Hurricane season began June 1st, and lasts until November 30th, with the peak between August and October.
As long time readers know, I started this blog soon after I experienced Hurricane Ike, when I got caught up in long lines at the grocery and gas station, the day before the hurricane hit. I never want to experience that craziness again, with wall to wall people racing against each other to grab the last case of bottled water or toilet paper.
Now is the time to get your home ready, before the first hurricane watch is issued.
Hurricane Watch vs Hurricane Warning
With a hurricane watch, you have a bit more time to prepare- a watch is issued when the storm is predicted to arrive within 36 hours. By the time the hurricane warning is issued, you will be fighting for supplies: hurricane warnings are issued within 24 hours of a the storm’s arrival.
Easy Steps to Prepare
Most people already have a number of supplies lying around their house. The key is to gather them up and make your kit. Include at least a week’s day supply of the following:
- water (one gallon per person per day) and a way to purify water
- food – Include food that is easy to prepare in case you lose power. Don’t forget comfort food such as chocolate, chips, tea and coffee; special needs foods such as baby formula and food
- disposable eating utensils so you don’t need to wash dishes
- lighting  – plenty of flashlights, batteries, lanterns
- cooking backup such as a propane stove
- battery powered or crank radio
- cash in case debit or credit cards are not working
- clean clothes (Wash clothes before the storm hits)
- hygiene and personal care  items, toilet paper
- trash bags
- first aid, including prescriptions
- pet food and supplies
- entertainment  that does not require electricity
- basic tools in case of fallen branches or minor repairs: ax, saw, duct tape, rope, plastic tarp
If you are planning to buy a generator, set it up now , or hire an electrician to do it as it takes time to get it ready to use.
- If you have leaky windows or any other maintenance issues, have them fixed or file a maintenance request with your landlord, before the problem gets worse.
- Get rid of any overgrown trees or branches that could fall on your home in case of high winds. After a hurricane, tree trimming services charge a lot more than usual rates.
- Decide ahead of time what you will do in case you have to evacuate.
- Plan your route out of the city.
- Create your emergency texting tree  and designate your out of state emergency contacts.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged
- Create your important documents binder 
- Fill up your gas tank or at least keep it half full
- Read your homeowner’s insurance so you know what’s covered. If you rent, make sure you have renter’s insurance 
- If you own your home and live in a flood plain, consider flood insurance
- Make a home inventory, including photos or videotape of your possessions
- Have extra cash in case you need to stay in a hotel
Getting ready before that first hurricane watch comes will alleviate a lot of worries and last minute rushing around. Do yourself and your family a favor and get ready now.