With Irma approaching, I thought I'd put together a quick guide to keep your hurricane preparation simple and efficient because any way we can alleviate extra stress can make all the difference. Since we are all in this together, I want you, your family and your community to stay safe.
Hopefully, this list will help minimize the already overwhelming stress you probably feel so that you can focus on the safety of you and your family.
1. Check out the South Carolina Emergency Management's Hurricane Guide.
Use the checklist in the guide and go through your house before you go shopping. You may feel the need to go out and get everything right away, but then you may end up with duplicates that you don't need. Or worse, end up with items you don't need and someone else does.
2. Take photos of everything.
As you go through your house checking for what could be used in a survival kit, take pictures of everything in the unfortunate event destruction occurs. Document these things for your insurance company so they can place an accurate value on any damages (trust me, I've been through this before). If you use your smart phone, it will have a date and time stamp that will be accurate for any insurance claims.
3. Consider multiple uses for things you have.
Use what you already have in different ways that will fit your family's situation. For example, instead of going out, spending precious time and buying travel soap containers, I use one of my small tupperware containers.
4. Combine all your items in one central location.
Choose a place for the entire family to gather their belongings. Maybe this is your kitchen table or the center of the living room. Gathering all your items in one central location will make it easier to pack.
5. Make a list and check it twice.
Once you know what you need, head to the store, but don't forget your list. You don't want to buy extra items or items other people may need. Fill up on gas while you are out. After shopping, then you can start your packing.
6. Pack the necessities.
I suggest one bag per person including hygiene products, clothing and any essential care items. For kids, consider only toys that have multiple uses, or if they are older, one or two activities that will occupy their interest while refocusing their attentions off an impending storm.
And don't forget your pets! They, too, should have their own travel bag with food, toys, treats, leashes, etc. for their own health and care.
7. Don't forget your emergency kit and first aid kit.
I always keep mine stocked just in case, so it's one less thing to shop for. But if you don't have one already, that's ok - it's never too late to start these kits. Even if you don't think you'll need them, it's always better to have these items when you don't need them than the other way around.
Most importantly, be safe! I am in South Carolina and have found this hurricane alert center site and this South Carolina Hurricane Guide to be comprehensive and practical, regardless if you are in a stay or evacuate kind of situation.