Five in-house tips during a hurricane

The East Coast is holding off against Sandy, the Frankenstorm of a hurricane bigger than last year’s Irene. As I write this, there has been non-stop rain and strong gusts of wind. You should have done your preparations the previous days. But no, no, you were happily gallivanting in your zombie get-up for that Halloween party. If you are reading this and thinking of panic buying just now, it is too late to head out to the grocery stores. They are either closed for business, or if they are open, emptied from previous days of raiding. I did mine the other day, and totally skipped my weekly grocery of cold and perishable merchandise. Here is a list of the least you could do while in the middle of the hurricane.

1. Know how to reach the fire exit in case of a blackout. If you live in an apartment building like I do, chances are you live on the upper floors and rely on the elevator.You might have taken the fire exit and stairs during a fire drill or or false fire alarm (just this afternoon, we had two fire alarms in my apartment!). That is good. But the main difference is that there was light during those occasions. If you are not sure if your building has emergency lights to illuminate the hallways in case the light goes out, try to count how many steps it takes from your apartment door to the nearest fire exit.

2. Make the most of the electricity. While the power is still on, try to do the most you can with it. And I don’t mean do your laundry or iron your clothes. If your stove runs on electricity, do some minor cooking such as rice and perishable goods like fish and meat. Heat some water and put it in a thermos. Charge your phone, radio and laptop for emergency/lighting purposes. Save the newspaper and book reading later when you’re done with all the computer work, but before the daylight burns out. Want to keep abreast of Twitter updates when the light goes out? It’s possible using your phone

3. Fill containers with water. Be it your bathtub, basins, pots, what-have-you for drinking. If the you lose power, the pump will be out of order, too, and you’ll be thankful you have some water for drinking, washing, or flushing the toilet,.

4. Stay put at home and don’t go out. This may seem obvious to many, but not to this shirtless horse who went jogging.

5. Know your evacuation route. If it ever comes to an extreme state of emergency, you should be familiar with your evacuation route. If you are in DC, this government site might be of help. Or not.

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