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June 11, 2018

Get Hurricane-Ready

By Joan O'Neill

This year, don’t be caught unawares by a riotous hurricane season.


Practice what you preach. I wish someone had said that to me last year.

Hurricane season is already here and all of the preparations and repairs that we said we were going to make after Irma just haven’t happened. Irma…that brings back some memories. Tampa Bay was lucky the track of the hurricane took the worst of the storm away from our area. Were you prepared? Let me rephrase: Were you prepared prior to when the forecast track of a Category 5 Hurricane was heading right to Tampa Bay? Just to remind everyone: Grocery stores were out of water. People were using fence panels as makeshift hurricane shutters. Evacuations were being ordered. The worst-case scenario was about to happen to Tampa Bay and we were left scrambling. I was scrambling.

I’ll be honest, even after being a meteorologist in the Southeast for more than 10 years, my hurricane kit wasn’t what it needed to be. I hadn’t tested my hurricane shutters. Like many of you, I was rushing to get things in order in the days leading up to the storm. Practice what you preach. I’m taking that to heart this season.

My wife Liz and I are expecting our first child in September (yes, that’s the peak of hurricane season) and the last thing we need to be doing is frantically trying to put together our bin of essentials if another storm were to head our way. While my eagerness to prepare might be motivated by new dad jitters, the truth is, nobody needs to be scrambling at the last minute. Work gets busy, the kids have appointments, vacations and life happens, and as we know too well, hurricanes happen!


Be prepared this year and put your essentials together before the last minute. If you need a go-to guide, Here’s a guide to my hurricane kit:

  • WATER (1 gallon per person per day for three days)
  • NON-PERISHABLE FOOD (3-day supply)
  • PET FOOD/WATER
  • CASH
  • WEATHER RADIO
  • FLASHLIGHTS
  • FIRST AID KIT
  • BASIC TOILETRY ITEMS
  • EXTRA BATTERIES
  • WHISTLE (Signal for help)
  • DUST MASK
  • PLASTIC SHEETING
  • DUCT TAPE
  • MOIST TOWELETTES
  • SEVERAL TRASH BAGS
  • PLIERS
  • MANUAL CAN OPENER
  • LOCAL MAPS
  • CELL PHONE CHARGER
  • MEDICATIONS
  • GLASSES/CONTACTS
  • BABY NEEDS (Formula, diapers, etc.)
  • FAMILY DOCUMENTS (Policies and IDs, in a waterproof container)
  • STURDY SHOES
  • PAPER, PENCILS AND PENS (Sharpie)
  • BOOK/CARDS (Activities for kids)

 

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