The Florida-Girl’s Guide to Hurricane Prep

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Hurricane prep at my childhood home!

I am a born-and-raised, sandy-footed, salty-haired Florida girl. Growing up with a hard-core Floridian family, we almost never evacuated when a hurricane approached. Even though we lived just a few miles from the beach, we would simply board up, stock up, and ride it out. (Fun fact: the only time we ever did evacuate, I met my husband!)

I have weathered many a storm, some relatively mild and fun, and some that were, frankly, terrifying. As the facetiously self-declared Baroness of Disaster Preparedness in my household, here are some common-sense hurricane prep tips from a native Floridian:

Don’t panic. As long as you and your family are safe, everything else is gravy. 

-Stock up on drinking water, (prepare for about 1 gallon per person per day), and do it NOW before things get too crazy at the stores.

-If you use a breast pump, make sure that you have a battery-operated and/or manual hand-pump option available to you. Before the storm, put boiling water into insulated thermoses to warm bottles as-needed. Remember that defrosted breastmilk CAN be refrozen if it still contains ice crystals! (I’ll never forget pumping around the clock with my battery-powered pump by headlamp during the Flood of 2015.) 

-Freeze plastic water bottles and ziplock bags of tap water to put in coolers later if you lose power.

-Dig out your flashlights, lanterns, candles, matches, and batteries and put them all in one place.

-Fill up clean water bottles, mason jars, growlers, and other glass containers with drinking water.

-Fill your bathtub/s with water just before the storm to use for hand washing, toilet-flushing, etc. (But keep babies and toddlers away from full tubs!!)

-Gas up your vehicles NOW (don’t wait until right before the storm hits) and fill up any gas cans you have with extra fuel.

-Keep easy snacks like apples, bananas, pouches of baby food for kids, peanut butter, and protein bars handy.

-Obey the “Four or mo’, you gotta GO” rule. We Floridians may seem to have a laissez-faire attitude about hurricanes, but we know when stuff gets real. You don’t mess around with a category 4 or stronger. Get out of there. If you feel any hesitation whatsoever about riding out the storm, leave. It’s well worth the effort to keep your family safe. 

-Make a huge freezer-meal and freeze it up in small containers. If you lose power, you can re-heat premade food on the grill, camping stove, or gas stove. 

-Make big batches of fruit and veggie smoothies and freeze in individually-portioned ziplock bags. Thaw and drink when the power’s out. 

-Do the laundry, wash your dishes, clean out your fridge, and take out all the trash. You don’t need stinky stuff hanging around the house. 

-Just before the storm, take a loooooong hot shower and bathe the kids. You may not have hot water again for a while.

-Charge up all of your devices and charge up any portable battery packs you may have too.

-Consider picking up a couple of battery-powered fans to get a breeze and some white-noise if the power goes out.

-Pre-grind those coffee beans and make a BIG batch of cold-brew. Ain’t nobody got time for storm survival without COFFEE.

-Turn off the TV and put down the phone. Resist the urge to check weatherdotcom every 5 minutes. It will only freak you out. Take a deep breath. You’re going to be ok.

Prep, do what you can, and then try to relax. We can do this!

What tips would you add to the list?

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Kimberly Poovey
Kimberly is a writer, speaker, wife, and new(ish) mom. She directs the teen pregnancy prevention program for Daybreak pregnancy center, and is a founder of Pearls, an organization that serves women in the sex industry and fights human trafficking in the Midlands. She studied English literature at Florida Atlantic University, and though she will always be a Florida girl at heart, she has called Columbia home for the last seven years. She and her husband Braden have been married for a fabulous decade, and they welcomed their first child, Declan Finn, into the world on June 3rd, 2015. She is a contributor for Scary Mommy, the Huffington Post, and The Mighty. You can find her wandering around the great outdoors, drinking far too much coffee at her favorite local shops, and on Facebook.

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