Are You Prepared for the Next Hurricane?

Items you can have this week should Irma head our way.

With tragic images still pouring in from Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we are now threatened by a very powerful new storm named Irma. While the media is doing their best to keep us posted, the consensus seems to be that none of the models know exactly where it will head. As I write this, the storm is pounding the islands, and will reach Florida by the weekend. From there, it could turn north and hit the East Coast. We hope not.

For those of us in the North East, Hurricane Sandy seems like only yesterday. The damage from that storm continues to effect the region. 

Here are 10 things items that can help get you through power outages (or worse) should the storm work it’s way up the coast. Most of these items will help keep you safe, sane and offer some comfort during the worst- and most of these items can be here ahead of the storm if you act quickly.

1. External USB Battery Chargers: Your cellphone is a lifeline for news, information and keeping in touch with others. You can to be able to keep it powered up as much as possible. I have found that the Anker 10000mAh External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ can fully charge my iPhone 6s Plus three times before it needs to be replenished itself. My previous iPhone 5 could be charged fully 4 to 5 times from one of these units. At just $29 on Amazon, you can keep a couple of them charged on hand for days of cell phone power. It will charge most USB devices. I’ve used mine for several years now, and they’re still holding up! 

2.  Power for your pad: Charge your phone while also lighting the room at night and deliver 500 watts of power to items around your home.  The BLACK+DECKER PPRH5B Portable Power Station gives you an area light, a built in inverter with 2 standard AC outlets, a DC port (handy if you’ve got a car charger for your phone), a USB power port, an air compressor and a jump starter for your car. For $99, that’s a lot of power! It’s handy to have around whether storms are coming or not! It holds it’s charge a good long time. Just top it off if you hear a storm is approaching. 

3.  Keep informed or entertained: Let’s face it. Without a steady source of power, your phone isn’t going to keep you connected for the long haul. A basic radio is a handy way to keep on top of the news and emergency info. The Kaito KA500 is a powerhouse. It can be powered by AA batteries, a build in NiMH rechargeable battery pack, a solar panel (built in), 5V USB input, a 5V AC/DC input (sold separately) or a hand crank generator. I have experience with similar models, and I’m never too optimistic about the solar or hand crank options. They tend to work- but not as quickly as you might want. However, I’ve had the radio work for extended periods of time during Hurricane Sandy. It included AM/FM radio as well as 2-band shortwave and 7 pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. The built in battery can also be used as a USB charger, and it also includes a 5-LED lamp, flashlight and a red LED S.O.S. beacon light.  

4.  Keep the lights on: Sure, conventional wisdom has you running out to the stores in a panic to stock up on batteries to power your flashlights. But even on a cloudy day, the sun provides enough light to charge solar lights! Check out the Greenlight Planet Home 120 Solar Lighting System Plus USB Charger. It’s a 3 light system that connects to a solar powered battery pack. The battery also has the ability to charge USB devices using the solar panel. It lets off a very bright light. The wires are long enough to spread the lights around from room to room, and each light has it’s own power switch. They also make single light versions of this for camping- but certainly good for storm prep. Place he solar panel in a window that gets a lot of light (or outdoors if that’s an option for you). Let it charge by the sun all day and give you light all night. 

5.  Skip the candles: During blackouts when I was growing up, candles would be lit and placed in various rooms. But flames around your home can be dangerous- especially with children around. So consider skipping candles and opt for small solar lights. There are many options available for solar garden lights. They generally come with an top portion that is a combination solar charger/ LED light/ diffuser, and a steak to put them in the ground. But they work just as well indoor! Just face the solar tops on your window sill all day, and then flip them upside down at night and enjoy! I’ve had mine for years, and they still come on at dusk and run for a good 4 hours. The Oak Leaf Solar Lights Outdoor LED Landscape Lights come 6 in a box, so you can scatter them around your home and not need to reach for a flashlight.  

6.  Keep stuff dry: If things get really bad, and you are in a place that is likely to flood- it might be time to invest in some dry bags for important paperwork! While the Earth Pak waterproof Dry Bag