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We seasoned New Orleanians have learned a thing or two about hurricanes. Unfortunately our memories tend to be short. Here are the top 8 lessons we hope not to forget next time a storm rolls in.
- Save in an Emergency fund. When it’s time to evacuate, you should not have to be reliant on an insurance company or FEMA to get to safety. Discipline yourself NOW to save up for a rainy day. You will not only thank yourself if you need cash to pay an unexpected 3 day hotel evacuation bill, but when your AC goes out in mid-august you will also be thankful.
- Grab your hurricane Box. Gather your important financial and other documents now. It is bad enough to lose possessions. It is even worse to not have important documents to help you rebuild your foundation. Check out our “The Hurricane Evacuation Box” post for a list of important documents to have ready in the event of an evacuation.
- Know where you are going. Pick your evacuation destination well in advance and pick the route you plan on taking to get there. In fact pick 2 routes to get there in case route 1 is blocked. Making stressful decisions in stressful situations is certainly a recipe for an argument amongst a car full of stressed out people. The more important decisions you make under “sane” conditions the better off you will be.
- Back up your pictures. If you are like me you have may have 10 plus years of family pictures on your computer, back them up and take them with you. If you have printed pictures, take them along. A TV can be replaced. A house can be rebuilt. Pictures cannot be retaken.
- Put your meat in a garbage bag in the freezer. You do not have to lose power for as long as we did during Katrina for the food in your freezer and refrigerator to come back to life. A week out of town and the smells are bad if your house loses power. Make it easy on yourself and bag your meat in the event it goes bad. Check out our post “A Cent That Makes Cents” for more on this topic.
- Get to know your neighbors. If you decide to ride out the storm and lose power, invite your neighbors over for a bar-b-cue. You probably cannot eat all the food in your fridge alone and this is a great time to get to know those in your community better.
- Empty your inside trash cans. If you evacuate and are gone just a few days, and you forget to take out the trash from dinner the night before you leave, you will be welcomed by some funky odors. Don’t forget to empty ALL the trashcans in your house before you leave. Along the same lines, FLUSH all your toilets.
- Remember your family is on your team. Preparing for a storm is important on several fronts. The most important thing to save is your relationship with your family. When you prepare you will have made most of your big decisions already, which can diffuse tension and make a stressful situation more bearable. Teach your kids in advance how to pack their own bags.
We’d like to hear from you. What are the top lessons you’ve learned you hope not to forget the next time a storm rolls through? Post your comments on our Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/GISNOLA