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Posted: August 27, 2015

Erika: What to do now if you live in the cone of uncertainty

Worried about whether Tropical Storm Erika will make landfall in Florida? Experts say  now is the time to prepare.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Refill special medications.
  • Get cash (ATMs may not work for days after).
  • Fill up with gas. Check battery, water, oil. Make sure you have a spare tire and aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Prepare your boat. Prepare your pool. Don’t drain it.
  • Get shutters, storm panels or plywood in place on windows. If you haven’t installed sockets, attach with wood screws; they’re better than nails and do less damage. Don’t tape windows.
  • Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants inside.
  • If you do any last-minute pruning, take clippings inside.
  • Disconnect and remove satellite dish or antenna from your roof.
  • Check your mailbox. If it’s loose, secure or remove it.
  • Remove roof turbines and cap holes with screw-on caps.
  • Prepare patio screening. What’s recommended: Remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass through.

>>For complete storm coverage, click here.

Your hurricane kit

  • Flashlights, extra bulbs
  • Clock (wind-up or battery-operated)
  • Battery-operated radio
  • NOAA emergency weather radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Toilet paper
  • Matches (camping stores have waterproof matches)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Working fire extinguisher
  • Clean change of clothes, rain gear, sturdy swamp boots
  • Fully charged battery-operated lanterns. Don’t use candles and kerosene lanterns. They are fire hazards.
  • Map of the area
  • List of phone numbers
  • Copy of insurance policy



Get enough nonperishable food to last two weeks.

  • Water: Enough for 2 gallons per person/per day, for one-week minimum. Two weeks is ideal.
  • Ice or dry ice
  • Shelf-stable milk and juice boxes
  • Canned and powdered milk
  • Beverages (powdered or canned, fruit juices, instant coffee, tea)
  • Raw vegetables that don’t need refrigeration (will last only a few days)
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Prepared foods (canned soups, beef, spaghetti, tuna, chicken, ham, corned beef hash, packaged pudding)
  • Snacks (crackers, cookies, hard candy, unsalted nuts)
  • Snack spreads (nut butters, cheese spreads, jelly)
  • Cereals
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • Bread
  • Dry and canned pet food



  • Hand tools: hammer, screwdrivers to use now, shovel and pickax for after the storm
  • Quarter-inch machine screw sockets and screws
  • Plastic sheeting to cover furniture
  • Rope
  • Sturdy working gloves
  • Duct tape to waterproof items; masking tape isn’t strong enough
  • Canvas tarps
  • Sturdy nails
  • Broom, mop, squeegee



Two-week supply of prescription drugs. Your first-aid kit should include:


  • Insect repellent sprays
  • Citronella candles, insect bite lotion
  • Petroleum jelly, for itching
  • Ointments for burns, cuts
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra over-the-counter medicine (for colds, allergies, cough)
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, antacid
  • Children’s medicines
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Iodine, disinfectant
  • Wet wipes, moist towelettes
  • Medic Alert tags
  • Thermometer
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Sterile rolls
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Roller bandages
  • Tweezers, needles
  • Adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Latex gloves



  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Manual can opener
  • Water purification tablets
  • Bottle opener
  • Matches in a plastic bag
  • Pocket knife
  • Camp stove or other cooking device and plenty of fuel.
  • Ice chests or coolers
  • Paper plates, napkins
  • Plastic cups, utensils
  • Plastic bags, jugs or containers for water and ice



Disposable diapers, wipes, ointment, medicine

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