This post was created in partnership with Energizer. All opinions are my own.
You might have noticed that we here in Florida –and even the entire southeastern U.S. — had a little problem with the weather recently. Hurricane Irma ripped her way up the center of the Sunshine State from the Keys to the border leaving all sorts of problems in her trail. It wasn’t necessarily the pure destructiveness of the storm that caused these problems but the sheer size of the area affected. With all due respect to those in the Florida Keys and lower SWFL, the storm itself was relatively weak but at one point it was dropping rain and wind from Tallahassee to Savannah, GA.
This meant that a lot of people felt the effects and continued to experience problems in the aftermath long after the storm dissipated. A lot of those problems were things that most people didn’t necessarily think about when they were preparing for the storm. Who would have known that a hot meal would become such a luxury or that traffic jams that stretched for 100’s of miles in many places, or that the entire state would run out of gas?
Here are a few lessons we Floridians learned from this experience and how stocking up with Energizer is important:
- Tune in to local media: Newspapers and local news turned out to be the most reliable place to stay up-to-date and get the information that was most pertinent to people being directly affected. National outlets from CNN to Fox, and even The Weather Channel, probably did more harm than good leading up to and during the storm. Local reporters were more likely to be in direct and constant contact with local officials and able to give you in-depth insights on what was happening in individual communities. Major networks seemed more interested in dramatic shots of wind-whipped reporters with hyperbolic graphics and overly dramatic music.
- Fuel up everything: It was not an exaggeration that gas shortages reached Mad Max levels during and after the storm. If people were able to find fuel, they often faced long lines and high prices. One of the side effects of this shortage was that a lot of people couldn’t get gas for things other than their car such as generators. As well as filling up your vehicles, it is probably a good idea to fill up spare gas cans while you’re at it. If you use propane in your grill, it is probably a good time to make sure you have a full supply of that as well since you may not have any other means of cooking because…
- Lots of light: The biggest issue most people affected by the storm faced during and after the storm was the loss of power in their homes, some for weeks or more. One of our most used items during this time was our Energizer 3 in 1 Light. First off, we had no idea how this handy tool would transform our hurricane plans! When we experienced issues with power, we had the ability to use this as a flashlight OR an area light!
If you’re working on something that needs precision lighting available, you can also use the sturdy legs to make it a task light. PLUS, don’t forget the batteries in your emergency kit!
- Have backup plans: Be prepared to have a Plan B, C, and D for every situation. In the early parts of the storm, lots of evacuees from Miami fled to the other side of the state before the storm changed course, forcing them to evacuate yet again. Even backup plans need backup plans during a storm. Even if you have a propane grill, have charcoal and a camping grill ready just in case. If you have boards on your windows, keep plastic sheeting and duct tape at the ready should those fail. If you are part of the mandatory evacuation and heading to Georgia, it is a good idea to drop a line to family in Kentucky just in case. You can never be too prepared.
- Trim down trees year-round: The most visible signs of hurricane damage through much of the state were downed trees and branches. And much of the damage to roofs and power lines was caused by falling debris. Much of the fallen trees looked they hadn’t been trimmed in years and a little maintenance beforehand might have prevented much of it from coming down during the storm. This also applies to loose fence posts, derelict furniture and random flotsam in yards that became projectiles in heavy winds.
- Stay in contact: With power down and many cell towers damaged, both internet and phone communication was spotty. That’s why it was important that people stayed connected when they could. Facebook groups, group text chains and a variety of apps allowed people to stay in touch and provide updates when they able to connect. Knowing family and friends were safe was a giant relief and cut down on anxiety.
- Don’t forget about pets: Storms were stressful on everyone, including your furry family members. Make sure when making preparations you also have plenty of food for your pets and also plenty of drinking water for them as well. One of the saddest parts we’ve seen in the storm’s aftermath has been the local shelters being flooded with pets that were forced out of their homes with no place to go. Make sure all your pets are up to date on shots, have proper ID tags on them and, if they have a microchip, all your personal data is up to date in the unfortunate chance you get separated.
What’s in your emergency kit? How did Hurricane Irma affect you?
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