Hurricane Preparedness

This list was published 0n  June 1 & 2, 2018 in the Naples Daily News and is one of the best I've seen. 
  • A “frill-free” landline phone & basic phone contract (more on this later)
  • BATTERIES! Save time and aggravation by keeping track of what size batteries you need. Narrow your battery needs down to no more than two (three max) sizes
  • Do NOT buy rechargeable batteries, which can’t be charged if the power goes out
  • Manual can opener Wine key & bottle opener 
  • Heavy- duty screwdriver with double-sided bits  
  • Portable gas or charcoal grill w/plenty of propane or charcoal
  • Paper plates, plastic drinking cups, paper napkins & heavy-duty plastic utensils
  • Ice trays
  • Two boxes pre-cut aluminum foil sheets 
  • Two boxes each quart- & gallon-sized zip-close bags
  • LED lanterns (See: Atomic Beam Tactical Lantern by BulbHead — available on Amazon)
  • One or more large battery-operated fans (See: O2 COOL 10-inch portable fan w/ USB charging port from Bed Bath & Beyond)
  • Several hand-held fans  
  • Plastic tarps
  • An emergency drinking water storage system (See: WaterBOB —available on Amazon)
  • Several gallon-size milk ugs to fill with water BEFORE the storm
  • One watertight file box for important files
  • A large, watertight container for garbage
  • A well-stocked first-aid kit (replenish annually)  Bug repellent, insect bite ointment & sunscreen
  • Solar- powered walkway lights (charge during the day/bring inside at night)
  • Flashlights! (look for flashlights that take AA batteries)
  • A small LED pocket penlight to hook to the inside of your shirt
  • Headlamps for reading & navigating property after the storm
  • Matches and multipurpose lighters
  • Knee-high rubber boots in case of flooding
  • Several pairs of heavy-duty work gloves for cleanup
  • Face masks & rubber gloves for cleanup
  • One or more large coolers with wheels and plenty of freezer packs
  • Automobile umper cables
  • One or more high-capacity portable mobile phone chargers w/ appropriate cords
  • One or more solar-powered mobile phone chargers w/ appropriate cords
  • One automobile mobile phone adapter plug and cord
  • Silicone pot cover to put over tub drain to prevent leakage
  • One can of unscented dry shampoo (you’ll be glad you did)
  • One or more 5-gallon spillproof cans for gas (to be properly stored in garage)
  • Wi-Fi in your car. It’s worth the monthly fees in order to have access to the internet!
  • Battery-operated transistor radio and/or TV
  • Generator & gas. Store and test twice a year in strict accordance with manufacturer’s operating manual.
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Gas- powered chainsaw (Use only with protective clothing, gloves, eye & ear protection)
  • NOAA weather radio
  • Make sure your insurance is up-to-date, and understand exactly what your policy covers BEFORE hurricane season
  • Create an online account with your insurance company and keep a list of claims procedures, telephone numbers and policy numbers on hand
  • Prepare a detailed inventory of all personal property, including invoices for large purchases
  • Photograph all personal property and store to a flash drive or in the cloud. Send a copy to an out-ofstate friend or relative
  • Create a master list of accounts, contact names/ numbers for all credit/debit cards, bank and mortgage accounts and insurance policies; also include contact information for lawyer, accountant, financial adviser, insurance agent, friends and family. Copy to a flash drive and wear around your neck for safekeeping.
  • Lubricate the locks and tracks of your shutters quarterly.
  • Have brokenshutters repaired in March or April
  • Set aside plenty of CASH (small bills are best) in case of emergency
  • Stock up on enough nonperishable food to last seven days
  • Stock up on enough toilet paper & paper towels to last two weeks
  • Stock up on propane cylinders & make sure they fit your grill
  • Stock up on plenty of hand sanitizer wipes & baby wipes for personal hygiene
  • Stock up on disposable disinfecting wipes for easy cleaning
  • Stock up on bottled WATER for humans & pets (1 gallon per person and pet, per day for a minimum of 14 days)
  • Buy disposable toothbrushes
  • If you live in a flood zone, purchase sandbags in advance. (Note: In lieu of sandbags, large bags of potting soil will suffice. After the storm, re-purpose bagged soil.)
  • If you don’t have shutters and plan on using plywood to protect your home, have the plywood cut in advance and have a solid installation plan in place
  • Make sure to give a spare key to a friend for safekeeping
  • Keep two weeks’ worth of pet food, flea & tick/ heartworm medicine, and anti-anxiety pills in a watertight container
  • Have a copy of all pets’ current vaccines and licenses
  • Secure animals in a portable/collapsible crate with their favorite toys and a long-lasting rawhide bone before, during and after the hurricane
  • Keep all pets on a harness AND leash AT ALL TIMES
As strange as this seems, it’ s the little things in life that have the biggest impact aft er a hurricane. If you’r e lucky enough to have power, you can make ice cubes by filling Dixie cups and/or ice trays with purified (or boiled) water.
If you plan on leaving town for longer than a week at any time during hurricane season, do the right thing and COMPLETELY empty your refrigerator and freezer before departing. If a hurricane is headed our way, don’t expect your friends, neighbors or home watch service to do this for you, as they will have plenty of other, more important tasks to take care of before and after the storm.



  • Put your shutters up! Do NOT wait until the day before the storm
  • Make a last-minute trip to the recycling center to drop off any unwanted hazardous materials. www.colliergov. net/recycles
  • Remove fan blades from all exterior ceiling fans
  • Remove or tightly tie down exterior hanging light fixtures
  • Remove decorative knickknacks, pots, statutes, doormats, etc. from outside your home
  • Purchase boxed milk (Parmalat), as well as oranges, grapefruits and apples, which are nutritious and don’t need to be refrigerated
  • On your smartphone, turn Government Alerts “on”
  • Set aside blankets, pillows & inflatable mattresses
  • Set aside rain gear, including rubber boots, umbrella and a rain jacket w/ hood
  • Start making ice and filling as many zip-close bags as possible. If the power goes out, these pre-packed bags of ice should keep everything cold in your freezer. Be sure to make enough to fill your coolers as well
  • Start emptying your freezer and refrigerator of all perishable items
  • Fill your cars’ gas tanks and top off all automobile liquids — limit driving thereafter
  • It’ s never too early to get ready, plan for a storm
  • Inspect your cars’ tires and make sure tire pressure is correct
  • Fill your 5-gallon spill-proof gas cans and store in garage or out-shed
  • Make sure you have plenty of propane, gas, batteries and other essentials on hand




  • Wash ALL dirty laundry, including sheets & towels
  • Completely clean your home
  • Change bed linens on all beds
  • Balance your bank statement(s) in advance to ensure you have sufficient funds
  • Pay credit card bills, utility bills and 1040 estimated taxes in advance
  • Be sure everyone in your family, from young children to aging parents, has detailed identification, including medical information, on them at all times
  • Keep a current photo of every family member and pet in case of an emergency
  • Pack one suitcase per person and be ready to evacuate (I suggest preparing a packing list in advance, which will speed up the process when you’re under pressure)
  • Store all prescription medicines; spare contact lenses and eyeglasses; checkbooks, passports & identification papers; insurance policies (hard copies); HUD statements; title insurance (home); car titles; medical records; and pet licenses & vaccination records in a watertight container. Scan copies of the above items to a flash drive
  • Keep plenty of prescription medicine on hand. If you have any medicines that need to be refrigerated, store them in a hard-sided, watertight insulated cooler with 1 or 2 ice packs
  • Keep plenty of old towels on hand in case of leaks (Note: layer 3 or 4 wet towels on top of your cooler for extra insulation)





  • Turn ice maker “off” & empty ice tray
  • Cook ALL meat, fish and poultry
  • Crank up the freezer & refrigerator settings to coldest setting
  • Crank up the air conditioning to get your home as cold as possible.
  • Double-check to ensure all doors & windows are securely LOCKED
  • Pull all window blinds down to keep home cool
  • Fill the bathtubs with water (cover drain w/ silicone pot lid). THIS WATER IS NOT FOR DRINKING!
  • Fill several gallon jugs with water to flush toilet. Limit waste water use until given the “all-clear” by local utility company
  • Run the dishwasher and washer/dryer one last time
  • Charge all small electronic devices (laptops, mobile phones, tablets and external battery packs)
  • Back up computer files to the cloud or to an external hard-drive (store in watertight container)
  • Store computer/laptop in the dishwasher. This appliance, when closed and locked, is supposed to be watertight. (Note: I have heard some comments to the contrary.)
  • Fill several thermoses with coffee, or buy cold brewed coffee
  • Tell your out-of-town friends & family where you will be during the hurricane, as well as what your backup plans are should you need to evacuate
  • Remind family and friends to limit calls and texts. Mobile phone battery life is a valuable commodity before, during and after a hurricane
  • Clear all voicemail messages, as well as all “deleted voicemails” from your mobile phone to ensure friends & family won’t get a “voicemail full” message
  • Put all hurricane supplies in one easily accessible location — off the floor




  • Pull your car into the garage as far as possible
  • Lock garage from the inside by closing safety latch & put lift on “manual”
  • Turn off hot water heater and corresponding circuits
  • Unplug all small appliances. (Toaster ovens, coffeemakers, hair dryers, televisions, computers and printers, etc.)
  • Put dry towels & bath mats on the floor surrounding all windows & doors
  • Close all interior doors tightly
  • Put all mobile devices on “low battery” mode
  • Leave your mobile devices ON at all times during the storm! After the storm, as long as there’s an internet or cell connection, your family will be able the track your location
  • Everyone should pick a place in the home where he/she will remain for the duration of the storm
  • Have a “backup” room where everyone goes in case the windows blow (ex: garage)
  • If you do move into the “backup” room, take a headcount
  • Securely lock all exterior doors and put the key in close proximity to the door (possibly in a cooler for safekeeping). Make sure everyone knows where the key is located
  • Have a plan and discuss evacuation routes in advance. Make sure everyone understands
  • Be ready to evacuate immediately in case of flying debris
  • Wear long pants, sneakers and socks during the hurricane and afterward. (NO shorts and NO flipflops)
  • Surviving a hurricane is not a fashion show!
  • Everyone should have a raincoat w/ hood handy and keep a headlamp or flashlight in the pocket (besides
  • shielding you from the rain, the hood and coat could protect you from flying shards of glass)
  • Keep passport, driver’s license/identification, cash and credit/debit/ATM cards together in a handbag or zip-close bag and place next to your raincoat for quick retrieval should you need to evacuate
  • Turn the television off and keep off until power is stable
  • The moment you lose power, turn your air conditioner & corresponding circuits OFF. (Air handler first, followed by condenser)





  • If you didn’t turn your AC off before the storm, it’s important you reset your HVAC system(s) by turning the air conditioner & corresponding circuits (air handler & condenser) OFF. After 10 minutes, turn the circuits back on (one at a time) followed by the HVAC
  • Change AC air filters & return temperature settings back to normal
  • Run two cycles in both the clothes washer and dishwasher to ensure the water is clean
  • Return refrigerator/freezer settings back to normal
  • Run 2 or 3 full ice maker cycles before using the ice
  • Photograph and report any/all damage to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Replenish all supplies, including batteries, gas and propane, immediately after a storm
  • Remove batteries from all flashlights, radios & fans when not in use 


Celebrate the end of hurricane season by donating all of the canned foods purchased for your emergency kit, as well as all of the unspoiled perishable items in your fridge, to your local soup kitchen: St. Matthews House in Naples, 239-774-0500, www.StMatthewsHouse. org, or Harry Chapin Food Bank in Fort Myers, 239-334-7007,




Contrary to popular belief, LED lanterns and flashlights are the best source of light before, during and after a natural disaster. Following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, nine of the 22 post-impact deaths were a direct result of smoke inhalation and/or burns caused by five house fires; the fires were attributed to the use of candles during power outages.



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