According to ancient military wisdom, any battle plan lasts until the first engagement. We’ve planned pretty well, but this post is a link of what I think we did well, and what I would do differently. As the storm progresses, it wouldn’t surprise me to see things shift from the first list to the second list.
What we did well
- We have hurricane protection. If I were to go back to 1999, when we moved in our house and do something differently, I’d try to find a way to include hurricane protection into the cost of the house. I can’t imagine trying to ride this out without protection. It’s worth every penny down here–the best present you can give your family, especially if you have kids.
- We put ours up early. It was still okay Saturday, but when the breezes came up, here and there yesterday, it got a lot harder. By getting done early, we reduced our risk and put ourselves in a position to help others.
- We adjusted well. There was no water, so we got pails and filled them. Plan B is vital.
- We kept our heads. At various points, we thought about leaving, but our house is rated up to 140 mph. Considering the traffic on I-75 and the gas situation, it would’ve been dangerous and irresponsible for us to leave. One less car on the road, one less tankful of gasoline used.
- We used Amazon to help prepare. Batteries, radio, flashlight–all of which we got. We were going to get food, but the delivery timeline was too long.
- We identified one person out of the area as a conduit for information. No freaking everyone out.
- We set expectations. We have no reliable cell service here, so if the power or Internet goes out, our landline doesn’t work. We told people that if they can’t get us, it means the power’s out. Nothing more.
- Took pictures of our hurricane shutters installed on each window to show the insurance company, in case there was any damaged.
- Advised people who had trouble with their shutters to call the builder’s warranty line to show a record that their shutters weren’t right.
What I would do differently
- If we ever move into another house in Florida, the first weekend we live there, we’re going to put up the hurricane protection. Several houses in our development had ill-fitting or missing protection. Also, there’s a learning curve. But if you wait until the day before to put it up and it doesn’t work, you have no recourse.
- We’d have prepared a little earlier. We just moved, so we didn’t have the water and the staples. We should’ve replenished earlier. We’ll be okay–I think–in terms of food and water.
- We didn’t get extra cell charger batteries. They’re cheap and there’s no reason not to get them. If we’re out of power a long time, we’ll need the cell phone to communicate (though we’ll have to drive someplace).
- Get box cutters to put in the upstairs bedrooms. If there’s a fire, the shutters (fabric shutters) would trap us in our rooms. That purchase will be made after the storm.