As most of you know, I live in Charleston, SC. Last week, the Governor ordered a mandatory evacuation for us in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. I must say, I didn't realize how much prep work was involved in anticipation of a Hurricane. I mean, the last hurricane I had to prepare for was Hugo, in 1989.
When Hugo hit, I was 7 years old and I remember sleeping on the floor in my parent's room, with my little brother. I remember listening to the radio all night long. I remember my Mom gathering all of the family photos and important documents and storing them someplace safe. I remember cans of food, peanut butter and bread, and water stored where we could easily get to it. I remember how scared I was when I looked out of the window and saw trees falling and transformers blowing.
I didn't want my daughter to be afraid so, we packed up and went to my parent's house where I knew we would be out of harms way, and Will followed a few days later.
Going through all of this made me realize how important it is to be prepared for situations like these. Here are some tips to give you a jump start should you ever find yourself needing to be prepared. These tips are not only good for natural disasters, but for just general living as well.
1. Take Pictures of Everything you Own.
Before Matthew, I actually had not done this since we moved to Charleston almost 2 years ago! However, before we left, I made sure that I took pictures of EVERYTHING. Not only is it good to have pictures, but should you need to file a claim with your insurance company, it's good to have proof. Plus, the pictures are a great visual reference in case you forget what you own!
2. Keep All Important Documents Safe.
I gathered all of our important documents and took them with us. You may also want to keep copies of birth certificates, marriage licence, medical records, etc, in a safe place like a safe deposit box or fire box. It's also a good idea to go over your homeowner's insurance policy information to make sure you have to proper coverage.
3. Keep Original Art Work and Pictures Safe.
I gathered up original (irreplaceable) art and photographs (real ones, from film cameras...remember those?) along with photobooks and our wedding album and took those with us. I also gathered all CD's, Jump drives, and external hard drives and took them too.
4. Unplug Big Electronics.
I'd rather be safe than sorry, and even though they are on a surge protector, we still unplugged the computer and TV.
5. Bring Possible Projectiles Inside.
I had just started to put up our outdoor Halloween decor, but I quickly took it down and put it inside. We were expecting 70+ mile/hour winds, so all potted plants and outdoor furniture was stored inside or in the garage. You may also choose to board up windows and doors. We didn't do this, but Will did remove the shutters from the house (they are a possible projectile).
Thankfully, everything where we live was good. We had some trees down in our neighborhood, but none where we are. There was minimal flooding, but lots of sticks and leaves. I am very thankful that it wasn't as bad as it could have been and that all of our neighbors are safe and I hope these tips will help you be prepared.