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Storm Supplies: Preparing for Hurricane Irene and What’s in Your Oh Sh!t Kit?

Posted Aug 26 2011 2:11am

I think most of the world knows by now that the east coast of the US is anticipating Hurricane Irene 2011 in the next few days. She’s making her way through our area on Sunday evening, according to this map.


A storm of this magnitude hasn’t affected NYC in nearly 20 years, so this weekend, we’re in one of the better, safer, drier, parts of New York state. Here in the Catskills it won’t be as severe as the coastline—thankfully—but strong winds and floods in the forecast are not something to take lightly either. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Right!

We went out to buy some essentials, just in case. Truthfully, we probably have 3-6 months worth of food and other essentials (and nonessentials), but just in case. Who knows, maybe someone around us will need something and we’d be able to help.

We stocked up on drinking/cooking water in case we lose our town water for whatever reason. Water is the #1 most important thing to have a good supply of. Remember: not too long ago, our water was shut off due to maintenance , so this is like déjà vu, or rather a reminder to have a decent stash of it. You can survive longer without food than you can without water. Make it a priority.


We also have a few 5-gallon jugs for our water cooler, so this extra was just in case. Then, we’ll fill up our bathtubs for other water needs; flushing the toilet, washing hands, etc.

I have a decent amount of non-perishable foods, but I bought just a “few” more things. You know, just in case.


(The tuna pouches were on sale for $1.49 @ Price Chopper)

I bought this at Mother Earth’s last week. I think we’ll be fine as far as hydration goes. Smile


Has anyone tried this with the splash of pineapple? I figure worse case scenario I’ll just smoothie it, but it sounds good. When does pina colada sound bad? Not often!

Dried fruit, trail mix, etc. All good things to have on hand in power outages or if you have to evacuate quickly.


Portable, compact, nutritious, calorie-dense, tasty, no cooking required.


I received this delivery from Amazon yesterday. LOVE macadamia nuts! Also a great source of nutrition to have on hand or bring with you wherever you go.


Jenn’s List of Storm Supplies and Preparations That You’ll Be Glad to Have

We’re all hoping that we won’t need to resort to any of these living conditions, but when the worst happens—power outage, home damage, flooding, etc.,–it’s smart to be as prepared as possible for roughing it for an indefinite amount of time. Just in case!!

If you’re in an extreme threat level area (e.g., on the coast), don’t risk it. Get out of harm’s way instead of trying to ride it out. If you can, leave the area before it starts and go to some place safer. Waiting too long to leave can be just as bad if you run into flooding, falling trees, etc. Don’t hesitate if you are in danger, just go. And take your pets with you if you have any!!!! Don’t leave them behind, they will not be “ok” if flooding or other structural damage occurs.

  • Water – Clean, drinking water and water for flushing toilets, cleaning, giving to your animals, etc. Sure, it will be pouring outside, but I’d rely on indoor water supplies first.

    *Tip: Clean your bathtub(s) out ahead of time (don’t use bleach or harsh chemicals). Fill them with water before the storm gets to your area.

  • (At least) Two week’s worth of non-perishable food – Canned foods like tuna, soups, salmon, and beans, dried fruits, nuts, jerky, peanut butter, crackers, seeds, hearty fresh fruits like bananas, oranges, apples, pears,
  • Candles – The reliable lighting backup for when batteries die. I suggest having at least 2 weeks worth on hand, ideally, 3-6 months worth.
  • Matches – Not just for lighting candles! You might need them to cook with.
  • Lighters – The more convenient way to start a fire.
  • Flashlights – The more convenient way to brighten up your space.
  • Batteries – The flashlights need ‘em! (And whatever other battery-operated devices you can’t live without)
  • Charcoal or gas grill – Have gas and charcoal (and matches) stocked. You may need to cook on the grill if you are without water, gas, and/or electric.
  • Coolers and ice – Fill coolers with ice and ice packs. You might need to keep perishable foods on ice if the fridge and freezer aren’t the first option. You can always use the melted ice if you absolutely need more water.
  • First aid kit – Always a good idea to have a complete set with band-aids, antiseptic, gauze, aspirin, etc. Even when the weather is nice! Highly recommended if you have children (or clumsy husbands).
  • Buckets – You may need these to fill with water to flush the toilet or transport water elsewhere.
  • Bottle of high alcohol content liquor – You might need this to disinfect a wound, or if you get bored and want to play a drinking game because you can’t get to Twitter without electricity and your laptop is dizzzz-ead.
  • Weather radio (battery-operated) – This will be good for monitoring the storm even if you lose power.
  • Gas generator – Ok, this isn’t exactly a necessity, BUT if you can afford one, it’s always a convenient tool to have on hand, especially if you store a lot of food in your freezer(s) or work from home or have well water.

Tips for Severe Weather and Power Outages

  • Stay indoors as much as possible! Avoid stepping in puddles. Severe weather that takes down power lines could leave live wires on the ground, covered in puddles, etc. Be careful where you walk during and after a heavy storm.
  • Have your storm supplies ready and organized before the storm strikes. Scrambling for the flashlights when it’s pitch-black in the house is not fun or safe.
  • Keep your pets indoors when the storm begins. Take them outside to do their peeps and poos before it gets nasty out.
  • If you lose power, keep the freezer and fridge closed as much as possible. Best case scenario, you get your electricity back within a day or two, so you’ll want to preserve the cold temperature as long as possible.
  • Clean your bathtub(s) with soap (no harsh chemicals or bleach); fill with cold water.
  • If you are out of water, consider using the water left in your hot water tank. Use the valve to drain it out.
  • Pack an Oh Sh!t Kit – If you have to leave in a hurry, have a bag already packed with all of your essentials and other important items: One or two outfits, bottled water, non-perishable snacks, pet food, baby food, feminine hygiene products, diapers, cash, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, laptop, cell phone, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic, etc.), GPS, maps, compass, guns, ammo, iPad—whatever you can’t live without but won’t slow you down either.
  • Fill your car(s) with gas ahead of time.
  • If you have a garage, keep your car(s) inside of it. Falling trees and power lines and other debris might damage it. Don’t take the chance, and think of insurance premiums before filing a claim that could have been prevented.
  • Move all of your breakable outdoor possessions indoors. e.g., lawn statues, patio furniture, bicycles, toys, grill, plants, etc.
  • Charge your laptop, cell phone, iPad, etc., battery ahead of time. Leave them on the chargers (use a surge protector!!) while in use so that they are always 100% charged if the power goes out. You’ll get the longest battery life in this worst-case-scenario.
  • Plug your appliances and other electrical devices into a surge protector.
  • If you work from home, consider investing in a backup battery that you can run your computer on for the duration of the charge.

Evacuating? Keep these things in mind…

  • Take your pets. Take your pets. TAKE YOUR PETS WITH YOU! Don’t leave them behind. And bring food for them. Have their carry cages ready ahead of time. Assure them that they aren’t going to the V-E-T.
  • Fill your car with gas and get our of town before the storm gets there. DON’T WAIT! Bridges and roads could be flooded, closed, backed up—otherwise, hazardous. Get out while you can. Be smart about it. Don’t assume everyone left already. There will be thousands of people thinking the same thing and all trying to fit through a narrow exit at the same, critical, dangerous time. Be ahead of the game. Travel 40 miles or so away from the danger zone.
  • Along with your Oh Sh!t Kit, also have your important documents (financial statements, birth certificate, etc.), precious metals/jewels, and photographs ready to take with you. You don’t need knickknacks or 98% of the other crap we tend to accumulate over the years, but you might want to hang on to important or sentimental things that can’t easily be replaced or can’t be replaced at all. Only if they’re portable. If your kid made you a life-size statue tribute in second grade, take the macaroni picture instead. Ya dig?
  • Get cash from your bank or ATM ahead of time. You might need it for gas or food if the computers are down or if you wind up at a place that doesn’t accept debit/charge cards/checks(?). I’d say have at least $100-200 in small bills at all times, plus quarters for payphones or parking meters or vending machines.
  • Don’t forget to pack your medication and other medical supplies.
  • Bring an address book with all your important phone numbers and addresses and email addresses.
  • It bears repeating: Take your pets. Take your pets. Take your pets. Even if this means grandma has to hold them on her lap in the back of your hatchback Honda. Take your pets.

Our personal OH SH!T KITS

So what do Dustin and I have in our Oh SH!T KITS? Well, we have Oh Sh!t Kits ready at all times, long before this storm was in the forecast. We have three of them (one for each adult to carry) that contain a mixture of: clothes, non-perishable food and K-rations, bottled water, cash, coins, matches, address book with phone numbers and addresses, complete first aid kit with everything from rubbing alcohol to tweezers to tongue depressors, feminine hygiene products, compass, book of edible plants in nature, guns + ammunition, knives, soaps, cat food, flashlights, small bottles of vodka, lighters, garden-size shovel, gloves, hats, hand wipes, vitamins. If disaster should hit or the zombie apocalypse descends upon us, we’re ready to go. Open-mouthed smile

Hopefully none of us need to get into raw survival mode, but if this hurricane brings unrest to your nest, I hope these tips and ideas will help you get through it safely and smoothly.

On a lighter note, let’s talk about food. Yummy, yummy food. For dinner I made pizza on sourdough bread with fresh heirloom tomatoes and provolone cheese:


Garlicky Sourdough Pizza


  • One round loaf of crusty sourdough bread (~1 lb in weight, approx. 8 inches across center or use any crusty bread)
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • About 8-10 slices provolone cheese, deli thin
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Dried oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F; line baking sheet(s) with nonstick foil or parchment paper
  2. Slice sourdough bread into .5 inch slices
  3. Sprinkle heirloom tomato slices with sea salt and black pepper and garlic powder; place atop slices of sourdough bread; drizzle with olive oil; spread provolone cheese over tomatoes; sprinkle with dried oregano and more garlic powder
  4. Bake on 450 degrees F for ~18 minutes or until bread slices are crisp and golden brown on bottoms

Makes 8-10 slices

sourdough_pizza_4 sourdough_pizza_1



Off to savor the convenience of civilization while we still have it. You never know when we might not!!

Are you getting a taste of Irene? Are you preparing for it? Do you have an Oh Sh!t Kit? If so, what’s inside yours?

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