There’s a lot of spazzing about hurricane Irene in the mid-atlantic and New England. And while a hurricane is something to take seriously, they’re also highly unpredictable. Yes, you should prepare yourself, and yes the worst week of my life was going without power for a week after a hurricane, but where I am (just outside of Washington, DC) it’s not even raining yet. So chill out. No, you do not need to cancel your entire weekend plans yet.
Here’s what you should do:
- Locate a working flashlight and some fresh batteries. Put them somewhere you can find them in the dark.
- Grab a few extra boxes of crackers/jerkey/other foods that don’t require refridgeration. If the power goes out for a few hours, you’ll want to leave your fridge and freezer closed to keep the cold in.
- If it looks like things are getting serious, turn your fridge/freezer down to pre-chill things in case of power outage.
- Charge your phone, laptop, and anything else that can be charged
- Do your laundry
- Locate some pots/pans/buckets you can use if you spring a leak
- Locate some old towels you can use to clean up said leaks
- If your basement tends to flood, move the stuff you care about away from the walls if it starts raning. Prop up your couch with things you don’t care about. I hear webOS devices are cheap now.
- If you require beer, get it now.
- Find a battery operated radio (hint: many iPods fit this bill) and figure out what station weather reports come in on.
Also remember that land-lines generally continue to work without power, but the cordless phones won’t. Go to the thrift store and get an old school phone if you don’t have one. If the hurricane is a no-show, you can use the parts for hacking later.
Other emergency-preparedness tasks, such as the following, can generally wait until later. Say, when there is actually a hurricane within 12-24 hours of you:
- Fill the bathtub with water (to flush the toilet, wash your hands, etc)
- Cancelling any and all plans that don’t involve getting the hell away from a hurricane
- Buying up a month’s worth of toilet paper (why do people do this?)
- Compulsively refreshing The Weather Channel home page
Personally, I prefer NOAA to The Weather Channel. It’s a lot less sensationalist, but considerably lower-fi. Their graphics are bringing you the latest in 1999 technology.
Keep your heads on, folks.