August 29, 2011

Hurricanes: How to Prepare (or Not)

So now that we've all sung "Goodnight, Irene" and bid a fond farewell to the big news-making hurricane, Cranky Fitness is all set to tell you what you should and shouldn't do in a hurricane!

(Whoops, where did that naughty horse run off to? Guess I better go lock the barn door!)

However, since no one would take a bunch of safety suggestions from a blog dedicated to whining seriously anyway, I figure now is as good a time as any for a list of Do's and Don'ts of Preparing for and Surviving Hurricanes.

1. DON'T blow off hurricane warnings or evacuation orders. Hurricanes are often over-hyped, plus they generally take forever to arrive.  This can lead to an overly casual "screw it" type attitude.

What hurricane? Time for a nap.

I grew up in earthquake country (oh wait I forgot... now everywhere is earthquake country) so it seems to me like hurricanes are relatively luxurious, as far as natural disaster preparation goes.  When an earthquake hits, your house can crumble around you with no warning.  With a hurricane, you often have days and days to ponder your options, make preparations, and if it looks bad, get the hell out of the way. (Unless you are a heroic public health/safety worker, or are otherwise required to stay.) We learned from Katrina that things can suddenly turn ugly, so don't be so sure that every hysterically dire hurricane prediction is full of crap just because most of them are.

2.  DO gather supplies you might need in the event you are cut off from the outside world, and have no access to medical care, electricity, water, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, coffee purveyors, personal trainers, child care providers, etc.

First Aid? Er.. vodka's an antiseptic, right?

3. DON'T leave loose objects around your house and yard; remove or tie down objects like garbage cans, lawn furniture, or family members you'd rather not lose to high winds.

I did untie the Lobster...eventually.

4.  If you actually want real hurricane advice, DO visit a site that has serious and practical tips, like or the NHC's hurricane preparedness website.

5. DO stay informed by checking in to the news as conditions change. But DON'T pay much attention to those bozo newscasters who go out into the middle of a hurricane, frolic playfully in front of the camera, oooh and awww over the big waves or bendy trees, direct the camera over to other sightseers enjoying the spectacle, and then tell us "But authorities say you must stay inside for your own safety--even though we get to be out here watching this amazing newsworthy event and you don't! Neener, neener, neener!"  They imply there's something both fun and heroic about standing outside like an idiot getting buffeted by high winds and make you want to come down and look too.

Instead of standing outside in slickers, perhaps they should just report the news from safe locations? And then just keep playing the clip of the eight hurricane Irene on-lookers getting washed off the pier, over and over and over until people get the message that it's not smart to seek out dangerous vantage points during natural disasters.

6. DO use hurricanes and other natural disasters as an excuse for not getting things done!  What else are natural disasters good for, except for tv ratings and bottled water sales? Might as well make the most of it. For example, this post was originally going to be way longer and a lot more informative. Instead of sending you elsewhere for real tips, it was going to have a comprehensive list of everything you might to know about hurricane preparedness! But, so sorry--I was writing it during hurricane tropical storm Irene yesterday and we lost power from 2pm to 10pm, which I never could have anticipated! That hardly ever happens in Provincetown, unless someone uses an air conditioner in summer or a heater in winter or sneezes. I swear it was going to be an awesome post. Curse you, cruel Irene!

So are you guys prepared for the next natural disaster? Got any thoughts, stories, or tips?


  1. Thank you for these important tips! Living in Kentucky, probably the hurricaniest state EVER, I feel better prepared for what Ma Nature has up her gigantic, atmospheric sleeves.

  2. It's true that hurricane warnings can be inflated, but if you have ever been in a serious storm, you never want to again! I like to relate an aviation saying to all this:
    "Better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground!"

  3. OH this cracked me up this morning! Out here in the hinterlands we're more concerned about Tornadoes than anything else. (The day a hurricane hits here is the day the world implodes.) But really your emergency tips - especially the typing up of loved ones - could be generalized to any situation!
    PS. Glad Irene turned out to be not so severe and that you are all right!

  4. Betsy, Camille, Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Ivan, Gustav. Yep, i've been through them, and you are right. Take the storm seriously, and even if you don't drink, the vodka will come in handy. In a temporarily failed economy, barter is the name of the game and giving someone a shot of firewater can get you batteries or a gallon of gas for your chainsaw. Really.

  5. Crabby, excellent list of dos and don't s. Just because I'm not in hurricane territory now doesn't mean I won't be someday. I'll keep the emergency vodka handy.

  6. I personally don't ever want to see a hurricane, unless it's on TV of course.

  7. Thanks, Crabby. I'm filing your advice under "In Case World Ends", 'cause if a hurricane arrives this far inland, we're all doomed!

    On the other hand, I may actually travel somewhere someday, and be caught in a natural disaster, so I will definitely make sure I have vodka!!

  8. I would add on making sure you have plenty of birth control in the house. You know how much the birth rate increases after a black out or hurricane?

    It is not for everyone but still worth sharing -


  9. I learn so much here. I would have had the wine handy.. but vodka.. now that's a nice touch. ;)

  10. Having grown up where the electricity went off an average of once a month, though seldom for more than a few days, my lifelong habits meant that doing without electricity for nine days in Raleigh after Fran was not really a challenge. Of course, I still had a house to do this in.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  11. Personally, I stocked up on chocolate, just in case Irene decided to take a detour to Oregon. I think it's important to be prepared.

  12. Awesome list! My survival supplies may have looked extremely similar.

    You missed one - what to do when some dude flashes their junk on Weather Channel mid-hurricane broadcast!

  13. I like your supplies photo! I best add that to the earthquake kit! OH, I don't have one - no I am not prepared! BAd me! Please do not tie me up like the Lobster!

  14. I lived through hurricaine fran the wrong way (I scoffed. I idiot).


  15. too funny! great post. came over from hilary's place to say congrats on your POTW!

  16. Funny stuff .. over from Hilary's to say congrats on POTW!

  17. Hilarious photo of a valuable tied down so as not to lose her!

  18. Here in Texas we experience quite a few hurricanes. Make sure to have light operated by batteries and TV operated batteries plus plenty of drinking water.

  19. Thanks for the helpful advice!

    Our biggest nuisance was that all the local stores sold out of flashlight batteries well before the storm arrived. Had a little handcranked emergency flashlight that worked great though!


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