Hurricane Ida is a monster, predicted to be a category 4 with a 20 foot storm surge. Time to evacuate areas in four gulf states. Time to share the evacuation list. You never know who you know who has friends and family in areas in the path of a disaster. New Orleans is again especially at risk as they have had rainstorms and the ground is saturated already and the lake full. There will be tens of thousands without power after this hits in the next few days as the rains and high winds affect counties and states inland.
Following is a checklist of this to do now to be ready for the power outages and/or evacuation. Check off each one as you complete them and you will be more confident, less stressed and more able to deal with any challenge that may come.
1. Laundry. Do it now. Catch up so you don’t get caught without clean clothes after the power fails.
2. Stock up. You should have a three-month supply of food on hand but there are still a few things you may want to get now, bread, fresh fruit, and of course water and batteries. Eggs will keep without power a few days, milk will not. You may want to get a few boxes of shelf stable milk, chocolate milk, or almond drink, which are shelf stable and perfect for use during an outage. For toddlers and infants get cans of evaporated milk, they need the fats.
3. Get the mylar blankets out of your Five-Day kits and place in windows receiving direct sun. Do it now so the house is cooler than it would have been when the power fails.
4. Stock up on non-food items, batteries, prescriptions, over the counter medications, paper plates and cups, etc.
5. Fuel up the cars. Prepare now not just for you to evacuate, but for shortages when or if others invacuate to your area.
6. Fill coolers, pitchers, pots and pans, with water. If our power goes out so, do wells and water treatment plants. Bathtubs can also be filled, and this water used for flushing and washing.
7. Charge cell phone, iPad, and HAM radio. If you lose power or have rolling blackouts you want to stay informed.
8. Place glow sticks and/or flashlights within easy reach in every room.
9. Fill the gas cans so you can run a generator.
10. Fill the propane tanks if you are going to use a camp stove or barbecue as an alternative way to cook.
11. Get cash. If the power is out the ATM and credit cards won't work. Remember all cash should be in small denominations. Nothing over a $20.00 bill. All of mine are $10.00 or smaller. I don't want to overpay because someone doesn't have change.
12. Check your Five-Day kits so they are ready to go with prescriptions, medications, reading glasses, food, water, clothing that fits, hygiene essentials etc. If you need to go to a cooling shelter, you’ll be ready. (Don’t forget your masks at this time!)
13. Stock the freezer. Place resealable plastic bags or plastic containers filled with water in every empty space in your freezer. Foods stay frozen and will be safe longer in a full freezer and the ice will be safe water to drink and cook with after it melts.
14. Turn the temperature down in the freezer and refrigerator, again to preserve food longer.
15. Cook. Make a few meals that will be easy to heat or can be eaten cold once power is out.
16. Make a sign now to place on the freezer and fridge: DO NOT OPEN - Preserve food longer by leaving door closed. When you need to get into either make a list before opening so you don’t stand staring trying to figure out what you need.
17. Learn to use the manual release on the garage door if you don’t already know how to do this. In case of a power outage you want to be able to get the car out of the garage as quickly as possible.
18. Find out which radio and TV stations are part of the emergency broadcast system for your local area. Also find out which stations will handle emergency broadcasts for school emergencies.
19. Make sure your battery-operated clock is working and get batteries if not.
20. Wash all dishes. You will not want dirty dishes hanging around when water is at a premium.
21. Take pictures of all rooms, email the photos to yourself and out of area contact. Phones can be lost during a crisis, so you want back up. These will be invaluable when filing a claim with insurance if high winds and rain also cause damage to your home.
22. Prepare for your pets. Are they allowed at cooling centers? Do you have cages and a leash if you need to find a cool place? Can you leave a pet safely at home? If your pets are outdoor pets can you bring them in the house or garage to shelter out of the weather and/or heat?