Hurricane Sandy is here and I'm ready. I think.
Hurricane Sandy is smacking most of the East Coast, and I’m directly in its path.
This will probably be the worst storm of my life. Indeed, it will probably be the worst storm of my parents' life. (I really don't want to imagine what more destructive weather might be like.)
Like millions of others, I spent the past several days racing off to stores and working around the house, preparing for the storm.
Here’s what I did to get ready:
Stocked up on water. This is a must for people with well water, because if there’s no power, there’s no water. This isn’t the case for us, but our water has been contaminated because of a much smaller storm before. We do keep water jugs in the basement as a general precaution, but I added four-gallon jugs and 24 bottles of water. I’ll also be filling up water bottles we have around the house later today. If I overdid it, we’ll use the water anyway, so no big loss there.
Stocked up on food. This is the obvious one, but what I bought was not so obvious. I didn’t see much of a point in loading up on milk and perishable foods because, if the power goes, we won’t be able to eat it all before it spoils. Instead, I bought things that didn’t need to be refrigerated for a long time or cooked: cured meats, protein bars, cheeses, granola, chips and pretzels. I also went to the farmer’s market and stocked up on vegetables and stuff for salads so we wouldn’t be eating just junk (salad dressing will be olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, which don’t need to be refrigerated). I bought an extra bag of dog food so my pup will be fed, too. Again, if nothing happens, we’ll still use all of this food, so no big loss there, either.
Restocked flashlights and batteries. We camp every year, so I had a good idea of what we had. I pulled everything out anyway, including my running headlamp. I added one more LED flashlight so we have two per person and a battery-operated LED utility light that acts much like a candle but without requiring a flame. If we lose power, this will be light from which we can read or play cards. I then bought more batteries for all items. I’m lucky that our flashlights are newer LED models requiring AA and AAA batteries. As of Friday morning, most stores were already out of C and D batteries, which power older flashlights.
Backed up my laptop. I have a separate hard drive that backs up my computer. In case anything happens to the laptop, I won’t lose my data.
Got cash. If the power goes out, ATMs won’t work. Between the cash stash we already have in the house and this extra addition, we should be able to buy supplies if needed.
Located important documents and files. I’m not exactly the most organized person, but I pulled out my mortgage and insurance information and set them aside. If for whatever reason we need to leave quickly, I’ll have that information with me.
Filled my gas tank. I had about three quarters of a tank of gas before the storm, which should be enough, but I filled it anyway. Not only will it serve as transportation, but I also have a car charger for my phone.
Created our “crisis center.” I put one flashlight on each floor of the house, and then put everything else in one spot in the kitchen — extra flashlight and running lamp, LED light, batteries, water and matches. This way, we know exactly where to go for what we need.
Called my tenants. I’m a landlord, too, so I wanted to make sure my tenants were prepared, and reminded them to call me the second anything happened. I also reassured them that I would do as much as I could as soon as I could to fix it. I also reminded them to move their cars to an open lot across the street so that, in case any trees fall, their cars will be safe.
Alerted my editors of work interruptions. Most live on the East Coast and are also affected, but I alerted everyone else that I was in a safe spot and that I could be experiencing long work delays.
Located winter clothes. It's been a mild fall here, and we hadn't brought out our winter clothes yet. We did before the storm, because if we lose power, we lose heat.
Put on my watch. I usually check the time on my phone, which could waste power. I went to bed last night with my Timex running watch on, and it'll stay on until the storm is over.
The only thing I regret so far is that I didn’t buy a battery-operated radio. I just couldn’t find one in time.