Hurricane Hacks: Ways to keep yourself prepared during Hurricane Irma

TAMPA BAY, Fla. - Florida officials are urging residents to brace for Hurricane Irma. Check out these hurricane hacks to help keep you prepared for the days ahead. 

HURRICANE IRMA | Real-time tracking maps, Hurricane supply kit info & Hurricane Center

  • Fill the bathtub with water before the storm - If you lose your running water, you can use the water from the bathtub to flush waste down the toilet. 
  • Frozen water and penny could help keep you safe

A cup, water and a penny could keep your family from getting sick after a storm like Hurricane Irma, that’s threatening to knock out power in Tampa Bay.

Here’s how it works. Freeze a cup of water, put a penny on top of the frozen water and leave it in the freezer. If you evacuate, you might not know if the power goes out, so that penny will give you a good indication that it did and if the food in your freezer is safe to eat.

If the penny has moved into the ice in the cup, that could mean there was an extended power outage, causing the water to melt and refreeze. If the water ever melted, microorganisms could multiply and cause food poisoning.

You should also put some items from your refrigerator into your freezer if you evacuate. Staples like milk, fresh meats or chicken, to keep them at a safe temperature longer.

 

Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out

 

  • Turn refrigerator to coldest setting and crank the air conditioner - Power outage is very common with these strong storms, so make sure to keep things as cold as possible before the storm so it can remain cooler for longer.
  • Keep documents dry in dishwasher - If you’re needing to keep paper documents dry, the dishwasher can serve as a waterproof safe during an emergency storm.
  • Stock up on cash - When the power goes out, ATMs and card readers will be useless. Take out enough cash for 7 days to make sure you can purchase necessary items. Try to have a mix of small and large bills.
  • Buy plenty of gas - Gas could be hard to come by leading up to the storm. Buy as much gas as you think you’ll need for the next week.
  • Charge electronic devices - Charge all of your phones, tablets and laptops before Hurricane Irma makes landfall. Look into purchasing portable battery chargers so you can keep your electronics going much longer than one traditional charge.
    • It's also a good idea to buy extra batteries for flashlights and other household electronics.  
  • Do laundry - Clean as many clothes as you can before the storm. You never know how long it could be before you’re able to do another load of laundry.
  • Use household items for candles - If you have crayons laying around the house, these can be used as small candles. You can also use Crisco or olive oil to make your own candles. Don't forget to buy lighters or matches. 
  • Freeze water balloons and water bottles - You can never have enough ice during a hurricane. Fill up water balloons and deep freeze them before the storm. They don’t melt as fast and its messy-free. You can also stock pile ice bags or freeze 2-liter bottles with water, so they can help keep your food colder for longer. 
  • Make your own lamp - If you’re needing ambient light, strap a headlamp to an empty water jug. This can serve as a DIY lamp. 

IMPORTANT LINKS
Hurricane Supply Kit Checklist | Things to know before the storm | Preparations for your pets | Power outage maps & resources | Know your evacuation zone | Price gouging: How to protect yourself and report it | Insurance protection: Video tape home inventory | Tampa Bay sandbag locations

Tracking Hurricane Irma: Updates and thoughts from Chief Meteorologist Denis Phillips

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