PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Hurricane season is here, and we in South Florida need to prepare as best as we can. This may conjure images of big generators or stacks of plastic tubs filled with emergency food. Good things to have, but the price tag can add up quickly.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to save yourself some misery in the event of a hurricane. These are some inexpensive items that will make life a little easier in the days after a hurricane. You can get them all for under $60.
1) Big contractor trash bags ($15 for 20 pack at 42 gallons each)
These are the big, heavy-duty trash bags that you may see on a construction site. These could protect your belongings if water or rain were to enter your house. Important family documents, clothes, medication, and anything that you would want dry and protected could be stuffed into these and placed in a closet (preferably off the ground).
2) Stowable collapsible water bags ($12 for 4 pack of 5 liters each)
We’ve all seen this play out: A hurricane threatens South Florida, the grocery store shelves go bare and bottled water can’t be found. So you could buy a bunch of water at the beginning of the season, but that takes up a good deal of space. No worries! Get some collapsible plastic water containers. You can store them easily when not needed, then simply fill them up if a storm threatens.
3) Painter’s tarp/plastic ($8 for 10’ x 100’)
Sometimes after a hurricane, the water system ceases to flow to the tap and toilet. However, the sewage system tends to still function. Something you can do to have a functioning toilet is to fill the tub with water. Simply pour some of that water into your toilet to flush. The tub will likely have a very slow leak, so a plastic sheet like those used to protect floors while painting can help. Lay it on the bottom of the tub, then fill it up.
4) Good, hefty zip-lock freezer bags ($6 for 10 pack)
Not only are these useful for protecting items from water, but you can also use these to prolong cool temperatures in your freezer and fridge. Fill these up ¾ with water, then stuff as many as you can in your freezer. They will soon turn into blocks of ice. If the power goes out, these ice blocks will keep the temperature down in your freezer (and thus your fridge). This will buy you some time before food begins to spoil.
5) Car cell phone charger ($12)
Many of us likely already have one of these, but a car cell phone charger could be invaluable if the power is out for an extended amount of time. Simply start your car and plug in your phone to get it some juice. This will be a balancing act, as you wouldn’t want to run your car too long or often and run low on gas, but it will get you by.