Walmart all out of supplies? Seek non-grocery stores. When people think of buying goods like water and batteries, they will flock to stores that sell groceries on instinct. Many home improvement, office supply, and electronic stores also sell multi-packs of water, batteries, am/fm radios, flash lights, etc…. Side note: many Wal-Marts and grocery stores have a water dispenser near the entrances that will fill any empty jugs you have with purified water. These often get overlooked by people buying bottled water.
Think outside the box for food. When I see people stocking up on food; they always get snack packs, crackers, canned soups/chilies, boxed meals, canned veggies, granola, and ramen. These people miss out on a lot of great “No-electricity” meals. For example, mayo is shelf-stable and unrefrigerated before you open it. Grab yourself a small jar of mayo, a small jar of mustard, a can or two of tuna and bam! When the power goes out you can feed your family tuna sandwiches. Don’t be afraid to buy fresh fruits and veggies as well since they don’t require refrigeration and if you have a small grill you can use on a covered porch, buy some meat to keep in your freezer and cook it when the power goes out. When you’re shopping, it helps to think like you’re packing for an awesome multi-day picnic rather than emergency supplies. Also, fried foods can last a day or two without refrigeration, so go ahead treat “landfall day” like a Fat Tuesday while you still have power and deep fry chicken, hush puppies, empanadas, pocket pies, tater tots, tofu, churros, donuts, etc…
ALWAYS. BUY. CANDLES. Save your flashlights and batteries for when you need a bright light to complete a specific task or to go outside. For just hanging around your house, candles are awesome and create a cozy atmosphere. Plus you can use them for toasting marshmallows if you have any! (#HurricaneSmores) AVOID candles labeled as “emergency candles” these are shitty and burn very fast. Instead, buy prayer candles, scented candle jars, tapered “dinner” candles, or pillar candles. While these types don’t burn as bright as the “emergency” candles, they last a VERY long time and provide sufficient light. Plus you don’t have to worry about wax messes with the jar candles. Don’t waste money on tea light candles, although they last longer than the “emergency” ones, they give off very little light, don’t have the draft protection jar candles have and can’t be used in candlestick lanterns or candelabras like dinner candles or pillar candles. Citronella candles are AWESOME if you want to keep your windows open for air circulation while keeping the bugs (specifically mosquitoes) away.
Find and visit a military surplus store. These stores sell really great items like water purification chemicals so you don’t have to play with bleach, camp stoves and fuel for cooking when the power goes out, MREs crank-powered radios, emergency signals, etc…
If you know you may need to evacuate, keep all your hurricane supplies packed and ready to go that you can quickly grab and stash in your car. If you have pets, don’t forget to pack food for them. If you pack cans, tie a can opener to your basket so it won’t get lost.
If you are in a Flood Zone, LEAVE. Especially if your area has been given an evacuation notice and even if you live on a hill. Most of Florida is at or below sea level meaning when the water starts rising, it spreads out far and wide. Even if you live on a hill well above the flood, you will not only be trapped on your temporary little island but all the insects trying to escape the flood will be bunking with you. The FEMA website has some flood zone maps if you’re not sure where you are.
If you have to cross a bridge to evacuate, and you have children/elderly to take care of, take time off of work to leave at least 24hrs before the storm is expected to make landfall. Many bridges such as the Skyway bridge in St. Pete will close down when the wind starts reaching a certain speed well before the storm gets near. Other lower bridges such as the one between St. Pete and Tampa will have lots of sea water spraying on them the closer the storm gets. The bridge pictured above is in St. Augustine and it’s normally pretty far above the water. People evacuating at the last minute, avoiding the bridges, will clog traffic on the land locked routes leaving you in a bad place if a tornado spawns or if there is a flash flood.
When the hurricane makes landfall, if you are still at home, fill up all your tubs with water. If you have any storage tubs, fill them up too. You will now not only have a supply of clean emergency water for cleaning/cooking/drinking but you can also use this water to “flush” a toilet when the power is out. Most toilets will “flush” when there is a certain amount of water pressure in the bowl as long as they are not clogged.
Join a hurricane party. The original purpose of a Hurricane Party was survival via shared resources and safety in numbers. If you live by yourself, join a friend to weather the storm and invite any other friends that are also alone.
ARM YOUR SELF. If you don’t have a gun, keep a knife/mace/bat/war hammer on you at all times. After the storm as passed, some may try to take advantage of lack of people and busy law-enforcement to start robbing homes or you may run into a Florida Man/Woman who has had too much to drink/snort/inject. I’ve never actually witnessed post-hurricane violence first hand but better safe than clubbed to death with a frozen squirrel over a bag of Funyuns…
And finally, don’t forget your disposable dinerware! Why waste you limited water.
Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:
Survival System (Learn The 7 Secrets Every Family Must Know To Survive Any Disaster Or Crisis)
Food for Freedom (If I want my family to survive, I need my own food reserve)
BulletProof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home)