I have several lists of thing to consider when getting ready for a hurricane. This list is different. It is a list of things one should consider getting early on that might not occur to you went a hurricane is already in the Gulf and time is of the essence. I call it my list of ďextras.Ē
_____ Coffee Filters. These can be used as a pre-filter to remove big particles from scavenged water from lakes or puddles. The will also make any store-bought water filter last much longer. Also, if you are using chemical treatment of water such as iodine or bleach, you can use less of the chemical if the water is not cloudy with particulates.
_____ Eye Drops. If you donít regularly use eye drops, this may not be on your list of things to buy. However, there are lots of particles blowing around in the air before and after a hurricane, and if your eyes get irritated, you will want eye drops to help you cope.
_____ Ground Coffee. If you are like me, you prefer to buy whole beans and grind them just before making your coffee. However, if you lose electricity that may be difficult. Buy a bag of ground coffee and you will be covered during the time the power is out.
_____ Bleach. Bleach has many uses both during and after a storm. Bleach can help purify water and can also be used during clean up if you have water damage. But all bleach is not the same. Donít buy bleach with a scent added if you are going to use it to purify water. Try getting an off brand. Such brands are more likely to be ďjustĒ bleach. Also, bleach only lasts about six months before it goes bad and is not useful for water purification. So, buy a new gallon at the start of each hurricane season and pour the old one down the drain.
_____ Activated Carbon. You can buy this stuff at an aquarium store or pet store. It is very good as part of your water filtering efforts. Very cheap.
_____ Tub O' Towels. Try a hardware store for these. Amazon.com also sells them. They come in a 90 count container and they are great, great, great. I donít know how I lived without them. They are a sort of wet towel that can clean almost anything. You will use them all the time, if you give them a try. Just be sure you have a full container at the beginning of the hurricane season.
_____ Duct Tape. You canít have too much duct tape. Buy several rolls. I like Gorilla tape the best.
_____ Tree Saw and/or Folding Saw. Tree saws are wonderful. They will slice right through fallen limbs without the teeth clogging. I have personally used one to cut up a fallen tree that was blocking a road. If you must be out in your car during or after a storm, don't leave without throwing a tree saw in the vehicle. A folding saw is used by gardeners for small branches. It can cut fairly large limbs, but is much slower going than a tree saw. Still, you can fold it up and stick it in your back pocket, unlike a tree saw. Get both.
_____ Insecticide. There will be clean up after a hurricane. And much of that clean up will be outdoors. Be sure you have a supply of insecticide on hand to keep the bugs away. Something with DEET is usually effective. Sporting goods stores sell formulaes for hunters, and pharmacies and grocery stores will have stuff for everyday use. Get plenty.
_____Large Trash Bags. Here, I am talking about the contractor bags that are several mils thick and 30 gallons or up. There are a thousand uses for such bags. I always have one in the car to make a rain poncho if needed. If a window breaks and the wind is not too strong, you can use them to keep out water. And, of course, they are great to drape over objects to keep rain off.
_____ Pet Food. If you are like me, you buy your pet food when the current supply starts to go low. This might mean you donít have a two-week supply on hand when the emergency comes. So, any time there is a hurricane in the Gulf, buy a big bag of kibble or buy several tins of cat food. And donít forget to make sure you have plenty of treats on hand. Our dog expects to have a treat after her dinner, and will not understand why they are not available as usual.
_____ Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil. I would make sure you have two rolls of this stuff. Aluminum foil can be used for thousands of things, such as making a bowl for a pet, plugging a hole in a wall, temporarily stopping up a roof leak in the attic, or making a crude funnel to direct water into a trash can or bucket. And, once hurricane season is over, you can always use it for the thousands of things aluminum foil is good for.
_____ Zip Lock Bags in All Sizes. When you make your grocery store run, donít forget to buy several boxes of different sized zip lock bags. They have lots of uses, and not just during hurricane season.
_____ Tea Bags. If you can heat water, you can have a nice cup of tea. Keep Calm and Carry On.
_____ Paper Plates. If you eat off paper plates, you wonít have the challenge of washing dishes when you lose your water.
_____ Baby Wipes. If you lose your water, how are you going to take a shower. With difficulty. Still, if you have baby wipes you can take a thorough sponge bath and feel civilized. The wipes are also useful in the kitchen.
_____ Toilet Paper. This is one of the most important things you might overlook. No matter how big your supply, you will always use up whatever extra you buy. And consider keeping the extra TP in those large garbage bags so it stays dry.
_____Paper Towels. Get several extra rolls. Regular wash cloths and tea towels will be hard to laundry if we lose power or water.
_____ Gatorade. If someone gets dehydrated, this is good stuff to rehydrate them. Pedialyte is also supposed to be good for this.
_____ Kitty Litter. There are many kinds of spills (like cooking oil) where you donít want to use up all your paper towels or ruin a mop that you have no easy way to rinse. Kitty Litter is useful for such spills. And cheap.
_____ Water Purifier. Campers use these things so they can have water without the weight required if they pack all the liquid they need. During a hurricane, government officials may issue a Boil Water Advisory (BWA). You should plan on having three gallons per day per person of potable water for drinking, food preparation and hygiene. And you should stockpile a two week supply. That is a lot of water. If you live in an apartment or condo, finding space for that much water is difficult. So, get a water purifier instead. Check out Amazon.com. Katydyn, Sawyer and Life Straw all make popular filters. Get one for your car and (at least) one for the house.
_____Rubber Boots. Get a pair of rubber boots like gardeners wear. The usually come up to your knees, and are perfect for treking around in rain water in your back yard during a storm. They are usually available in whole shoe sizes only. I ordered mine a half size larger than my shoe size and they work perfectly.
_____ A Butane Stove. You probably have a propane camp stove. Such stoves are excellent and fuel is readily available. But I encourage you to invest in a butane stove. The advantage of a butane stove is that you can use it indoors. I know you have a propane grill, and a fire pit, but it may be raining cats and dogs when you decide itís time to eat. If you have a butane stove, and butane fuel containers, you can cook indoors. These are the stoves places like Sur la Table and Central Market use in their cooking classes. They are not expensive on Amazon.com and might really be handy. The one I have is called a ZA-3HP by Iwantani. It is specifically rated for indoor (and outdoor) use. Be sure and order this before a storm hits the Gulf, and order a dozen butane fuel containers too. In my experience, two-day shipping does not occur on these items.
_____ Bic Lighters. This is something you might not think of if you don't smoke. But this is a good way to light a fire if yu have to do outdoor cooking. I don't smoke, but I have collected some Zippo lighters over the years. Pure Americana. Even so, it is hard to beat a Bic lighter for price and reliability. Get several. They are cheap, and you can keep one in the glove box, one in your first aid kit and one near the grill. Bics are lots better than matches if there is a high wind.
_____Muzzle for Your Dog. It goes without saying that if you have to evacuate, you will be taking your dog(s). They may be under stress from the storm or from just seeing you under stress. If you are put in a situation where they are around a lot of strangers (also under tress) or other dogs, some guarding behavior may come out. A muzzle will increase the odds that you and your dog will not be asked to leave. Look at Amazon.com for various types of muzzles. Some will allow your dog to eat, drink and pant without removing the muzzle. Be sure to buy the muzzle now, so you can get your dog used to wearing one.
_____ Tincture of Iodine. This is useful if you have to purify water. Cheap. Widely available at pharmacy departments everywhere. Store in a dark place.
_____ Tylenol or Advil, etc. Even if you donít get headaches, consider buying a full bottle of Anacin, a full bottle of Tylenol a full bottle of Aleve, and a full bottle of Advil. Even if you always use Advil, you may have guests during a hurricane, and they may only use one of the other brands. Plus, some people are allergic to one pain reliever, but not to another. You will be considered a great host if you can offer visitors the pain reliever of their choice.
_____ Red Wine. Get a case of red wine. Most drinks do not taste that great at room temperature. Red wine does, and you can always drink up any unused bottles after the storm has passed.