Get Organized: When it comes to hurricane preparedness, use this checklist
Naples Daily News’ Get Organized and Get Organized – In a Flash! Columnist Marla Ottenstein shares the only hurricane checklist you'll ever need. Find the checklist at www.naplesnews.com/hurricanechecklist Naples Daily News
Two days before Hurricane Irma was predicted to hit in September 2017, I received a frantic call from friends who were traveling abroad, begging me to go to their home to retrieve the two decorative lions stationed on either side of their front door. Really?
Being the good friend I am, I put my own hurricane preparations aside and went to their home to pick up the lions and bring them back to my garage to store because — you guessed it — they didn’t leave a key with anyone in case of an emergency.
When it comes to hurricane preparedness, it’s each man (or woman) for him/herself.
Following is the ONLY hurricane checklist you’ll ever need. Yes, it’s long and yes, there are some items that may seem a bit eccentric, such as dry shampoo, but trust me, if you were here and experienced the physical devastation and mental distress brought on our beautiful community by the ravages of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, you know firsthand: You can never be too organized or too prepared.
Hurricane preparedness is not a joke. I encourage you to start preparing today.
» A no-frills landline phone (NOT a cordless electric phone) & basic phone contract (more on this later)
» BATTERIES! Save time and aggravation by keeping track of what size batteries you need. Narrow your battery needs down to no more than two sizes (three maximum)
» Do NOT buy rechargeable batteries, which can’t be charged if the power goes out
» Manual can opener
» Wine key & bottle opener
» Heavy-duty screwdriver with double-sided bits
» Portable gas or charcoal grill w/ plenty of propane or charcoal
» Paper plates, plastic drinking cups, paper napkins & heavy-duty plastic utensils
» Ice trays
» Two boxes pre-cut aluminum foil sheets
» Two boxes each, quart & gallon-sized zip-close bags
» LED lanterns (AtomicBeamLantern/bulbhead.com)
» One or more large battery-operated fans (See: O2 COOL 10-inch portable fan w/USB charging port from Bed Bath & Beyond)
» Several hand-held, battery-operated fans
» Plastic tarps, duct tape & bungee cords
» An emergency drinking water storage system (WaterBOB.com)
» Several gallon-size milk or water jugs to fill with water BEFORE the storm
» One watertight file box for important files
» A large, watertight container for garbage
» A well-stocked first-aid kit (replenish annually)
» Bug repellent, insect bite ointment & sunscreen
» Solar-powered walkway lights (charge during the day/bring inside at night)
» Flashlights! (Look for flashlights that take AA batteries)
» A small LED pocket penlight to hook to the inside of your shirt
» Headlamps for reading & walking around your property after the storm
» Matches and multipurpose lighters
» Knee-high rubber boots in case of flooding
» Several pairs of heavy-duty work gloves for cleanup
» Facemasks & disposable latex gloves for cleanup
» One or more large coolers with wheels and plenty of freezer packs
» Automobile jumper cables
» One or more high-capacity portable mobile phone chargers w/ appropriate cords
» One or more solar-powered mobile phone chargers w/ appropriate cords
» One automobile mobile phone adaptor plug and cord
» Silicone pot cover to put over tub drain to prevent leakage
» One can of unscented dry shampoo (you’ll be glad you did)
» One or more 5-gallon spill-proof cans for gas (to be properly stored in garage)
» Wi-Fi in your car. It’s worth the monthly fees to have access to the Internet!
» Battery-operated transistor radio and/or TV
» Generator & gas. Store and test twice a year in strict accordance with manufacturer’s operating manual.
» Carbon monoxide detector
» Gas-powered chainsaw (Use only with protective clothing, gloves, eye & ear protection)
» NOAA weather radio
AS FAR IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE:
» Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and understand exactly what your policy covers BEFORE hurricane season
» Create an online account with your insurance company and keep a list of claims procedures, telephone numbers and policy numbers
» Prepare a detailed inventory of all personal property, including invoices for large purchases
» Photograph all personal property and store to a flash drive or in the cloud. Send a copy to an out-of-state friend or relative
» Create a master list of accounts, contact names/numbers for all credit/debit cards, bank and mortgage accounts and insurance policies; also include contact information for lawyer, accountant, financial adviser, insurance agent, friends and family. Copy to a flash drive and wear around your neck for safekeeping.
» Lubricate the locks and tracks of your shutters quarterly. Have broken shutters repaired in March or April
» Set aside plenty of CASH (small bills are best) in case of emergency
» Stock up on enough nonperishable food to last seven days
» Stock up on enough toilet paper & paper towels to last two weeks
» Stock- up on propane cylinders & make sure they fit your grill
» Stock up on hand-sanitizer wipes & baby wipes for personal hygiene
» Stock up on disposable disinfecting wipes for easy cleaning
» Stock up on bottled water for humans & pets (4 gallons per person and pet, per day, for a minimum of 14 days)
» Buy disposable toothbrushes
» If you live in a flood zone, purchase sand bags in advance. (Note: large bags of potting soil will also suffice. After the storm, repurpose bagged soil.)
» Trim trees, palm fronds & coconuts, etc.
» If you don’t have shutters and plan on using plywood to protect your home, have the plywood cut in advance and have a solid installation plan in place
» Give a spare key to a friend
» Keep two weeks’ worth of pet food, flea & tick/heartworm medicine and anti-anxiety pills in a watertight container
» Have a copy of your pet’s current vaccines and licenses
» Secure animals in a portable/collapsible crate with their favorite toys and a long-lasting rawhide bone before, during and after the hurricane
» Keep all pets on a harness AND leash AT ALL TIMES (don’t think your well-trained pet won’t run away after a storm — they’re stressed, too)
» All pets MUST be micro-chipped and have a current ID on their collars
» Buy puppy “pee-pee” pads, just in case
» Collapsible pet cages (essential in case you go to a shelter)
YOU REALLY DO NEED A LANDLINE:
There’s something to be said for buying a “frill-free” phone and for maintaining basic landline service (one that is not linked to your cable service). If, following a hurricane, your cable and/or electric power haven’t been restored, you should be able to make calls using a landline phone that plugs directly into the phone jack.
A NOTE TO OUR SEASONAL GUESTS:
If you plan on leaving town for longer than a week at any time during hurricane season, COMPLETELY empty your refrigerator and freezer before departing. If a hurricane is headed our way, don’t expect your friends, neighbors or home watch service to do this for you, as they will have plenty of other, more important tasks.
Here's your printable PDF of the complete Hurricane Checklist.
Naples’ Premier Professional Organizer Marla Ottenstein offers expert organizing, decluttering, downsizing and moving, packing/unpacking and time management services for residential and corporate clients. Licensed & insured. Member: National Association of Professional Organizers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit: www.ProfessionalOrganizerFlorida.com. Her column runs the first Friday of each month.
Hurricane preparedness seminars
Be sure you’re ready for hurricane season by attending one of two free hurricane seminars, exclusively presented for subscribers of the Naples Daily News.
Featured speakers will be Dan Summers, director of the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services, and Marla Ottenstein, Naples Daily News Get Organized columnist and Naples’ Premier Professional Organizer.
When: 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19
Where: Naples Daily News Community Room, 1100 Immokalee Road, North Naples
Register: Attendance is free and is limited to digital or print subscribers; register at http://tickets.naplesnews.com
Subscribe now: To start a digital or print subscription, call 844-900-7105 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.