So we're still picking up after Irma, but I wanted to put my thoughts down about Irma before it faded from my memory. I wanted to make sure I remembered:
- what worked
- what didn't
- what could be improved on
In the What Worked category:
- Keeping an eye on the storm track from first mention via and … that kept me ahead of the pack when it came to getting groceries and prepping.
- my general prep list – mopping, cleaning, organizing ahead of the storm
- my 5 gallon beverage cooler/dispensers – 3, which would be 15 gallons of water or 5 gallons per person.
- the little paper cone cups that came with one of my beverage dispensers.
- my emergency lighting baskets — one for flashlights, one for candles – easy to find in the dark
- my hand crank flashlight/radio — no need for batteries
- my bulk ice trick – line a small cooler with a clean trash bag and fill it with bulk ice, then put it in the freezer before the storm
- my go-kit: meds, IDs, wallet, contacts, spare toothbrushes, along with laptops, tablet and phone by the bed or by the door in case of evacuation
- water in the tub to flush toilets
- my old landline phone in my bedroom. We had no internet and no power, but that phone worked like a champ even to well into the worst of the storm.
- my gas stove — we could cook even when the storm roared outside.
In the What Didn't Work category:
- my portable power station — we charged it ahead of the storm, but it didn't take a charge.
- my matches — maybe it was a bad box, but they wouldn't light for love nor money.
- my lighter — don't buy the cheap ones!
- the fact that I decided I could let the dishwasher catch dirty dishes — no place to drain dishes that I hand washed
- the fact that I had neglected to repair leaky faucets before the storm, and it drained my deep well tank. I caught the water and used it, but it meant that my kitchen sink wasn't usable on one side.
What could have been improved:
- a better evacuation plan — if it had been a Cat 3 hurricane off Savannah or at the Florida line, we would have been in trouble.
- better food planning — not just a list of safe shelf-stable foods, but a menu and recipes, so I can make them tasty and with a minimum of fuss and dirty dishes.
- better lighting — our house was dark in the middle of the day because the sky was so overcast and it was raining so hard, and our battery lights and candles were pitiful.
- better dish washing system — I need a good way to wash dishes with a minimum of fuss and water
- running water system in the bathroom and the kitchen. Even with my big beverage dispenser, it took two people to wash hands. Picture my horror when DH came in from work and said, "Uh, I've been cutting corn — I need to wash my hands. Will hand sanitizer do?"
- a better, quicker way to board the place up. Usually we don't worry about boarding up windows, but this hurricane showed us that we could be cruising for a bruising. We chose not to board the windows because by the time we realized we may have needed to, all the plywood was gone. But with the waters warming and threats of hurricanes becoming more powerful, I'm going to invest in and pre-cut plywood so that in the event of a major hurricane bearing down on us, we don't have to worry about where to get plywood at the last minute.
- This is not mine, but I'm going to follow up on it — our county needs a way to flag folks with special needs on our 911 service. We were told they had this, but when I called to report DD's food allergies and bleeding disorder, it was more for people who needed to evacuate but couldn't, and our sheriff's department/911 service wasn't familiar at all with the process
I just wanted to add that our utilities guys and our first responders were awesome — I know they're exhausted, and in fact some of our county is still without power.
So what has Harvey and Irma made you guys think about?