After Bash Survival Tips by Robin Trimingham
If you live in North America or the Caribbean, you are more than aware that hurricane season is now upon us. Thanks to the marvels of modern satellite imagery and cell phone reception, we have all had a front row seat for some of the worst ever back to back storms.
The advice for those preparing for this onslaught has been everywhere but there has not been much help offered for those who did not manage to escape the path of the storm other than “take care of yourself until help gets to you”.
Having experienced the long-lasting after effects of back to back storms first hand, I offer the following tips to help those who are without power make it through the next few days:
- Pack a bag each morning of everything that you might need during the day and keep it with you at all times even if you have no intention of leaving the house. You never know when you might need to leave your home without warning due to structural damage, or get an offer to sleep at a friend’s house.
- In my case the contents of the bag included: change of clothes, toiletries, towel, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, snacks, bottle of water, dog food, dog toys, laptop, cell phone, IPad and charging cord for each of these, cash, essential documents like passports, flashlight, and a book.
- Accept that you may be “on your own” longer than anticipated and pace yourself – everything will take more energy and twice as much time as you think it will
- Stay completely clear of ALL power lines – they sometimes come back on unexpectedly as crews work to restore power
- Unplug EVERYTHING in your house – power surges are common as utility companies work to restore power
- Throw out everything in your fridge and freezer (yes even the ketchup) – saving a dollar is not worth the risk of getting sick from spoiled food or cross contamination
- Do not drink any water that you are unsure of EVER
- Charge your phone first and then other electronics every chance you get – don’t forget that you can charge your phone in your car
- Only use candles that are safely inside candle holders (keep matches next to the supply of extra candles in each room so you are not hunting for them in the dark)
- Use hand sanitizer a lot
- Wipe the kitchen and bathroom with Clorox wipes every day (or more than once a day if there are multiple people in your house) germs love the heat
- Bathe right before bed by pouring water in the sink and make sure you wash your hair even if the water is cold – this will cool you off making it easier to fall asleep in the heat
- The floor is the coolest place to sleep when the air conditioning isn’t working if your house is really hot
- Slowly clean up plant debris in the yard as best you can – it will rot and start to smell in under 3 days
- Don’t embark on risky home repairs by yourself – that means stay off the roof fool!
- Avoid “cooking” at home as much as possible – barbecue makes a mess that is hard to clean up when you don’t have water for doing dishes and any food placed in the trash will smell and attract ants in the heat
- Peanut butter sandwiches make a great breakfast
- Take a thermos to Starbucks so you can have a second hot coffee later in the day
- Most libraries have free or very cheap internet access
- Swim in the ocean to cool off if you live in a coastal town and there is a safe beach
- Do the laundry at least once a week even if it means going to a laundromat – dirty clothes will go moldy if left unwashed
- Help anyone who is struggling more than you are – it will give you something to do to pass the time and you might just make a new best friend
By Robin Trimingham