Hurricane Preparedness Tips

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Editor's note: It looks like the so-called "Frankenstorm" -- aka Hurricane Sandy will make landfall on the East Coast, possibly early next week. Are you prepared? Take today to stay safe, with these guidelines Karen shared with BlogHer last year, and tell us how you're doing in the comments. -- Julie

Hurricane Sandy
Oct. 25, 2012 - Miami, FL, USA - A pelican fights with the wind produced by Hurricane Sandy's outer bands at Haulover Beach in Miami, Florida, on Thursday, October 25, 2012. (Credit Image: © David Santiago/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)

While Hurricane Irene breezed on by the coast of Florida and only left behind big puddles -- that doesn't seem to be true for the rest of the East Coast. Here are some hurricane preparedness tips to keep you safe:

  • Gas it up -- gas station pumps don't work when the power goes out.
  • Stock up -- on essentials like canned food, water, medications and bug spray. 1 gallon/person for 1-3 days. Put some water in the freezer in case power goes out -- you've got something cool to drink that you can also use to keep other perishables safe. Have extra pillows, blankets and large tarps.
  • Fill it up -- the bathtub. Oh, so many uses for that water, like flushing the toilet and using it for cooking and drinking. And before you think I would never drink water that was in the bathtub -- what would you do if 3 days later you're still without water?
  • Identify -- the most secure room in the house, preferably without windows. You will need a secure safe place should the storm get very bad. Contact one friend or family member who is away from the storm and can easily update loved ones on your safety.
  • Make it a romantic night in - candles, matches, extra batteries, bug spray, flashlights, can and wine openers will all come in handy.  Be sure to keep it all in a large plastic bag.
  • Charge it -- Smartphones, laptops, radio. Anything with a battery should be checked and double checked. If you have time invest in a wireless charging mat for your phone. Text vs call to save battery life.
  • Document your belongings - take pictures of any and everything of value and upload pictures to Flickr or Snapfish. You may need them for insurance purposes. 
  • Secure it - window A/C units, lawn furniture, important papers like passport, birth certificate, etc (keep documents in a large plastic bag).  Board up your windows vs duct taping (it doesn't work).
  • Pets -- keep in their cages with you when the storm gets bad. Contact the ASPCA to find local shelters where you can bring your pets if you're unable to care for them during a storm. Stock up on extra food, litter, water, dry blankets, bowls, medications. 
  • Download free -- the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel smartphone apps.
  • Check in -- on elderly or disabled neighbors to see if they need help preparing.

Read more on hurricane preparedness for your pets from the ASPCA here.

Need more info or to create a free customized check list? Check out the Florida Division of Emergency Management Disaster Relief Plan here.

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