How To Be Prepared And Stay Safe During A Hurricane

How To Be Prepared And Stay Safe During A Hurricane

Preparing for before and after a storm
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Due to recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in our country, being prepared and dealing with the aftermath of such events is a big deal. These natural disasters can have life altering effects that include the loss of your home or even the loss of life.

I live in Cape Coral, FL and I’m sure as many of you know we just went through Hurricane Irma, but fortunately for me, my house is still standing, not under water, and all my family made it in one piece. This storm had no life-altering effect on me, but I was lucky while many were not.

This is where being prepared would come in handy. First, keep your eye on the news and the progress of the storm. It can look as though the storm is heading towards you, but at the last minute, it can change direction. Because of this need, any warnings were given, especially those calling you to evacuate. With Irma, there was a strong chance of a storm surge of up to 10 feet where I live. I live on very low land, so my family and I evacuated to higher ground. Always remember you can hide from the wind, but you can’t run from water. Storm surges are serious and can be very deadly so if you are in a zone that calls for more than two feet of flooding, evacuate.

If you have made the decision to stay and stick it out, you need to be prepared. What I always say is hope for the best, but expect the worst, this way you are always ready. However, when you are out and about getting all your supplies be mindful of others. I know water is very important and you want to stock up before the storm, but when you buy six cases at one store you’re not really leaving much for other people. Same goes for anything else: gas, propane, batteries, flashlights, and even food. I get you want to be as prepared as you can, but there are others who are trying to do the same. So, when buying your water limit yourself to two cases per store or one tank of gas per station because I can assure you if you were the one looking for these supplies and there are none left, but the person in front of you has six cases of water, you will be very annoyed.

So, now you have decided to stay and you have all your supplies. Next, is preparing your house. This all depends on the storm. Boarding up your windows with plywood or shutters is always a good idea. If there is a chance of flooding, sand bags will help deter the water, depending on how much you are expecting. Also with flooding, anything you has sitting on the ground that you don’t want to be ruined or on low shelves, should be moved to at least above knee level to be on the safe side. Lastly, find your safe haven. If you have a room in your house that has no outside walls, that is your best bet. If you don’t have that, the room with the fewest windows should be fine.

Okay, so now your house is prepared, what’s next? You. You need to be prepared. Power is most likely to go out so charge all your electronics and batteries before the lights go out. Grab a book or two or any other activity to keep you busy. The less you think about the storm the better and easier it will be. Also, shower before the storm because I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of cold showers, and if you are on a well you won’t have water at all. Also, while you still have refrigeration, freeze as much ice as you can. Fill bowls with water and stick them in the freezer if you must. Trust me, when you are living out of a cooler you will be happy you did this.

Now the storm has passed and your power is out, what do you do? First, be thankful you are still here and the storm didn’t take you with it. Material objects can be replaced, you cannot. Next, if it is safe, go out and assess the damages. With me, we had a few down trees and half of our back fence was on the ground, but nothing too serious and all very fixable. If you have serious damage, do not freak out. Freaking out is the worst thing you can do. Get ahold of your landlord or insurance company and let them know what’s going on. It can all be fixed in time.

Also, before the hurricane, go in your front and backyard and bring in everything that you don’t want going. Because chances are the winds are gonna pick it up and take it away. Also, if you have anything that could be picked up and be flying debris, bring that in too. We all want as little dangers as possible out there. So, pack up your trampolines, pick up loose stepping stones, and if you have small above ground pools, I’d take those down as well.

Next make sure whatever cold food and drink you have is already in the cooler because you are not going to want to open that fridge. Hopefully, you have propane, unlike me and my family, so a hot meal shouldn’t be a problem, but in the off chance you don’t, improvise. It won’t be great, but a PB&J and/or a can of fruit is better than nothing at all.

Here’s a little reminder: Just because the storm is over, doesn’t mean stores are going to open right back up or if they do, it doesn’t mean they are suddenly going to have all the supplies you need. I work at 7-Eleven and I can’t tell you how many people have come in wanting ice or food that we simply do not have. If the stores are out before the storm chances are they are out after it. Wait at least a week for these stores to restock because they have to wait for the deliveries to be up and running again.

I am thankful that after Irma’s treacherous path, I still had a home to come back to and all my family made it through ok. However, my family and I were not as prepared as we could have been and waited till the last minute to evacuate, which wasn’t the smartest. So, take what I have said to heart and keep yourself and your family safe by getting prepared as early as you can. Like I said, objects can be replaced but you and your family cannot.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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25 Reasons Getting a Dog in Your 20's is a Smart Idea

In honor of National Puppy Day!
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Life in your twenties is a wonderful time. You're finally free from your parents tight leash (pun intended) and starting to discover who you are. However, not every night can be a wild adventure filled with a drunken story you'll discuss 20 years later. Some nights are just meant to be spent relaxing...but instead of being alone, why not have a companion with you? A fluffy, crazy, ball of fun companion that is.

As many people know thanks to social media, today is National Puppy Day. Long story short, it's the day where Instagram junkies and take pictures of their furry friends and post them to social media. This day may only come once a year, but the love of a dog lasts a lifetime. People say having a dog in college is nuts, but honestly is it?

Meet Cooper, he's my year old Golden Retriever and honestly the biggest pain and joy in my life. A lot of people laugh at the idea of having an 83 pound dog living inside an apartment but he makes everyday so much better. So many people out there already have dogs in college and are loving it. Having a dog in college is actually one of the smarter things a college kid can do. Seriously, Here's 25 reasons why everyone in their 20's should get a dog.

1. For starters...look at that face.

(Enough said right there)

2. Who needs school? After getting the dog you learn life's biggest lesson; responsibility.

3. They sleep almost half the day so you don't have to be worried about leaving them at home. And let's be real, naps with your pup are way better than naps with anyone else.

4. They teach you how to save and budget your money (food, toys, supplies, treats). It's like Finance 302, but for dog lovers.

5.They keep you in shape since you have to walk them several times a day.

6. They are better wingmen...or women then any of your human friends.

7. They love being around other people, so a party is a fun place for them to roam.

8. Everyone loves dogs so you know they'll be welcomed almost everywhere you go.

9. They are excellent listeners. They listen to the issues everyone else is tired of hearing, and never pass judgment on your questionable moralistic debates.

10. Treats are their kryptonite. Teaching them obedience is easier than you think.

11. They are perfect drinking buddies.

12. They love the outdoors, so they great for hunting and playing Frisbee on your quad.

13. They are great to grab and hug when you get dumped. Or any other time for that matter.

14. They grow up as you do, changing as the tides in your life change.

15. Celebrating their birthday is almost as exciting as celebrating your own.

16. They get you ready for kids...which should be a long ways away. But nonetheless, you are prepared for all things menacing.

17. They're the perfect excused to get out of that awful relationship.

18.They won't complain when you want to be lazy...in fact they'll join you. Dog cuddles = the best cuddles.

19. No judgement is ever passed for the many problematic circumstances they witness, they are ALWAYS excited to see you.

20. They're perfect for asking someone a certain question.

21. Hell, if you're lucky enough, they might even be apart of the wedding.

22. They love playing with your kids.

23. They get more and more regal with age.

24. As that time begins to approach, you'll treasure every minute you have with them.

25. And when the time comes to finally say goodbye, you will realize the bond you have with something greater then yourself.

But most of all...you have gained a life long friend with millions of memories that will last for a lifetime.

So to those pet owners in college who have already began the process of that bond, congrats on making the right decision.

And to those who haven't, what are you waiting for? Go out and make a friend for life.

Happy National Puppy Day!!




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Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Harvey had an impact that went beyond floodwaters.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.

Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.

I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.

It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.

Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.

Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.

Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.

Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.

Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.

Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.

With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.

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