You can never be too prepared when a major storm or hurricane is heading your way. To get you ready, here are some practical tips we've gathered from families "on the ground" during the 2017 storms.
Gather your life necessities (IDs, passports, wallet, mortgage documents, health records, family photos) and place in a water-safe bag.
Have some cash on hand. You'll need it as banks and ATMs may be closed or disabled.
Refill any medications. Many insurance companies will allow for emergency refills.
Fill up your car's gas tank and consider filling up a spare container.
Water: You cannot have enough
Wash all your trash cans and fill them with water for flushing toilets. This includes your larger outdoor garbage and recycling bins.
Fill your bathtubs and sinks with water. Your washing machine is also a great water storage solution. This is not for drinking, but for flushing toilets, washing hands and cleaning.
Fill your Tupperware and plastic bottles with water and put them in the freezer. These will help keep your frozen goods cold longer when electricity is lost. They'll also serve as an extra water supply, if needed.
Use your ice sparingly as it's difficult to find during and after a storm.
Reserve space in your refrigerator for storing tap water. Stock up on bottled water and keep your sealed bottles on the kitchen counter.
Don't forget that your hot water heater may store as much as 30 gallons of water.
Plan to use paper cups and paper plates as you'll need to save water for more important purposes than washing dishes.
Food: Perishables, non-perishables, and salt
Cook your meats and perishable foods in advance and store in coolers. Try to get as much ice as possible to keep your food cold.
Stock up on non-perishable foods and snacks.
Be sure your family is well hydrated prior to the storm and encourage everyone to avoid salty foods that cause dehydration.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets in advance of the storm. If you lose air conditioning, you'll be glad you did.
Throw out any food that's expiring, empty all trash, run your dishwasher and toss anything that may smell when air conditioning is lost.
Thoroughly clean your home and purchase plenty of disinfecting products, including hand wipes and paper towels, to keep surfaces safe and clean when there is no power and little water.