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Meteorologist Brad Panovich shared this Hurricane Check List on Facebook and I wanted to keep it for my own reference and share it with all of you. I actually found his list because I was reading Tiffany’s hurricane preparation blog post.
Brad Panovich says on his Facebook post that he actually got the list from a friend of his named Ricky Matthews, who can’t remember who gave it to him. But this Hurricane Check List has such fantastic emergency preparation tips that I think it is important to share regardless of who wrote it. Since the original is on Facebook and I want to be sure that I can permanently keep this as an emergency preparation check list, I’m saving it as a blog post here.
Where Janice and I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t have hurricanes, but it’s always important to be prepared for storms and emergencies of any type. We’ve shared about how to prepare for winter weather in the past, and we want to continue to share helpful resources for keeping your family safe.
This emergency preparation list is so exhaustive and complete that I know I would never be able to accomplish all of it. But it’s nice to know what we should do… even if we can’t get it all done.
Hurricane Check List from Meteorologist Brad Panovich
- Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups.
- Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.
- Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
- Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
- Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
- Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
- Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
- Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.
- Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
- Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
- Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
- Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
- Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
- Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
- Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
- Make sure you have cash on hand.
- Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
- Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
- Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
- Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
- Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.
- Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power.
- Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
- Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
- Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
- Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
- Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands.
- Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
- Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
- Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!
- Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
- Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
- If you can, take a video of your house and contents….walk room to room–open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof of items and help you list all the items (help your memory, so you don’t forget anything)…I highly recommend!!!
- I also heard you should freeze a cup of water, place a coin on top after it is frozen…keep this in your freezer to help you gauge the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful is you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen, but if the coin is in the cup–you will know!!
Finally, anything that you want to try and preserve, but you can’t take with you—place it in a plastic bin and put in your dishwasher, lock the door—this should make it water tight in case of any water intrusion into your home. But of course, take all the important/irreplaceable items you can!!
Another Hurricane Preparation To-Do List
Some of these items are also on the previous checklist, but there are still more good suggestions here…
- Try to get LED flashlights and lanterns. They last much longer. Have at least one flashlight for every person in your family, and ideally have a lantern or two for general lighting.
- Get a portable radio and plenty of batteries so your whole family can listen to news coverage if the power goes out. Do NOT depend on your cellphone for communications.
- Take photos today or tomorrow of every room, every piece of electronics, and everything valuable. Upload the pictures to the cloud – Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. – before the storm.
- Also take photos of key documents and upload them as well. You can do that today.
- Save your contacts in your phone to the cloud. If you don’t know how to do that, frame grab your screen or have someone take photos of your contacts with their phone and email or text the pictures back to you to a friend. Don’t take a chance on losing your contacts if something happens to your phone.
- Secure your photographs and albums in double plastic bags.
- Plastic bags and duct tape are your friends. You can’t buy too many of them. Put documents in gallons-size (or larger) Ziploc bags. Put larger items in double large trash bags cocooned so the opening of the first bag is in the bottom of the second bag. Put some clothes in plastic bags in case you get a roof leak. Duct tape bags closed. Put valuables on a high shelf in a closet.
- Think now about where you are going to park your car. A parking garage is ideal. Outside in a low-lying area or under a tree is the worst. Think about all of the cars you’ve seen ruined in storms because people made bad choices about where they parked the car before the storm. When we know the storm track, we’ll have a better idea which side of a building will give the best protection. Next to a building on the downwind side gives you the best chance if you have to leave your car outside.
- Do your laundry and wash your dishes before the storm.
- You dishwasher is an excellent “safe” in your house if you need someplace to put valuables. Your washer and dryer can offer good protection as well. These could be good places to put your bagged-up photos, for example.
- Fill Ziploc bags ¾ full of water and stuff them in your freezer to fill up the space. The less air you have in the freezer, the longer your refrigerator will stay cold. Do NOT turn your refrigerator to any lower setting than normal – that can damage the unit.
- Choose a friend or relative out of town to be the contact point for your family or group of friends. After a storm, it is always easier to get a call out of the area than within the storm zone. Be sure everybody has the out-of-town number and make a plan to check in ASAP after the storm.
- If you live in a high rise, be sure you know what the procedures are going to be in the building. Will the building be evacuated? Will the water continue to work? Will elevators work? What is on a generator? If you can stay in the building (if it’s away from the water) find an interior hallway on a low floor where you can set up camp during the storm. It will not be safe to be on a high floor or near windows, even with modern hurricane impact windows. A hallway surrounded by concrete is your best bet.
- Buy a plastic sheet – the kind you’d use as a drop cloth for painting – to line your bath tub. Line the bath tub and fill it with water before the storm. You’ll use this water to flush the toilet if the city water goes out. A sauce pan is a good scoop. Fill the tank and your toilet will work like normal.
- Think about what you will sit on if you are in a hallway or other safe spot for a number of hours – maybe 12 hours or more. Consider comfortable folding chairs. Take food to your safe spot. Have books or other non-electronic amusements, including for the kids.
- To repeat!! Do NOT count on your cellphone for communications. When Harvey hit Texas as a Cat 4, it knocked out the mobile phone system. In addition, your battery may run down and you may have no ability to charge it. Have an adapter so you can charge your cellphone in a car, have extra charges, and back-up batteries if you can.
- Pick up your yard and anything that might blow in the wind. Bring in pool furniture if you can. Don’t put it in the water because it can damage the pool.
- I recommend 7 days of water and food, and an AM/FM portable radio so you can keep up with news coverage.
- Most importantly, be sure you know a safe place where you and your family can ride out the storm, if it comes. This is the most critical decision you can make today. If you live near the water, put together the food, clothes, valuable items, and important papers you’ll take with you NOW. Leave as early as possible.
- Think clearly and carefully. This is it.
Don’t Miss This…
We realize the above Hurricane Check List can feel overwhelming. For a more basic emergency preparedness checklist, you can see our previous post on How to Prepare for Winter Weather.
Emergency Preparedness Checklist
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Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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