I hope today’s blog post finds everyone safe, and that all of my readers suffered little or no property damage in the wake of Hurricane Irene. We are all fine here, as well as are our family and friends. Our house is still standing, it is not flooded, and we all weathered the storm as best as possible for a family that includes two storm phobic dogs, one storm phobic cat, and one ‘everything’ phobic person (me). The boys, (Nick, Toby, and Cinder), handled the storm with much less stress than us girls, but I’m happy to say that I wasn’t as worried as I could have been – because I had several days to get ready.
In order to encourage others to be prepare themselves for future disasters, I wanted to share some photos of the disaster preparations that I made when I found out that our home might lay directly in the path of Hurricane Irene.
First, I relocated crates to our bedroom, which is where both Leah and Meadow weathered the storm (with a little help from Melatonin). Toby remained free in the room with us, since he does not try to cram himself behind furniture, or lay in the corner hyperventilating, like the girls do during inclement weather. We also dosed him with Melatonin for the first time ever, just to make sure he rested through the night and into late Sunday morning when it was finally safe to venture into our tree laden yard to relieve himself. I checked with my vet before giving the supplement and tried it out on him the night before the storm – wouldn’t want to have an allergic reaction in the middle of a hurricane!
In addition, I gave the dogs minimal food the night before, knowing that it wouldn’t be safe to leash them up and venture into the yard for bathroom breaks.
The cat crates were at the ready in case we need to flee in a hurry, and we also secured the cats in the bedroom with us that night so they could not squirrel themselves away in hard to find spaces throughout the house. The dog harnesses lay on the crates waiting to be used, and the leashes were hung over the doorknob, in case we needed to make a run for it in the middle of the storm.
Why such worry?
Here are some photos of the trees surrounding our home:
This V-shaped one is half dead and just begging to be blown over…
Sky, what sky?
And here are some items we wanted to have on hand in the house, in case we lost power, the first of which was flashlights and rechargeable batteries. Unfortunately, the nice big lantern would not have been useful for long, since the eight batteries inside it are very old, and there were no D batteries to be had anywhere on Long Island by the time I started looking for them on Thursday night after work. But as soon as the stores are restocked, I plan on buying a pack or two!
Next to the lights and batteries I had bottled water, an Lp stove, a connector to attach the Lp stove to our BBQ tank, paper products, CVS hand wipes, and Nick’s eye-care products.
Ready to be packed in the Jeep from left to right. (1) A go bag for the animals, containing enough food for three days for each of them, some disposable Tupperware to be used as bowls, and extra medication for both Leah and Meadow. I also threw in a soft muzzle and all five of their vaccination records. (2) Three days worth of clothes for Nick and myself, along with some toiletry essentials. (3) I shoved a few rolls of toilet paper inside a bag of paper towels along with several chamois for drying off, and then I sealed the bag with packing tape to prevent rain from getting in. (4) The final bag contained blankets, which I also sealed with packing tape.
You can never have too many blankets – 1 for each of us, and 1 for each dog. (The cats’ blankets were already in their carriers.)
We loaded up the jeep with our go bags, our blankets, and several more bottles of water. Above and below the already set up crate are three other folding crates. Our plan was: one dog per crate, and the cats would share the fourth one with a divider between them. If we had to flee, Meadow would go in the already set up crate, and we would use the cat carriers to divide Leah and Toby up in the back of the Jeep. Small quarters, but for an emergency, it would have to suffice.
And, one final addition. I took an empty bag of cat food, filled it with kitty litter, and then sealed it with, (you guessed it), more packing tap. I also bought two disposable baking pans – this way, if we had to take shelter at a family member’s home (AKA: Mom), our cats could stay clean inside their duplex crate for several days.
And finally, the sturdy steed, ready and waiting – with a full tank of fuel. I worried when we first bought the used Jeep that it might have been a poor purchase due to its gas guzzling tendencies, but knowing it was ready during a possible disaster made me appreciate it 100%.
We also readied all of our important papers, a utility knife, two emergency ponchos, a first aid kit, another flashlight, some small bills, and some non perishable food for me and Nick (granola bars, peanut butter, and Fig Newtons.) We kept this final go bag close by through the duration of the storm, the only thing we’d need to grab besides our four legged friends before getting on our way.
Are you done packing yet? I want to play in the yard before Irene gets here. Who is Irene anyway? Does she have cookies??
Too much prep for what amounted to be only a tropical storm in my region? No, not in my opinion. After watching the terrible footage from the places that Irene visited along her tour of the East Coast, I’m so very thankful that I never needed to touch any of my supplies. My heart goes out to all of the people who lost loved ones, or whose homes and businesses were destroyed.
We were just lucky, in more ways the one. We were lucky to be spared, but we were also lucky to have advance notice of the storm – and the choice to leave if we had felt the need. Most natural and man-made disasters occur without advance notice – please don’t wait for the next one to have a plan in place for you and your pups.