Hurricane Irma :: What You Need To Know And Do Right Now {Hurricane Preparedness}

We are at the height of hurricane season in the Gulf Coast region, and with Hurricane Harvey fresh on our minds hurricane Irma has all Louisiana, Florida and Gulf Coast residents concerned, worried and on edge. As Irma inches towards Florida (and possibly the Gulf of Mexico), channeling that nervous energy into productivity is the best thing you can do. While there is no reason for us to panic at the moment, being and feeling prepared is often the best cure for storm nerves and anxiety.

As we learned during Katrina, hurricanes can become serious very quickly, but the one benefit we have on our side is the time to prepare. Below is a list of items to consider and things you can do while we still have plenty of time.

Details and Logistics {Whether You Leave OR Stay}

  • Go fill up ALL of your family’s prescriptions NOW. Likewise, if there are non-prescription essentials (like Allegra or Zyrtec) that your family relies on, purchase them now
  • Head to the bank and withdraw cash from the ATM. Put it in a safe place (an envelope in the zipper part of your purse is wise) NOW. Your wallet is an obvious choice, too (because if you do leave, it is easy to forget things you’ve hidden all over the house)
  • Put all of your important documents (social security cards, birth certificates, insurance policies, wills, etc) in ONE place, ideally in a tupperware that you can easily grab on your way out the door
  • Consider items in your yard that could become projectiles and move them
  • Take pictures of your home and belongings “as is” right now. Ideally you will not need this, but if you have a claim, these pictures may provide helpful during the process
  • Purchase batteries now (see note on breast pumps below)
  • Keep electronic devices and phones well charged; locate external hard drives
  • Consider purchasing a car charger for your phone {as this works whether you have electricity or not}; we also love the iPhone extended battery packs
  • Write down all important phone numbers {friends, loved ones, etc} NOW. While we all believe our phones will work reliably, when cell towers are out they can become frustrating to wait on (and without power a cell phone won’t necessarily work anyway)
  • Gather personal health insurance documents for yourself and children
  • Take a room by room inventory (write it down!) of your home; note the things that you would like to bring or save if possible and identify the pieces of value just in case

Details and Logistics {In Case You Leave}

  • It is NEVER too early to make a hotel reservation “just in case;” most hotels and motels have generous cancellation policies. If it turns out that you don’t need it, that’s wonderful, but simply having peace of mind of WHERE you will go should you need to leave is often the biggest hurdle
  • If you have pets, make a reservation for a boarding facility near the hotel you choose; that way your pets and your family are covered “just in case” {pay attention to the cancellation window so you don’t lose money}
  • Put gas in your car NOW. And at every opportunity you get in the coming days {better safe than sorry; easier to avoid the lines}
  • Ensure you have plenty of kid-friendly snacks on hand in case you encounter a rather long evacuation; this is one time where all of the screen time goes with zero mom guilt

Details and Logistics {In Case You Stay}

  • Be sure to have tons of bottled water on hand (for drinking, cooking and even bathing)
  • Ensure that your pets have ample food in the home (dry or canned dog/cat food)
  • Start cooking all of the frozen items in your freezer(s); you do not want to live with rotting food should you stay and the power goes out
  • Be mentally prepared to live without electricity for days on end. There is nothing any of us can do to make the power come on any faster, so expecting it to be out for a sustain period of time makes this an easier scenario to swallow

Your Memories and Sentimental Items

  • Think through your home through the lens of “could this be replaced?” If the answer is unequivocally no (old photos, children’s artwork, handwritten cards, etc) then consider placing it in a tupperware bin
  • While none of us wants to lose anything in our home, the reality is that some things can be replaced. Lift furniture and valuable things where you can (i.e. unplugging lamps and lifting their cords / rolling rugs) and focus on the sentimental items (jewelry, pictures, mementos) that hold intrinsic value to you and your children

Your Pets

  • As mentioned above, prepare to leave with your pets. Do NOT leave them to fend for themselves; it isn’t fair, kind or reasonable, especially since you cannot predict what will happen
  • Put all of their papers, leashes, collars, food, medicines, etc together in a bag now; this makes it easier to take should you need to leave
  • If possible, make sure your pets are up to date on shots; this will be extremely helpful should they need to board
  • If the hotel or home where you head does not take pets, worry about that later; many other cities have vets and boarding facilities and could take in your pet once you’re there

Newborns / Small Babies

  • Of course, newborns and small infants require extra attention. If you are nursing, be sure that you have all of your pump parts and pieces in one place, as well as plenty of batteries should you lose access to power
  • Ensure you have ample bottles, nipples and breastmilk storage on hand (or ready to travel)
  • Remember to purchase excess formula and diapers, if necessary (for whether you stay or leave)
  • Locate loveys! These are often a huge source of comfort for children of all ages

Weather Resources

Below are a few of the weather pages and resources that our collective team likes the most. You can drive yourself crazy watching the weather, but these tend to stick to factual, scientific data and provide reasonable information about forecasts. There are also some fun resources for kids.

Ashley Angelico
Ashley is the Co-Owner of New Orleans Mom, Red Stick Mom and Lafayette Mom, now the largest network of parenting websites in South Louisiana. Proud graduates of the University of Virginia, she and her husband Blaise spent time in Tampa and Scottsdale prior to settling down back home in New Orleans, something they both said "would never happen." An avid runner, she'll try any workout at least once and is always up for sweating with friends. When she’s not shuttling her 3 very active kids to school, gymnastics or baseball, you can find her cheering for the Saints, trying new restaurants or spending time with family and friends. She's also not afraid to return mediocre books to the library before finishing them because life is too short for bad books. A native New Orleanian, Ashley loves exploring and discovering the beauty of South Louisiana through her growing children's eyes.



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