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The Top Ten Things You Haven’t Heard about Preparing for a Hurricane September 17, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Books, Reading.
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If you live in areas that are subject to hurricanes, there is a lot of good information out there about hurricane preparation.  Your local newspaper or television station has probably published an excellent guide which you can pick up at the grocery store.  If necessary, you will receive instructions from appropriate authorities about such matters as evacuation, shelters, etc.  You certainly want to take all necessary precautions, remain calm, and stay in touch with media and loved ones. 

However, it has come to my attention that some important areas of preparation are not covered by these publications and agencies, so I felt it was important to step in and help. Disclaimer:  I have no qualifications in meteorology or emergency preparedness.  However, I have “ridden out” six of the seven worst hurricanes to hit Florida in my lifetime, and I’m pretty sure you can increase your comfort level by considering some of my suggestions.  (I’ll admit that some of these ideas assume that you come through the storm relatively unscathed.) 

  1. Wash your clothes, especially the personal items, in advance.  You certainly don’t want to be coping with dirty clothes during a power outage.
  2. Be sure to have comfort foods on hand.  Unless there is a medical reason, this is no time to be on a diet.  For example, I rushed out at the last minute to get Junior Mints before Hurricane Jeanne.
  3. And with reference to more nourishing food, you might want to check out the delightful hurricane cookbook, Storm Gourmet, by Daphne Nikolopoulos, or if you are a vegetarian, the hilariously titled Apocalypse Chow by John Robertson.
  4. If you drink coffee or tea, you need a way to have it or you may be facing one of those caffeine withdrawal headaches in addition to everything else.  I make coffee ahead of time and put it in a thermos – this takes care of the next day.  I have also used the canned and bottled products – did you know there are self-heating cans?
  5. Take care of personal grooming as much as possible ahead of time.  I know – men often see such circumstances as a golden opportunity to grow a beard, but it’s different for women.  You only have limited control over flat or frizzy hair if the power goes out, but you will feel more like yourself if you attend to waxing or plucking or whatever in advance.  Keep your fingernails short if you will be involved with shutters.
  6. If you are blessed with children, make plans to keep them entertained and calm.  Reading stories and playing games during a storm may well become a fond memory for your kids. 
  7. Think about what you can do without power.  Anything you can do with your hands is good (I make jewelry, among other things) – and I would not want to be without a deck of cards and a book of crossword puzzles.
  8. Make sure you have some safe form of lighting, and most especially a book light!  (See below.)
  9. Naturally this is a critical issue for the Book Goddess: You really must have something wonderful to read, and I would suggest an assortment of titles.  You may want something light and entertaining, but I personally found that the slower post-Wilma pace was the perfect time to read The Known World by Edward Jones, a memorable Pulitzer prize-winning novel about slavery.
  10. This is really important.  Find some way to help others.  Check on friends, especially single and elderly people, and explore volunteer opportunities or make a donation.  Some people will truly be suffering, and you may be able to help. 

I hope most sincerely that you never need this advice! 

All the best, 

The Book Goddess

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