My adopted state of Florida was just hit by a category one hurricane; my adopted city of Tallahassee sustained considerable damage. A week after the storm hit, there are still people in the city without power. There are also people who suffered considerable property damage. Fortunately, there seems to be only one death attributed to the storm here.
I was rather lucky; though my power was out from Friday to Monday, my house sustained no damage and I was well-prepared. I also had the good fortune of leaving the city on Sunday morning on an already scheduled program review at St. Francis University. While I normally dislike airports, it was great having access to AC and electricity again. While I waited for my first flight out, I enjoyed the cool air and recharged my laptop.
While random chance is a major factor in storms, it is wise to be well prepared for them. I did the usual stuff: checked the area for things the storm could pick up and hurl around, had the trees trimmed two years ago and inspected them again, stocked up on canned and dried goods, filled the tubs with water and made sure my phone was charged. I also went beyond the usual preparation and thought I’d share some of the things that worked.
Being a runner, I have a stock of those cold packs that I use for swelling and pain-I made sure those were all in the freezer well before the storm. I also moved the food to the lowest part of the fridge and freezer. I then filled up sturdy freezer bags with water and placed them around the food (do not overfill these!). After the storm knocked out the power, I quickly moved some of the ice into the fridge along with some of the frozen meat. As the meat thawed, I cooked it and ate it. As did my husky. This was a great week for her.
I was able to cook because I had a camp stove (butane fueled) and a propane BBQ. These are well worth having and it is a good idea to have a stock of fuel on hand. As always, be sure to cook in a well ventilated area and be aware of fire hazards.
While some people bought generators ahead of time, I elected to do without due to cost and the hassle of storing fuel. I did, however, have solar chargers on hand. Nekteck and Anker make small panels (also great for hiking and camping) that are easy to store, but will charge USB powered devices. I also have chargeable battery packs on hand; specifically the Brunton Freedom. This handy device can charge from USB or its own solar panel and holds plenty of charge for small USB powered devices like phones and tablets. Florida is a sunny state, so solar is an excellent option for an endless supply of power. The fact that these panels can be stored indefinitely (unlike batteries) makes them very useful indeed. And, of course, I have an assortment of crank charging lights, lanterns and radios on hand-these are very useful.
I also have a bow saw, garden shears and axes–all very useful for cutting up trees and they do not require gasoline or electricity. These saw a lot of use over the weekend. I did not have a chance to use my tent, but I have one on hand in case my house is too damaged to live in.