Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hurricane Preparedness - Ike is Coming - Category 4 Storm

Well, here we go again. I love South Florida tremendously. However, this time of year I always think would it be great to not go through this every year. But then I'm reminded that those along the coast also face it.

Each year I get better prepared. Wilma threw me for a loop, with lots of damage. No power for 3 weeks. Little food (even though I prepared) and major stress. My husband works at a job that requires him to actually go into work during the storms. They take turns. So I do it alone. My family recalls now with humor how during Wilma, we ran from room to room with a mattress over our heads. The room we had planned to stay in got destroyed, so I under pressure had to find a safe room in the house. We tried to squeeze the mattress in the bathroom, but it didn't work. Windows were crashing throughout the house. Hard to picture, but at the time it was terriflying. But afterwards, it was the light of the day - something to joke about it.

This year, I'm preparing more. It's my mission to make it easier for families. That's one of the reasons I wrote the Home Office Recovery Plan. When a storm hits it's stressful, you need to be prepared. Also, my families safety is in my hands, before, during and after the storm. Yes, it's just as critical afterwards. So with that, if anyone would like a sample copy of the Home Office Recovery Plan, email me. If anyone wants the book itself, I'll knock $5.00 off. Email through me.

Also, this year I found a company that can help do the repairs and also help you set up before the storm. After Wilma, I was so frustrated always on the phone looking for help for repairs. And not being able to get them. No more!! I saw families in my area absolutely fall apart over this. I've looked for years to find the right company. And I believe I have. It's my neighbors company, which makes it all the better. They are family-owned and operated and best yet they care. They do everything from preparing for the storm (shutters, etc.) to after the storm remodeling, removal, and rectifing (getting you back to normal.). I hope you look them up if you need help.

As always here are my tips too. I hope you find them beneficial.

Here are some steps to take to prepare:

Step One --Identify a safe place for everyone to meet. This pre-determined place should be discussed with family members prior to an emergency. A second location should be discussed. Also, out-of-town relatives should be advised of this location. Additionally, each person should have a list of phone numbers for immediate neighbors and family members. 3X5 index cards work well.

Step Two – Take an inventory now. Write down insurance policies including insurance company and contact information, policy numbers, group numbers, date of births, coverage, etc. Write down an inventory of valuables. Take photos.

Step Three -- Write down a complete family medical history. Include any medical conditions, medicines and dosages, doctors names and contact information, where medical records can be found, etc. Be specific. A life can truly depend on this one step alone.

Step Four – Get a copy of all important information, wills, trusts, mortgages, deeds, birth certificates, contracts, medical records, even household bills to help get things restored quickly, etc. Back-up your computer. Get extra cash. Often ATMs are down so cash is needed.

Step Five – Back up your computer system regularly. Whether you use your home computer for business or pleasure you want to be able to have a back-up available if it were to get damaged.

Food to have to prepare for a hurricane.

You normally will be able to grill. Get several bags of charcoal and lighter fluid for the grill. Also, if you have a gas grill, make sure you have plenty of gas. For cooking on the grill, get the Reynolds Hot Bags. This will allow you to grill about anything.

Dry Cereal or Granola
Protein or Fruit Bars
Peanut Butter/Jelly
Canned Juices
Non-Perishable Pasteurized Milk
Bread/Bagels/Dry Toast
Canned Fruits
Ready to Eat Soups
Quick Energy Snacks
Canned Foods--Kid’s Favorites
White Chicken In Can
Packages of Ketchup/Mayo, etc.
Noodles for Cooking
Coffee (Instant) -- Gotta have!
Trail Mix
Water / Juice Boxes for kids
Your Favorite Foods
Pet Food -- Not to eat naturally.

Velveeta Cheese (Stores well) -- (Crackers/Tuna Sandwiches/Top of Rice & Vegetables/Mac & Cheese)
Noodles -- Spaghetti/Mac & Cheese -- this is for after.
Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (simmer the boil-in-bag 4 minutes) -- Different flavors
Can Fruits/Pop Open Tops -- Can mix with Jell-O if you have plenty of water. Different dessert for kids.

Food safety: Food kept under minimal refrigeration (in an ice chest) is prone to food safety issues, so be very careful how you handle it. At a time like this, food safety rules are very important. Use the disposable food cutting sheets for preparing meats, vegetables and fruits.

And wear disposable gloves.Rinse once: When using a variety of canned beans for one meal, place them all in a colander and rinse them all at one time instead of one kind at a time. This saves water.Buy cookies, chips, pretzels, crackers with processed cheese in single-serving snack packs so that they don't succumb to humidity and get soggy once opened. For a sweet treat, stock mini candy bars.To go with those chips, purchase pop-top cans of dip. They come in a variety of flavors including onion, bean, mild cheddar and jalapeno cheddar (Wise and Fritos).

Sitting with the family enjoying these as you heat the grill for dinner is a good way to help everyone relax at a trying time.

Our family always buys fruits, lots of fruits. Going though the trauma of the storm, nerves are on the edge. If I can provide them with fruits, nuts, and other items to eat while weathering the storm, it seems to help.

Sewing Needle
Sun Screen
2” Sterile Gauze Pads
Latex Gloves
Moistened Towelettes
Safety Pins
4” Sterile Gauze
2” Sterile Roller Bandages
First Aid Cream
Personal Items
Hand Sanitizer Gel
Pain Relief such as Tylenol

If you have ideas on how to stay safe, please share them with us. Thanks!

Diana Ennen, Virtual Word Publishing,

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