Beside the obvious items you need to prepare for a hurricane (bottled water, batteries, and non-perishable food), here are five items you not thing about that will also help you make it through the storm.
1. Wireless cell phone chargers
This storm will test the patience of residents like none other now that we rely on cell phones, tablets, and computers much more than we did ten years ago during the last big storms to hit Florida. You may not have the option to charge your phone if you don’t have power and don’t have a generator. It’s likely malls and other public places will offer free charging if there is damage, but you can also expect long lines at those charging stations.
You can buy extended batteries or wireless charging stations to help power your phone during and after the storm. Digital Trends lays out some of your options. You can purchase one for $20+. Or just invest in an AC adapter so you can charge your phone in your car.
With big storms the risk of power outages increase. Sometimes the power can remain out for prolonged periods. Grab some cash from your local bank or ATM to have on hand just in case electronic credit card machines don’t work after the storm. That way you can still make purchases that you need.
You’ll need gas to power generators, and having several gallons on hand can also help you avoid long lines if stations lose power after the storm. Many now have backup systems after issues during the last big storm, but every station won’t be able to run without power.
If gas stations flood, the tanks in the ground can get filled with water contaminating the gas with sediment and other debris. It happened in Boynton Beach, Lantana, and Delray Beach after severe rain hit the area a few years ago. If several stations have flooding problems, supplies will dwindle. When there’s less supply, prices and demand may go up.
It’s also unclear where the storm will hit. If the storm hits one of the ports where gas is stored, it could limit the supply available for gas stations.
While fueling your car will be important, especially if you need your car to charge your electronics, eating is also needed. Without power, more people will be grilling. Get an extra tank of propane just in case you’re grilling a little longer than expected.
Stock up now to avoid shortages later in the week.
5. Photos or video of your belongings
If you have to make an insurance claim, it doesn’t matter what kind of coverage you have. Your insurance company will still ask you for a list of damaged or lost items. While you think you might know what’s in your home, you will likely forget items and won’t get the maximum benefit you deserve.
Take detailed photos of the items in your home so there is no doubt what’s inside before the storm. If you have a few extra minutes, get closeups including model numbers of expensive items. Also, walk through your home with your video camera set to record. Investing time now, will help you get the most value out of every little thing you’ve invested in over the years.
Bonus tip: Move valuables off the ground
While most of our pictures are now on our phones, it’s likely you have boxes of old photos and albums too. Make sure those boxes are off the floor and up on counters or tall furniture so that they are protected if water comes rushing through your home.
Paperwork can also be valuable. Put your social security card, passport, birth certificate and other items that are tough to replace in plastic baggies and move them to a safe place. Replacing these items is a headache, so it’s best to protect them now.
Hopefully all of these storm preps are not needed, but you never can be careful enough. You don’t mess with the power of Mother Nature.