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Hurricane Irma hit my town pretty hard. The boys and I are located in Fort Myers, Florida where my family is; surrounded by Naples, Bonita Beach, and Lehigh Acres. I posted on our Facebook page tips to prepare for a hurricane, but I don’t think you can ever really know how prepared to be for a hurricane until you’ve been through one.
Some of you may never get the chance, and some of you may need to know this for the next one. I think these points also pertain to any natural disaster, so it’s worth a read even if you aren’t in a hurricane zone.
The hurricane has passed, and we made it out alive, only little damage to the house. What would I have done differently? What is it like after the hurricane passes? These are things that people don’t talk about. So, I’m going to talk about them.
- Buy More Pet Food than You Think You Need: The aftermath is like nothing you can explain. People are frantic. The town is out of power. Gas is limited, and the lines for gas stations are 2+ hours long. You don’t want to use more gas than is needed, and the pet store probably won’t be open anyway! Their power is out, and they ran out of generator gas. These are real issues, people!
- Get Gas Cans: Fill all of your cars and get 20 gas cans. As many as possible. Fill them all to the brim! If you have a generator (which I hope you do, because once the hurricane hits – there will be NONE left!), you will need these often.
- You Can Save Your Raw Food: I had purchased freeze dried raw food incase I wasn’t going to be lucky and needed a “dry” food that wasn’t kibble. Thankfully, I was able to save my raw food that was kept in my fridge and freezer. How was I able to do this? My family rotated the time for the generator. We needed to keep the fridges cool but also preserve gas, because we didn’t know how long our power was going to be out. We ended up being without power for about 4 days. We would turn the generator on for 2 hours, off for 2 hours. The cycle continued all night. My father was a trooper and let everyone sleep while he got up every 2 hours to turn it off, and again in another 2 hours to turn it on. If you are not able to do this, you will loose everything in the fridge – be warned! If you don’t open your fridge/freezer during those 2 hours the power is off, they will STILL stay cold.
- More and More Water: Obviously you need to stock up on bottles of water. Once a hurricane is set to come to your town, you will run out of water fast. The stores will be empty. Make sure you get as much as you can! You will most likely be on a boil water notice for a couple weeks after the storm.
- Keep Them Cool: In Florida, without A/C it gets really, really hot. You don’t want your dogs to over heat, so make sure they are able to keep cool by having cold, wet towels for them to lay on, ice to chew, battery operated fans, ect. and ALWAYS, ALWAYS have fresh water available to them!
- Your Dogs Will Know: Benji especially knew that a storm was coming, he didn’t want to leave my side. My dogs did pretty well for the most part, but they definitely needed that extra comfort. If your dog is extra sensitive to storms, I would suggest a calming treat.
- Barnes and Noble: This bookstore was one of the first places to open after Irma hit. If yours opens, they have outlets where you can charge your phone/laptop and they are dog friendly. I saw many people there with their dogs on leash, and it was a nice place to get out of the heat for many.
- Don’t Abandon Your Pets: This should be an easy one, but Florida was overwhelmed with the amount of dogs that people were “setting free” before the storm, or leaving them tied up to trees to endure the storm alone. Please reconsider this! There would be many people willing to take in your dog, rescues, etc. There are other options other than leaving this defenseless animal to die. Not to mention, it is illegal.
- Find a Pet Friendly Shelter: I was lucky, and didn’t have to go to a shelter but I saw on the news that they had many available to the community. They required that you bring vaccine records, a crate, and all dogs to be leashed. Obviously, you will need food and water for them as well!
- Help Your Community: I’m still dealing with the aftermath of Irma in my town. Our groceries stores are running on generators that are running out of gas, we have limited food supplies, gas tanks are running out as soon as they are filled, and so many are still without power. Our power just turned on yesterday, and it was like a Christmas miracle! Many rescue organization were hit hard, and need fosters to take in the animals until power restores! Open your homes, and your hearts to donating or providing a safe place for an animal in need.
If you would like to help some local rescues/animal sanctuaries that were hit hard in my area, I provided links on my Facebook page HERE. Your help is appreciated! I definitely believe that what goes around, comes around. If you spread positivity, you get it back. 🙂
I hope that this advice helped some of you, and maybe gave you insight on some things that people DON’T tell you before a hurricane.
It’s never too early to be prepared, you never know when you will need it. We don’t always get a warning!
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