  • If you lose power, keep that refrigerator and freezer door closed unless you absolutely need something.
  • Do not use meat, milk, or dairy products if the refrigerator has been off for more than four hours.
  • The more you fill your freezer while you have power, the colder it will stay.
  • I love this quarter in ice trick to check the coldness of the refrigerator!  Quarter in the Cup

Water Safety

  • Stock up on bottled water, about 1 gallon per person, per day (more if you live in warm climate).
  • If there is flooding in your area, do not drink the tap water because it may be contaminated by raw sewage or chemicals.
  • Most water filter pitchers do not remove biological contaminants, so boil the water before putting it in your Pur or Brita filter.
  • Freeze water in plastic baggies for extra drinking and cooking water.
  • If there is a water advisory in your area, boil your tap water for at least one minute to kill biological contaminants.

Home Safety

  • Did you know if you close the interior doors during a hurricane, it will relieve pressure inside your house and perhaps save your roof?  (Source)
  • Cut loose branches from trees around your house before the hurricane hits.
  • Use hurricane approved window shutters to protect your windows.
  • Do not use an outdoor BBQ grill inside your house because grills give off carbon dioxide. (Source)
  • Put outdoor furniture, portable grills, toys, planters, and other loose outdoor objects in the garage or closed shed so they do not blow around during the storm.
  • Clean out rain gutters to prevent clogging during storm.
  • Do not open windows during a storm.  This is an old wives tale and can actually cause more problems. (Source)
  • Turn off propane tanks, including outdoor grill.
  • If there are downed electrical lines, do not go outside.
  • Fill bathtubs with water to use for flushing toilets and washing.
  • Boil water before washing dishes and food containers.
  • Take refuge under a large sturdy table.
  • If there are tornado warnings, go to a windowless interior room and get as low to the ground as possible.
  • If you are in a mobile home and there are tornado warnings, get to a permanent shelter if you can.
  • Keep an ax handy if you have to cut through the roof during flooding.

Last Minute Hurricane Tips2

Evacuation Tips

  • Map out your route in advance, with alternatives if your route is blocked.
  • Fill your gas tank before the storm hits.
  • Turn off the gas line to house before leaving.
  • Unplug electrical appliances before leaving the house.
  • Use Waze or other traffic app to keep abreast of traffic situations.
  • Pack an evacuation kit for each person in your household with non-perishable food, bottles of water, battery-powered flashlight, flares, glow-sticks, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, hand-cranked radio, portable charger, emergency whistle, emergency phone numbers in a sealed plastic baggie, 2-3 changes of clothes, copies of birth certificates, emergency contact numbers, medications, toilet paper.
  • Do not drive onto low-lying roads, roads near rivers and lakes, or flooded areas.
  • Use this home evacuation checklist from HouseLogic.

Last Minute Hurricane Tips4

Pet Safety

  • Get your pet micro-chipped so if you get separated, veterinary workers will be able to reunite you.
  • If your pet is already micro-chipped, make certain the information is up-to-date.
  • Do not take your pet outdoors during the storm.  Use puppy pads or newspaper for pets to relieve themselves indoors.
  • Make an emergency kit for your pets with a three-day supply of dog food (canned if possible), pet medications, pet carrier, pet health records, water dish (and 3-day supply of bottled water), leash, and photos of pets.
  • Do not leave your pets at home if you evacuate.
  • Do not let your pet drink outdoor rain or standing water so they are not contaminated with chemicals or parasites.
  • Here is a listing of hurricane Irma pet-friendly shelters

Last Minute Hurricane Tips1

Hurricane Apps + Technology

  • My Hurricane Tracker app – This is a free app to track the storm.  Be careful, as there are other hurricane tracker apps that cost money.
  • Red Cross Hurricane app –  Offers hurricane tracking and NOAA emergency information. There is also a flashlight, alarm, and strobe if you need to alert others to your location.
  • Red Cross Emergency Alerts app – Provides alerts in severe weather with tips (also good for family in other areas to monitor their loved ones)
  • Red Cross First Aid app – First aid tips to including cuts, burns, broken bones, asthma and allergy reactions, concussion, etc.
  • FEMA app – Emergency tips, weather tracker, locate shelters
  • Gas Buddy app – To search for available gas in your area, with pricing.
  • Waze app – Offers up-to-date traffic information during evacuation.
  • Zello Walkie Talkie app – A walkie-talkie app if 911 resources are overloaded or landline phones are down.
  • Facebook: Let family and friends know you are safe with Facebook Safety Check

Hurricane Tips from the Professionals

Red Cross Hurricane Tips

Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist

National Weather Service Hurricane Tips

FEMA hurricane safety tips

National Hurricane Center advisories

Your Tips

If you have any last minute tips, please share them in comments below and I will add them to my list!

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