Storm Ready Means Thinking Ahead
By Amanda Jean Harris
There is no such thing as a quiet hurricane season. Until it is over. There is no amount of speculating and prediction that provides the kind of protection felt with a bit of preparation.
Just ask Hans Romero. The man at the helm of Romero’s Power Sports learned a few years ago the benefit of working ahead of time to get a house ready for a long term power outage.
We break down the must have items for hurricane season for a variety of budgets and the simple ways to get ready for the storm whether power is out for a few hours or a few days. Because quite simply put: There are some things than cannot be done at the last minute.
“Don’t wait until a hurricane hits,” Romero says.
He says while there’s a variety of options for generators there’s really none that compare to ones that work for the entire house and come on automatically.
“The power goes out and in about 30 seconds it comes on,” Romero says.
The GE model that Romero uses and is sold at his store keeps the whole house running.
“The biggest mistake people make is they wait until the hurricane hits or it’s in the Gulf and it’s impossible to get what you need. Now is when you should make the decision. Make a decision that will get you out of a bind,” he says. “The home generators are very inexpensive compared to what they were two years ago. The electricity goes off and you don’t have to worry about anything. And when it comes on, it shuts off automatically.”
If a full home generator is not an option, Romero says a portable Honda will get you out of a bind.
No matter the type of generator it’s important to prepare. For the larger ones that run on natural gas or propane it may be necessary to get an electrician or plumber out to get it installed and set up properly.
“Planning is the whole thing,” Romero says. “In South Louisiana you’re most likely going to have power outages so we recommend a generator. It’s not that big of an investment. It’s like buying a riding lawn mower.”
Romero says waiting until a possible hurricane season turns into a definite hurricane heading your way is not wise.
“After a hurricane hits you’re scavenging for something and it’s too cumbersome and at that point you’re more likely to make the wrong purchase.”
Instead, begin now preparing for hurricane season and going through a dry run of every possible thing you could need in the house. Check out our list below for both standard and less well known must haves to make life more bearable in the food department should a storm hit.
“Every year in July we make sure we have batteries and flashlights and know where they are,” he says.
While a few hours are likely, it’s not unheard of for electricity to be out for far longer and it’s wise to prepare for that possibility.
“For Andrew we were out of electricity for two weeks and you need to be prepared for that,” Romero says. “If you have a generator now, get it out and make sure it has oil and gas and let it run for an hour or so. Don’t wait until hurricanes hit the Gulf to make sure you can get your generator started. Everyone is in a hurry and in a rush. Get all your stuff ready before anything happens. The biggest thing right now is to start getting your equipment out and run it and get it started. Get it serviced and get it home and make sure you have enough portable gas cans to store some gas. Even if you don’t need the gas you can use it in your car later.”
Make sure you have enough extension cords to run the generator and your household items. If you have a gas grill make sure you’ll have enough propane to cook. Stock up now on water and get candles.
Fill all your ice chests with bagged ice for food storage. A refrigerator is likely only good for two or three days if you don’t open them.
“It’s like camping in the worst possible way,” he says.
A box fan is a must have for the likely hot months hurricanes hit around here.
The Simple Things
“Think about the simple things: you gotta’ have lights and you gotta’ have food. It’s not complicated, but people put it off. Don’t wait until the last minute,” Romero says.
Storm ready food
Forget the jars of peanut butter. (Actually, don’t forget the peanut butter. It’s the most versatile protein of them all.) We line up a list of alternative options for eating when the lights go out.
Try preserving food by both keeping it cold and getting ready with food that requires no refrigeration. Coolers like Yeti keep ice far longer than the average to keep food chilled for days. Try a food dehydrator ahead of time to make both fruits that rot quickly last longer as well as a host of protein sources like dried meats made into jerky that will withstand high temps and time on the shelf.
Take it back old school with canning. More popular than ever, canning ahead of time can keep you from eating peanut butter and crackers for days on end.
If you’re stocking up on canned goods, make sure you have a way to open them: don’t forget a manual can opener. And if you’re a coffee lover, don’t do without. (What’s worse than having no power is trying to make it without your IV of caffeine.) Buy a French press now and enjoy coffee that’s both delicious and free from the electric coffee pot.