A green-frugal friend in New Mexico just texted me to ask about my hurricane preps.
“Just saw folks lining up to buy generators. Have you got yours and gallons of fuel? Seriously, am curious about any preparations you are making.”
Here is my answer:
– Boarding up windows
– Have 15+ gallons of water on hand — a week’s worth, for cooking and drinking (always keep big jugs full of tapwater on hand for emergencies) — and my total is actually over 100 gal if i count the rainbarrels).
– Have matches & candles (always do).
– Have enough nonperishable food calories to get through a week (always do).
– Have pre-charged charger that gives a charge for my phone (always have that).
– Have a pair of rechargeable lamps my Florida brother CB gave me; they and my little inflatable solar-charged lamp are all charged up (as they always are).
– Have small radio powered by hand-crank.
– Asking neighbors if they need help; keeping a lookout for people that might need help.
I would have no use for a generator. Since we get several days’ warning for a hurricane, I simply eat up all the food in the fridge and unplug the fridge! I guess the other main thing most people buy generators for is to power the air conditioning, which is something I don’t use. (CB informed me just now that actually a generator is not enough to power A/C, unless it is a really huge generator.) Is there some other basic need that motivates people to go out and fight the crowds to purchase generator and gasoline?
Other than that, really the most important thing as far as I’m concerned is companionship. Since I have no housemates at the moment, and other people are hunkered down in their places, I may go to a friend’s house or a shelter just for company. Physically, my house is sturdy and secure, and I have made reasonable preparations, so I’m not too worried about my material stuff and physical needs. Companionship, though — that is REALLY important.
P.S. From a comment thread in one of the Florida permaculture groups I’m in, some advice for gardeners: Make sure nothing in your yard can become a projectile. And, fruit can become projectiles, so go ahead and take fruit off of trees. (Here in Florida, we have green papayas ripening on our trees. But they can be harvested while green, and cooked up as a vegetable. Papaya is the one fruit I’ve heard of that can also be a vegetable in this manner.) Tie supports to things. Lay potted plants on their side. (One person tucked her potted plants into a raised bed and they were fine.)
As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Have you ever had to prepare for a hurricane or other potential disaster? If so, how have you prepared? What worked and what didn’t? What, if anything, did you end up needing that you didn’t have? And what did you have on hand that you didn’t end up needing? What things ended up being most important or valuable (to you, or to your community)?