There's still a lot of uncertainty about where Hurricane Irma may go, but it never hurts to be prepared in case it winds up affecting you and your family.
In the wake of disaster, grocery stores and gas stations are often the first to run out of supply. So try shopping for what you'll need ahead of time. Here's a checklist with tips from ready.gov:
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (non-perishable items, at least a 3-day supply)
-Can Opener (for any canned foods)
-First Aid Kit
-Extra Batteries (for flashlight, radio, cell phone)
-Diapers & Wipes (if you have a baby or a young child)
-Toiletries & Medicine
- Pet Food & Supplies
-Whistle (to signal for help, if needed)
-Plastic Bags (for sanitation and to keep electronics and important documents dry)
-Cash (if there's no power and you can't access an ATM)
You'll also want to have a plan in case you have to evacuate. Check in with family and friends ahead of time to see if they can host you. Make sure there's gas in your tank and if you can, fill up some extra gallons to have on hand. Check with your local emergency management for the best and safest evacuation routes.
If you don't have to evacuate and opt to stay home, make sure you and your family have a plan. Make sure you have that emergency supply kit at home and that all your family members know where to find those items.
Before the storm, bring in any outdoor furniture and trim your trees to reduce the risk of falling branches amid high winds.
When the storm does hit, stay inside. If possible, go to a room without windows, like a closet or a bathroom. If you have to go to a room with windows, cover them up. You can also take a mattress with you wherever you're staying; you can hide under it if the roof collapses and debris is falling.
In the event of flooding, turn off your power and unplug any electronics to avoid any electrical concerns with the water. Put some cash and any important documents, like birth certificates or social security cards, in a plastic bag to try and keep them dry.
Pick a meeting spot ahead of time in case you and your family are separated. When it comes to communication, keep in mind that texting takes less battery power than calling. You'll want to save all the resources you can.
For more tips to prepare, check out ready.gov.