Hurricane Preparedness Tips – Last Minute Preparations for Hurricane Harvey

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This isn’t a post that I was planning on writing. In fact, today is Friday which means that there should be a new recipe here for you to try. Life however has a way of changing things like schedules and because of that, I felt it was important to change mine and instead of that new recipe, I wanted to make certain that I tried to do everything possible to help you stay safe. Hurricane Harvey is about to bear down on the Texas Gulf Coast and in some cases, Central Texas in a way that hasn’t been seen since around 2005. For my family, we are looking at possible Tropical Storm conditions with flooding and possible wind damage,  but for many others, they will feel the full brunt of this storm as it passes by. If you are in an area that will get to meet Hurricane Harvey this weekend, I highly urge you to take the precautions that you need to. Doing that can be overwhelming though which is why I wanted to share a few hurricane preparedness tips and some last minute preparations for Hurricane Harvey with you.

First and foremost, if you are in the direct path of the storm – in locations such as Corpus Christi – get out while you can. There is no home, personal belonging or comfort that is worth the cost of your life. The window to evacuate is rapidly closing so if you’ve been putting off leaving, go. Head north to places like Waco or DFW if you want to be completely out of the storm or to places such as San Antonio or Austin if you don’t mind the tropical storm conditions. While Harvey may “only” be a category 2 at the time of this writing, “he” is likely to intensify to a category 3 before landfall. I’ve even see a few reports that say category 4 or higher, but the general consensus is that the storm will max out at  category 3.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips – Last Minute Preparations for Hurricane Harvey

If you’re not evacuating or you’re not in the direct path, you’ll still want to do some preparing. Here’s where I might surprise you; don’t both going to the store if you can avoid it. By now, areas that will see strong storm damage have already had their store shelves cleared, there’s the potential for folks to get angry and violent when they can’t get what they need and the waste of gas/time really isn’t worth it for the return you will get. If you absolutely can’t avoid it, go but go with the knowledge that it will likely take considerably longer in time and that you need to be very careful when you do so.

No matter where you are in the path of the storm, you need to understand a few things; there is a significant risk for flooding, there is a significant risk for power outages and you could be in significant danger. Because of this, you’ll want to do everything you can to try to remedy the situation. Danger we’ve already talked about so let’s discuss water.

Water – Water is more important to you than most people realize. A human being can die within just 3 days with no water/liquid. If you don’t have bottled water on hand, don’t try to buy it. By now those shelves are clear remember? Instead, clean your bath tub with bleach. Allow the tub to dry and plug it. Fill your tub with clean water to be used for drinking. Make sure that if you have to use this water that you use it first due to dust in the air or that you cover it with plastic sheeting or something of that nature to protect it. We have a water bag called a WaterBob that can be used if we need to.

Once the tub is full, you can do the same with the sinks if you want. Another option is to fill any empty totes, pitchers, or other containers will clean water. The ideal amount of water storage is 1 gallon per person, per day. You may not be able to get to that amount, but having some is better than having none. This is especially important to do since the water pumps that bring the water to your tap run off of what? Electricity. If the power goes out and those pumps don’t run or if the city water supply would happen to become contaminated somehow,  you may not have access to clean water. Do what you can now to prevent that.

Power – For power, if you don’t have flashlights or batteries, it MIGHT be worth trying to go out and get them, but honestly you probably won’t have much luck. Instead, go through your home to gather any candles that you have. Don’t overlook tea light candles or scented ones. Put them into a specific spot in your home so that you can easily find them. Another method of light can be an iPhone. If you have one, use the flashlight option on it whenever you need. Just be sure that your phone is 100% charged before the storm hits. If you have a battery back up, now is the time to make sure that it is fully charged as well. If you happen to have portable solar charger, be sure that it is ready to go too. The skies might be cloudy but your charger will slowly work.

Another power outage emergency preparation that you’ll want to do is to take bottles or bags (as a last choice) of water and put them in your freezer. You’ll want to fill any spaces that you find. Doing this will help to keep your frozen foods actually frozen if the power goes out. By taking up the space of empty air and filling it with ice, you will help keep it cool and frozen. If you are not going to be at your own home but want to be sure that you know for sure that there is a power outage, freeze a bottle of water with a penny in it. Before you leave, take a note of where the penny is. When you get back, if the penny has moved at all, the chances are really good that you had an outage.

Food – Go to your kitchen right now and take stock of anything that you don’t need power to cook. This can include things such as cereals, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars and so on. Set 3 days worth of it aside to be used only if the power is out and you can’t cook. Having ready to eat foods available can not only help keep you nourished but also help you manage a child who is hungry and cranky. Fruits and vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated are good options as well.

If you have been busy canning your own food, this is the time to pull from those reserves. Try to piece together actual meals since those will be what keeps the normalcy around for your family. For us, if our power goes, we will eat the food in our freezer first then will pull from my home canned reserves and our freeze dried foods if we need. We will cook on our grill or propane stove if needed.

Structure Safety – 

If you have decided to stay, do what you can to keep your home structure safe. If you’re in the direct path, board up any windows that you can. If you can’t board your windows up, grab a roll of duct tape and use it to help try and strengthen them. Take your window and on the inside of it, make an asterisk of tape. 1 strip up and down, 1 strip across, 1 strip left diagonally and 1 strip right diagonally. This won’t keep it from breaking but may help keep it from breaking into thousands of tiny shards.

Be sure to remove any loose items that you have in your yard such as trash bins, patio furniture and grills. These items can be extremely dangerous when they’re being thrown around by the wind so make sure to secure them now. Either bring them inside to a place such as your garage or tie/chain them into place.

If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, sandbags can be helpful. At this stage in the storm game, you may not be able to get sand though so a quick and easy replacement would be potting soil. Fill each bag until it is packed tightly with potting soil and secure it. Use the bags in places of your home or yard that are prone to flooding.

If you have trees in your yard and are in an area that will see high sustained winds or strong gusts, go outside and pull on the lowest hanging branches. If you find one that seems dead or that you think might come off easily, go ahead and cut it off now. Doing so could save one of your windows later on when the storm blows down on you.

Comfort – 

Finally, and this is especially important if you have children, get together a box of comfort items for everyone. Waiting out a hurricane and the hours after it can be boring for everyone involved but especially kids. Put together boxes of coloring sheets, books to read, board games, card games and so on to keep people busy. Also be sure to have favorite stuffed animals, blankets or comfort items for your kids handy too. If your kids are scared of the dark make sure to have their own flashlight to give them comfort when they need it.

 

Just because this storm is bearing down on the Gulf cities, doesn’t mean that you don’t still have time to prepare. If you’re in the path, whether it is a direct path or just the outer edges, please don’t play around. You life and the lives of your family could very well depend on it.

With everything I have in me, please stay safe. 

Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family.By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!
Stacy Barr
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