Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Helpful How-To: Weathering the Storm

If you live on the East Coast, you probably are completely aware of Hurricane Irene and the havoc she wreaked this weekend.

I personally think we were so lucky to have as much advanced warning as we had.

And overall, Techy and I were pretty prepared for this storm.

Thanks be to God for providing the technology that makes the national weather service happen!

I mean, we knew last Tuesday that something was coming and we needed to start prepping.

Which has led me to thinking...

Wanna know how we prepped for this giant storm?

Wanna know the things we did right?  (and nothing about the things we did wrong?)

1.  Safety First

There are a few things that Techy and I KNOW about our house - like the fact that just outside our bedroom window stands a very large oak tree.  VERY LARGE.

When we made plans for this storm, we opted to play it safe and head out of the way of the very large tree and into our basement.

With our child.  Lest you think we are terrible parents.

And to be honest, I am so glad we did.

Because at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, we had about 3 tornado warnings coming through our area at once.

And I would have HATED to rip Little Man out of bed at 10 pm to run to the basement and wait out the warning.

Nope.  For the sake of all of our safety, we were not willing to risk anything flying through a window or falling on our roof and we opted to keep it safe (if not comfortable) in our basement.

(For those of you who don't have basements, you could just as easily have camped out in rooms or hallways to the the interior of your home that don't have windows and closed the doors.)

And at the end of the day, we made the right decision.

2.  Know your area.

We live in Delaware.

Possibly the flattest state in the Union.

Ok, ok.  So not entirely.

Northern Delaware does have some hills.

But we don't live in northern Delaware.

Where we live is extremely flat.

And our drainage systems are less than ideal for hurricane conditions.

And our backyard likes to take on water.


Now, yes, it does drain away from the house, but based on the predictions we were getting last week, Techy and I were not taking any chances.

And with that knowledge, we took the necessary precautions to keep our house clean and dry. 

Battery backup on the sump pump, extra insulation and gasketing over potentially leaky spots, cleaned out gutters, extended drains....

All very helpful for ensuring that we would stay dry.
3.  Expect to lose power.

In a storm - any storm - the potential is there for you to lose power.

Go ahead and get ready for it.

Charge everything up - cell phones, lap tops, anything that has a battery - charge it.

Decide now that you will probably lose some food and keep a cooler handy with ice or ice packs for the things that you want to store as long as possible. 

Not to mention those shelf stable foods.  You want to have stuff you can eat without heating it up while the power's out. 

And water - plenty of drinking water.

And my mom's rule for EVERY potential power outtage: fill your bathtub with water so you can flush your toilets.

BUT - if you have the option of getting a generator - DO IT!

Techy and I have had a generator since the year that Little Man was born.

Currently, we have fired it up just under a dozen times for random needs - whether it be a hurricane, winter weather, or an opportunity to power something where there is no power, you never know when they can come in handy, and personally, we think it's well worth the $1000 you might pay for it. 

4.  Be evacuation ready.

Let's face some facts, shall we?

If you are in a coastal area, there is always the potential to be evac'd from the area you live in during a storm of this kind.


Whether it is government mandated or family mandated for your own safety....

And you never know when you may have to get out. 

So be prepared.

Fill your gas tanks before the storm hits.

And then fill your cars with blankets, water, and shelf safe food.

In case you get stuck in traffic.

Because these are the perils of evacuation. 

5.  Know your storm.

Techy and I have a distinct advantage, having lived in Florida for so many years.

We are well acquainted with the damage a Category 2 or 3 storm can do.

And we knew what was coming last week when they were still predicting that.

We were as prepared as we could be...

Only now we live in Delaware.

Not Florida.

Where the people, the terrain, and the general world around us is not equipped to hurricanes of that size or strength.

So although, we were ready for the storm and knew what to expect...

Roads were still going to flood due to inefficient drainage systems.

Trees were still going to blow over because of waterlogged rootbeds.

And lots of damage would be left in this storm's wake.

This is where knowing your area goes hand in hand with knowing the power and size of the storm system you have coming.

6.  Consider your "loot".

If I were using pirate speak, I would have totally called it "booty", but then I figured you would think JLo and the last thing I need in my hurricane post is a JLo distraction...

But seriously.

Your stuff.

Your outside stuff. 

We had to think about it.

Like our generator.

What if it was stolen?

Yes.  It happens.

An ugly but true fact.

Here's the thing.

If Bubba Gump, or some other monster truck driving - not scared by a little wind and rain - dude gets all of his teenage Bubba Gump friends squeezed into his monster truck and drives around a few neighborhoods during a storm that everyone else is trying to stay INSIDE during, he can land some pretty sweet deals.

Like a truck-bed FULL of $1,000 generators.

Especially at 4 am when everyone is asleep, the power is out, no street lights are on and no one can see him or his Bubba Gump friends. 

(hmmm, is that politically incorrect???  Should I apologize???  Ehhh, whatever.  You get the point, right???  And you wouldn't get the point if it weren't partially true, right???)

What I am trying to say is, we had to consider Bubba and his buddies and plan for how to keep our generator secure. 

And Techy, being a Bubba Gump-sans-monster-truck at heart, made a little fort with our cars -

Pinning our generator between the front wall of our garage and our cars.

Getting TO our generator was work.

Much less getting it out of our "corral"

The wagon train people would have SO high-fived us.

7.  Don't Panic.

At this stage in the game, it does you little good to panic. 

Whatever will happen will happen, and the best thing you can do is be prepared.

Which, if you have followed all the steps I have listed above, you probably are. (Cause I totally didn't leave anything out, right?)

Keep calm, keep informed (a battery powered radio sure does help...), and keep safe.

And when everything is said and done, if you managed to do that, you have a lot to be thankful for.

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