Off The Grid In A Hurry - When The Hurricane Comes Along, 11 steps to prepare
I made the move at beginning of the Summer from Oklahoma to Southern Florida. I left a sideline job chasing Tornadoes for the comfort of year-round Summer. There are many reasons... such as the terrible allergies my daughter suffered in Oklahoma, and a partnership with E-Power Glass (as in glass that generates power). But regardless why we moved, we now find ourselves readying with the rest of them for this blob on the weather map that looks to be coming our way. I'm new to Hurricanes. Before tornado chasing, I had a fear of them. Today I announced to friends that if school's out, hurricane party at my house! I'm not fearful any more, but like to be prepared for whatever may come. In Oklahoma winters, we had snowdays when winter weather arrived. Same goes for much of the country. Here in Florida, there's not much excuse to take a day off school, so everyone is preparing for Monday off!
Above: Tropical Storm Erika Approaches
I was just at Sam's Club grabbing water. It's a bit crazy already, and we've got all weekend to prepare, but the fact is, when they're out, they're out! I'm looking for the life straws. There will be plenty of water around. You just need to purify some of it.... but this is what most peoples carts looked like:
For those who don't already live off grid, you'll need a battery powered radio, flashlights, batteries for the flashlights... when shopping last minute, it's hard to find solar panels and set up a system, and even that is too stressful to do while you're watching the weather head your way. A backup generator can be handy, but many people don't think about one of the quick-easy power solutions. Run to harbor freight and grab the biggest power inverter you can get. You know your car can charge up its battery in about 20 minutes. You can hook that power inverter with an extension cord into the home, and run some LED lights, charge cell phones, etc as necessary.
I've got the solar panels ready to charge up the car battery should we need to use the power inverter. Getting some extra gas to keep us running if necessary. It's not expected to be that powerful, and we've been getting heavy rains as it is. Florida is well prepared to handle the water, and we're used to lots of storms and lightning. Most homes are solidly built to hurricane code since Andrew pummeled Miami and Homestead horribly when my wife was young. She went through it in one of the worst-hit areas.
Tropical Storm Erika is three days out, and water is already going empty at Walmart in Cape Coral Florida
It's the winds... if they get too strong, can take the power out for a while. Maybe a week or 10 days even. Thus the need for Off-the-grid options. I see a future where every home has a battery bank, so that when the power is out for 10 days, you won't even notice. Until then we think of what happens if it goes out.
My wife tells me that when Andrew hit, the biggest problem they dealt with when the power was out and the roof partway off, was the mosquitos. When you're used to living in a house shielded from the outside and cooled by electricity, you have to re-prepare to be without. Hurricane Season is in the Summer, so it can be hot!
Things to do to prepare for a prolonged outage due to hurrican / tropical storm
- Fill up your cars with gas, and get some cans as spares.
- Have lots of water on hand. Maybe fill up the bathtub. It's likely if there's too much rain, a boil order will be issued on tap water. Having a good batch in the tub can be beneficial. You can always use it to flush the toilets if necessary.
- Get a power inverter
- Have flashlights / batteries on hand
- Radio or weather radio (you can use the car radio for backup if necessary)
- A solar panel or two is very handy in case you run out of fuel for the car, and need to charge the battery back up.
- Be aware of water drainage in your area. If you are not aware, speak to neighbors to find out if your home is flood prone
- A water filter or lifestraw can be invaluable to purify bad water for drinking
- Food that lasts. Get canned soup, spagettios, ramen, anything you can think will last, and is easy to prepare, and won't need to be refrigerated.
- If you have a barbecue, fill up your propane so you have something to cook on. If not, you might grab a camping stove and some propane ahead of time. Even if you have a natural gas cooktop, if the service is disrupted, you'll want a backup.
- I suppose this is an extra that isn't always easy to come by in a hurry, but if you watched what happened in Katrina, you'd be thinking... maybe I need a boat, or at least a few life vests in case the water is flowing our way.
Tell me your suggestions for getting prepared, and I'll add the good ones to the list!