Storm Prepping Your Kitchen

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When we bought our house two years ago, I’d expressed concerns because the area had been hit hard with Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Everyone from the realtor to the inspector to our new neighbors insisted the concerns were unfounded – it was an once-in-a-lifetime storm and we’d likely never see one. Last summer, I watched in disbelief as the weather forecasters brought their Hurricane Irene predictions closer and closer to our area. We ended up getting pummeled and losing power for nearly a week.

Now, it’s looking like we could have a repeat with Hurricane Sandy early next week. I wanted to share my preparations this time around for anyone who was in my shoes last time – new to having to deal with this and not exactly sure what to do.

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

 (from National Hurricane Center)

Here are the the Hurricane Survival Guide from the State of New Jersey and the FEMA Site on Preparing for a Disaster. The suggestions below are my own, based on last year’s experiences.

Prepping Your Kitchen

  • Water. The official recommendation is 1 gallon per person, per day.  We have a water cooler with 5-gallon jugs. We’ll have 2-3 jugs on hand when the storm starts.
  • Food. The official recommendation is to have 72 hours worth of food per person. You’ll want to base what you purchase on what you’ll actually eat and how much you usually eat.  I try to include things that can be kept and served at room temperature. I break my stock up into four categories:
    • Fruit – Apples, bananas, single-serve applesauce, dried fruit, juice boxes
    • Protein – Protein bars, beef jerky, nuts, peanut butter, tuna
    • Starches – Bread, crackers, granola bars, dry cereal, pretzels, bagels
    • Other favorites – Candy and Bisquick Shake & Pour pancake mix are staples here!
  • If you have a grill or camping stove, make sure it’s clean and you have fuel. After the storm passes, we’ll be using these to prepare easy meals if the power is out. Last year, we grilled up a lot of the meat in our freezer as it thawed which made for easy meals. Grills and camp stoves are also great for shake and pour pancakes!
  • If you’re planning on having canned food, make sure you have a manual can opener on hand.
  • Address the dishes pre-storm. The last thing you want is dirty dishes hanging around if you lose power/water. It’s also helpful to have disposable plates, cups and utensils so you don’t have to worry about doing lots of dishes during an extended blackout.
  • Pack empty space in your freezer with ice – it’ll help keep things cooler longer. Without power, a full freezer will stay cold for about two days. Open the freezer and refrigerator sparingly during a blackout to keep the cold in as much as possible.
  • PLAN FOR YOUR PETS! If you have animals, make sure you have enough food and water for them too.

Additional Tips

  • Make sure your phone and any other important electronics are charged before the storm hits.
  • Write down phone numbers for the police, power company, local Red Cross chapter, etc. I always just Google these when I need them so I just didn’t have them last go around.
  • Shower before the storm hits. Even if you have city water, without power you’ll lose your hot water heater. Feeling nice and clean makes dealing with all the storm nonsense a little better. If you have a well, you may want to consider filling up a bathtub with water so you can flush toilets while the power is out.
  • Get some cash. During last year’s power outage, a lot of the local stores couldn’t accept credit cards and the banks weren’t immediately open. Getting gas, groceries or other necessities required cash.

Have additional tips? Leave them in the comments below so everyone can benefit.

Stay safe, everyone!


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