Preparing for the Post-Hurricane Power Outages

Hurricane Sandy is on the horizon, and some people are already preparing for post-hurricane power outages. The best way to prepare is by having a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration (such as canned vegetables), bottled water, cash or traveler’s checks in case you can’t use your debit card for an extended period of time. Be sure to have important information written down so it’s easily accessible if there are downed trees blocking roads or if your home becomes inaccessible because of flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having a preparedness kit in the event of an evacuation, and citizens living along the eastern seaboard can expect to evacuate if there is a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy. Some of the essentials you should consider packing are the following:

First aid kit. Bring any prescription medications you may need as well as bandages, gauze pads, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, petroleum jelly or other lubricants to reduce chafing if you’ll be walking long distances. Don’t forget your over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin.

An extra pair of eyeglasses if you wear them; contacts tend to dry out in high humidity.

A manual can opener that does not require electricity or batteries. Canning lids often do not need an opener.

Extra clothing including rain gear, sturdy shoes or boots, and a jacket. Also consider thermal underwear if you live in an area with cold winters.

Toothbrush and toothpaste; sewing needles and thread for emergency repairs to your clothes.

Special items for infants, children, seniors or pets who may need them, such as diapers, a favorite toy or comfort items.

Items for your home that may not be easy to replace after a disaster, such as photo albums and tools. Be sure to have your insurance company’s phone number in case you need to make a claim.

You’ll want several gallons of bleach (sodium hypochlorite) on hand when the power is out. It can be used to disinfect water when necessary. You’ll need a special bleach that doesn’t have any additives or scents added.

Cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls from pay phones, if you don’t have any other means of communication at your disposal.