Weathering the storm, baby and all

As a Florida native, hurricanes don’t generally make me shake in my boots…that is until now. I want to say it’s because of Allie and this strong urge to keep her safe. I want to say it’s because Hurricane Irma is the stronger storm to brew on the Atlantic, well, ever. I want to say it’s because of the horrific images and video I’ve seen from our friends in Texas. But really, I think it’s just all of it.

It’s a combination of all these devasting scenarios that I am suddenly, and constantly, aware of. I mean, I lived through Hurricane Andrew and while I was just a kid, I’ll never forget how scared my parents and grandparents were as the shingles flew off the roof of our South Miami home. I was a teenager when I drove home, and almost didn’t make it home, during Hurricane Wilma. I know the danger of these things and I know how to prepare for them.

Except for now. Like I do with just about everything, I made my list of things we would need and planned out the preparations for our apartment. Yet, every time I look at the list or start putting things in their safe places, I feel flustered and panicked. I just keep thinking of Allie.

I think about how small she is and how helpless she is, and all of the horrific scenarios we may find ourselves in if this storm moves even slightly west. I think of the photos I saw of babies in Texas, babies in plastic bins with pillows and blankets and how can I forget how small that toddler looked clinging to a mother who drowned saving her. Frankly, it’s terrifying. Paralyzingly terrifying. So I wondered are there were any other new mommas out there feeling this same fear?

I’m thinking there is, and I’m hoping that I’m not alone in this. So, after endless research and personal experience, I’ve compiled a list for weathering the storm with my little babe (and family) that might be helpful to you too.

Shopping List:

  • Flashlights, candles or lanterns
  • FM Radio
  • Handheld or battery operated fans
  • At least 3 gallons of water per person (1 gallon per day)
  • Batteries
  • At least a 3 day supply of non-perishable foods. Examples are canned foods, chips, bread, drinks (besides water like Gatorade), granola/power bars, etc.
  • At least enough baby water, baby formula, and baby food to last 3 days.
  • ADULT First Aid Kit with any medications you take regularly, band-aids, sterile bandages, wraps, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, Tylenol/Motrin, burn cream, etc.
  • BABY First Aid Kit with baby Tylenol, thermometer, extra diaper rash cream, nail clipper, colic medicine, tweezers, ointment, sterile bandages, sun screen, face wipes, etc.
  • Phone battery kit
  • Whistles
  • Electric Tape
  • Zip lock bags (Large Freezer Size)
  • Generator (Remember to never run a generator in an enclosed space.)
  • Plastic Bins (See Baby Prep)
  • Ice packs and insulated bag (See Baby Prep)

Prepping Your Home:

  • Secure windows and doors with plywood or shutters. Leave one door accessible in case you need to get out for any reason in an emergency. Instead, use sandbags or trash bags with 1/3 water to block water from coming in through the unsecured door.
  • Even with plywood or shutters, I used sandbags to block water from coming in the sliding glass door.
  • Secure ALL lawn furniture or bring inside.
  • Whether you’re in your home or evacuate, make sure to keep all inside doors closed. If a window bursts and a gust of wind gets in, your roof is could be blown off if your doors are open. Closing doors would compartmentalize that strong wind.
  • Charge all electronics, battery packs and cell phones.
  • Put ALL important documents in a waterproof container or bag. We used freezer zip lock bags. (Examples of documents for each family member are IDs, Social Security cards,  birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, lease agreement, homeowner paperwork, emergency cash, recent photos, etc.)
  • Fill your tub with water that can be used for bathing, flushing toilets or washing clothes.
  • If you’re leaving your home and there are perishables in your refrigerator, please water in a mug and freeze. Once frozen place a quarter on top. If when you get back the quarter is at the bottom of the mug your food has defrosted and frozen again (not edible); if the quarter is in the middle some of your food may still be good, use your judgement; and if the quarter is still on top your food is just fine.

Prepping Your Car: This one is in case you have to flee suddenly.

  • Fill up your gas tank.
  • Check your fluids (oil, coolant, wiper fluid).
  • Have extra food and water supplies already in the car.
  • Pack a bag per person with clean clothes, shoe, sleeping bag, disposable wipes, clean hand towels and basic toiletries and leave in the trunk of the car.
  • Keep an extra First Aid Kit and an emergency kit with a flashlight, blankets, etc.
  • Pack baby kit with diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream, extra baby clothes, baby water and food, and blanket.
  • Park cars in the garage if possible.

Baby Prep: Whether you stay home or with family, this is a good list of items to have close by and organized in case of evacuation.

  • Pack diaper bag with extra diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream, bottles prefilled with water, formula, baby food, change of clothes, blankets, soothers, toys, socks, and hats.
  • Separate all of the baby’s current clothing and place in zip lock bags before packing in luggage. I organized them by onesies, tops, bottoms, socks, one-pieces, pajamas, bows, and diaper covers.
  • Pack up all the baby formula, baby food, baby water, bottles, sippy cups, soothers, teething toys, and feeding utensils in one luggage. If you have frozen baby food or breast milk, use ice packs and place in an insulated bag.
  • If you’re like me, you have a bunch of baby clothes in bigger sizes set aside. For these, I packed them all up into one plastic bin and taped it shut tight. I then placed a heavy duty trash bag around the bin and will either place it in the trunk of my car or in the apartment on higher ground. (Depending on the severity of the storm on Sunday).

These are just items that I’ve found helpful, whether you use it all or not, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also, and this is important, KNOW YOUR ZONE. Check online to see if you live in a flood zone, if you’re at risk for evacuation, and make sure to stay updated.

Hope this helps. Stay safe out there mommas!

HELPFUL LINKS FOR TAMPA:

Evacuation Zones

Shelter Locations (All Counties)

Hillsborough Flood Zones

National Hurricane Center Tracking

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