I live right outside New York City and hurricane Irene was the first major hurricane I can remember experiencing. I lost power in my neighborhood for only a full day and I’m grateful that it wasn’t longer as some people lost power for days. Here are some lessons I’d like to share:
- Write down important phone contacts. A lot of people who regularly use cell phones don’t memorize a lot of important numbers. If you lost power and your cell phone died you’d have problems contacting people even if you had access to anther phone.
- Don’t forget to get a water filter. Lots of people just focus on getting bottled water but you’d be surprised how fast you go through bottled water. If you have a Brita filter or equivalent you can even start storing water in various containers in preparation beforehand. You’re also able to do things like fill your bathtub with water in anticipation of bring cutoff from water and safely filter that water for consumption.
- Keep some cash on hand. It can be useful for buying things not only from other people but from stores where the power might be out.
- Have plans on where to meet up in case of evacuation. In the case of an evacuation have multiple plans on where to meet up.
- Have a backup method of cooking food and boiling water. For most people with a backyard grill this can easily be done by a bag of charcoal or gas of propane. If your gas is cutoff you might be stuck eating cold food.
- Get portable flashlights for walking outdoors. When my power went out the street lights went with it. I noticed some people walking around outside without any flashlights in hand. This is extremely dangerous as drivers may not see you.
I was fortunate to not have any food spoilage because when my power went out I was able to hook up a portable generator my father uses for camping to the refrigerators. The Verizon FiOS device in my house had a battery backup unit which allowed it to continue working despite the blackout. I was able to get internet by plugging the router into the backup generator. Having a laptop and access to the internet made the blackout easily bearable.