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Preparations For Hurricane Irene

It is too early to tell just how devastating hurricane Irene is going to be. While it was forecast to be a devastating hurricane, recent reports (and measurements) show that it is weakening. But, that is no reason for people to let down their guard, or to assume that this is just another “ho-hum” storm. New Jersey and New York will be hit by crippling, unprecedented (in the last 70 years) storm surges. Many areas of Long Island, and maybe even Manhattan and JFK, will be inundated with water during the storm surge. Mayor Blumberg issued an evacuation order, and those who choose to ignore it are taking their lives in their own hands.

Fortunately for me, I don’t live in an area that will be inundated by storm surge waters, but I may have damage from falling trees, especially since the ground is saturated from recent heavy rain storms. But, what should the millions of people who are in the path of hurricane Irene do? If you think that the “government” will protect you, think again. Think about how “well” the government protected the citizens of New Orleans; NOT! You are on your own; the only person who can protect you is YOU!

So, what can you do to protect yourself? You need to think about your basic needs. The most important of them is water. If you don’t have enough water bottles to last at least a week, you need to go and buy them in the next couple of hours. If you have some empty booze, soda, or milk containers, you could simply fill them with tap water, although you need to be really careful about washing out any bottles that were used for items that can spoil like milk. If you don’t have such bottles, buy a few gallons of bottled water for each member of your family. Then, you need water for personal hygiene. This would be water to use to flush the toilet. To fill this need, fill all of your bathtubs with water and buy a bucket. Depending on how large your bathtub is, you may get up to 20 or even 40 flushes from a bathtub full of water In the same way, fill any laundry-room sinks that you may have with water. (If you have a swimming pool, you don’t need to do any of this; just use water from the pool.)

Another major concern is food spoilage. Before the hurricane hits, set your refrigerators and freezers to their lowest temperature settings. In this way, you will get the maximum “life” out of them before food starts to spoil. Also, if you have a grocery store in the area that sells dry ice, you may want to buy some and put it into your refrigerator and freezers.

Next, you need to worry about actual food. Obviously, canned food is best. If you don’t have at least a few weeks worth of canned food, buy it! If you don’t need it now, you can always use it later.

Another essential item is toilet paper. Buy enough to last a couple of months, and use it as needed. Since there is no “use by” date, your excess is always good, and in an extreme emergency, you can always barter it for other items. (Just think how valuable your toilet paper might be to an unprepared neighbor when they run out of toilet paper!)

While this storm is rapidly approaching, and it may be too late for many people to prepare, there is still time and opportunity for some people to prepare so that they can ride it out in relative comfort.

Fill your bathtubs with water for toilet flushing.

Fill your available bottles with water for cooking and drinking.

Fill your gas cans if you have a generator.

Buy some Clorox and research it’s use for sterilization of water, if needed.

Fill your propane tanks for use for cooking, if needed.


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