Posted by: webbhouston | September 2, 2009

you are like a hurricane

Living in the southern gulf of the United States hurricanes are a fact of life. We do not get it as often as Florida does but we get our share of hurricanes ever so often. In the past few years we have gotten three major hurricanes that have affected our way of life.

Katrina: which was obviously huge to Louisiana, Houston ended up with many of the refugees of the area and saw the toll that it took on the people of the south personally. It was devastating and scary.

Rita: My in laws saw this one personally, the hurricane demolished a great deal of the Golden Triangle area between Texas and Louisiana. They were without electricity for weeks and the towns are still recovering.

Ike: We don’t like Ike. I don’t care what anyone says. There are few things scarier than a hurricane passing over your house in the middle of the night while you sleep in a closed off bedroom with your small children. The sound of a train passing over your house. The pitch black. The loss of the food and of parts of your own home. We lived through Ike and the aftermath of it almost exactly a year ago.

Because of these recent events we have learned to prepare for hurricanes when the season starts. In our location we are more likely to get hurricanes in the later part of the season, around August-October.

In the beginning of the season we buy shelf stable foods in bulk. Canned tomatoes, dried fruits and veggies, powedered milk, shelf stable juices and milk in tetrapaks. We make sure that our generators are running and that we have enough fuel for them.  We bought some water containers for storing potable water in case of emergencies and made sure that we had some water purification tablets on hand. We have a family emergency preparedness plan together and I even made sure that our company bought a little emergency kit.

This is what FEMA tells us that we need:

  • Water
    • Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for up to 2 weeks (family of 5 needs 70 gallons).
    • Watersafe can help you meet that requirement.”
  • Food
    • At least a 3-Day supply of ready-to-eat non-perishable food for each person
    • Manual can opener for canned foods
    • Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno.
    • Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
    • Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
  • First Aid Supplies
    • Essential medicines including:
      • Eyeglasses and contact lenses
      • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
      • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
      • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
      • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
      • Triangular bandages (3)
      • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
      • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
      • Scissors
      • Tweezers
      • Needle
      • Moistened towelettes
      • Antiseptic
      • Thermometer
      • Tongue blades (2)
      • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
      • Assorted sizes of safety pins
      • Cleansing agent/soap
      • Latex gloves (2 pair) Sunscreen
    • Non-prescription drugs
      • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
      • Anti-diarrhea medication
      • Antacid (for stomach upset)
      • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
      • Laxative
      • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies
    • Include at least 1 change of clothes and shoes per person
      • Jacket or coat
      • Long pants
      • Long sleeve shirt
      • Sturdy shoes or work boots
      • Hat, gloves and scarf�
      • Rain gear
      • Thermal underwear
      • Blankets or sleeping bags
      • Sunglasses
    • Sanitation
      • Toilet paper
      • Soap, liquid detergent
      • Feminine supplies
      • Personal hygiene items
      • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
      • Plastic bucket with tight lid
      • Disinfectant
      • Household chlorine bleach
  • Tools
    • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
    • 2 coolers – one for food and one for ice
    • Emergency preparedness manual
    • Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Cash or traveler’s checks, change
    • Nonelectric can opener, utility knife
    • Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
    • Tube tent
    • Pliers
    • Tape
    • Compass
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • Aluminum foil
    • Plastic storage containers
    • Signal flare
    • Paper, pencil
    • Needles, thread
    • Medicine dropper
    • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
    • Whistle
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Map of the area (for locating shelters)
  • Special Items
    • For Baby
      • Formula
      • Diapers
      • Bottles
      • Pacifiers
      • Powdered milk
      • Medications
    • For Adults
      • Heart and high blood pressure medication
      • Insulin
      • Prescription drugs
      • Denture needs
      • Contact lenses and supplies
      • Extra eye glasses
      • Hearing aid batteries
    • Important Family Documents
      • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
      • Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
      • Photo IDs, passports, social security cards, immunization records
      • Bank account numbers
      • Credit card account numbers and companies
      • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
      • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
      • Photocopies of credit and identification cards
    • Cash and coins
    • Entertainment–games and books

I will admit that I am an over planner.

So tell me? What does your family do to prepare for the worst?

I over prepare everything… and that is ok. I accept myself and love myself.

So of course I have all sorts of things prepared, I even have grains and recipes for bread that dont need ovens. I am pretty sure that if the next nuclear holocaust were to come my family and I would be safe, you know like that movie “Blast from the Past” (oh man how I love Christopher Walken).

Anyways, I think that no matter where you live you have to prepare for emergencies. Be it hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, killer cockroaches, etc.  I think preperation is a big part of living green anyways so this is fine by me. I have found that we are the most wasteful when we are not ready for what is coming because we have to buy what is convenient.

The first step in this was getting a deep freeze.  We put meat, fruits, jams, nuts, dried stuff, etc. in there. It keeps for a long time and helps us stay prepared. We do not have to do huge grocery runs every week and are ready to feed our family at a moment’s notice. It also helps us avoid a lot of packaging by being able to buy things in bulk.

Home preperation is an important part of our life and it wasnt instant but I think that we are finally at a point where we can say we will be ok even if we are unable to purchase any new foods for a while.

Let’s talk. What is your family doing to prepare for the worst? Do you have any suggestions for me or anyone else?



  1. In addtion to the awesome things you mentioned above:

    We purchased solar lights for our yard so that in the event of an extended power outage we can bring in the outside lights to save on batteries. They charge all day and are ready to bring in at night.

    We have a propane grill and a charcoal grill so that we can cook anything that might thaw out and boil water.

    We have one of those power inverters so we can charge our cell phones in the car and plug in anything else that may need to be charged for a short period of time such as a lap top.

    We have a tea kettle that can be heated on the grill for boiling water.

    Husband has a french press so he can still have his coffee after boiling the water on the grill. 🙂

    Have a tent ready and available in case anything happens to the house and we need to camp in the yard.

    Battery operated weather radio.

    We try to have all of our important computer files backed up to a mass storage disk that we can put in the waterproof conatainer with all of our other important stuff.

    Take pictures of the house and cars for documentation purposes. Also make sure that the digital camera is in a safe place so that pictures can be taken afterwards.

    A family plan in case anyone gets separated. If there are no phones, you need to know how/where to go to find your family.

  2. Excellent tips mama. THe Battery operated weather radio is a huge thing. My husband has this yellow NOAH radio that annoys me but has been greatly useful in our times of need.

    Where did you get your power inverters from? I have been looking and have little go on because nobody around me has any.

  3. I don’t remember where we got ours because we bought it for traveling but it turned out to work really well during Ike. I know Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart should carry them.

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