Prepare In-Home for a Hurricane with Materials You Already Own

September 7, 2017

prepare for a hurricane with items you own

Columbia, SC is no stranger to severe weather after the flood of October 2015. But the gift of a struggle is the lesson it teaches.  Horace Rauch, Director of Facilities and Safety Management at Providence Health, says the best way to avoid damage is to take proactive steps in advance to minimize the weather’s effects. That doesn't necessarily mean purchasing special equipment, though. Here are some ways to prepare your home. 

Creative Ways to Use What You Own to Prepare 

Use your washing machine as a cooler:  Fill it up with ice and close the lid to keep items cool. Don't worry about what to do when the ice begins to melt, the machine is designed to drain water. Fill your coolers with ice or water while you’re at it.

Use your dishwasher as a document / electronics safe: It's sealed to keep water in, so it also keeps water out. Just make sure all your dishes are taken out before loading up important documents or belongings. Then push the door in so it's locked closed.

Water bottle + flashlight = lantern: You can better illuminate a room by taping a flashlight to the bottom of a filled water bottle with the bulb shining through the water.

Use deep dish pans to protect furniture legs: Placing disposable aluminum cooking pans around furniture legs can help minimize water damage in minor flooding.

Store water-sensitive belongings in plastic bins & bags: This will minimize water damage to items that could be destroyed by sitting moisture such as stuffed animals, clothes, books, power cords (unplugged), etc.

Make extra ice: Fill your freezers with airtight bags and closed plastic bottles of frozen water/ice. You can use these to cool down when the power is out.

Use a bathtub as a reservoir: You may need it to flush the toilet if the power is out.

Thank you WLTX News19 for these creative ideas.

Involve your older children in the actions above so they can understand the importance of pre-planning and see how “out-of-the-box” strategies can be effective. They may even have additional ideas.

Traditional Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

Of course you also want to remember to follow the more traditional recommendations for hurricane preparedness. “With hurricanes, we are familiar with a number of tried and true ways to guard against damage," says Horace Rauch. "We can prepare for wind damage by taping large ‘x’s across windows and removing outside furniture and items that can blow away. 

"We can prepare for water shut-off by filling reservoirs in the home. We can prepare for flooding by placing sandbags around doors and low-level vents and windows. And we can prepare for power outages by charging all devices and stocking batteries and non-prepare foods.” 

“It’s also a good idea to unplug all electronics and place them in higher locations in the home,” he adds.

You may want to make sure you have the following supplies, too: insect repellent, paper plates and utensils, duct tape, canned food (and a non-electric can-opener if you don’t have one), water, and gasoline.

For a complete Hurricane Preparedness Checklist visit: