Hurricane Tips for Prep, Survival & Recovery
By: Sam Van Leer, President & Founder, Urban Paradise Guild
Hurricane Prep & Planning – Please Share
I’ve collected some tips based on harsh experiences (especially Hurricane Andrew, plus every cane since) for your convenience. Tips from others are added.
Updated 9/10/2018 with content learned while managing logistics during Irma and Maria Disaster Response.
Note: This is not comprehensive, and YOU are responsible for your family’s safety and welfare.
I may update from time to time, and others may post their tips on comments. Please only use this as a starting point.
The Carolina Navy
Florence is a 500-year storm (or worse). Flooding is going to be bad, both Storm-Surge along the Coast and Flash-Flooding in the Uplands.
Along the Gulf Coast, the Cajun Navy and the Florida Navy were born of necessity: ordinary people with skills and equipment helping out those in need. They saved a lot of lives.
Now it is time for the Carolina Navy… the needs are the same, though the conditions are different…
Minimum Standards for Planning
This is serious, hurricanes kill people.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
When in doubt: get out.
This info is provided as a public service of Urban Paradise Guild (UPG).
“Protecting South Florida from Climate Change since 2008.”
We do this through Volunteer-Powered projects including Habitat Restoration, Nursery and Agriculture for low-income families, and Seeds for Haiti.
Following Irma and Maria, I managed 2 temporary aid warehouses that provided approx 4 million pounds of aid to PR and FL. This doc has been updated with insights.
You are invited to join us!
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/urbanparadiseguild/
Volunteer Opportunities 6x per week: http://urbanparadiseguild.org/calendar/
If you already know a cane is coming, you have work to do.
Be kind, be calm, be focused.
Everyone around is stressed… your family.. people in the gas line… grocery shoppers… drivers… Your patience keeps friction to a minimum (and sets an example for others to be patient too).
Leave your TV off, you don’t have time for it.
I only turn on my TV for a few minutes to get the most recent info. Then I turn it off again. Doing this removes the endless flow of stress from my life, and allows me to focus on the tasks at hand.
Create a clear, simple plan and carry it out. Get to work, checking steps off your lists.
You will find tips for this below.
FYI: I provide info on Facebook so you have news you can use, with the minimal stress. I cut through the hype. This is for storms threatening South Florida.
Neighbors for Resilience
Wherever you are sheltered, check in on your neighbors (including new ones).
If there is a disaster, you will need to know eachother.
Even a “temporary” shelter can be needed days or weeks longer than expected.
Elderly and special needs populations may need more help.
Get to know them, and be prepared to render assistance.
Make sure they know that they can reach out to you.
Exchange phone numbers.
Make plans for communication if you lose power.
Should you EVACUATE for a Hurricane?
Inform Yourself NOW.
Storm-Surge kills far more people than winds do.
Buildings can become un-inhabitatable without power.
This section has background info and a simple decision-making process.
To be Safe, be Informed.
STORM-SURGE & FLOODING
It doesn’t matter how tough your house is, if it is under-water and you are inside, you will drown. Don’t think being personally resilient or macho will save you. Waves or currents will wash away cars or sweep houses off their foundations – humans have very little chance.
If you are in an Evacuation Area, and the County says your zone should Evacuate, then
*** Head for High Ground! ***
Don’t wait for the day of the storm, you do NOT want to be caught on the road in a Hurricane!
More on shelters below.
FLOOD ZONE MAPS
Are you in a flood zone?
Get maps from your county emergency management website.
Find your block on the map, using major intersections and other features.
In Miami: See the Miami-Dade Flood Zone maps. http://gisweb.miamidade.gov/floodzone/
With massive rainfall (40″ possible for Florence), major flooding happens.
In hills and mountains, flash-flooding is a very real possibility.
You may be in the middle of a 1000-year flood, so past conditions may not apply.
Look to local emergency management experts for info (I am a flatlander, and not the source for this).
If you are in a HIGH-rise and depend on elevators, you may need to evacuate.
Being above the storm surge doesn’t mean you are safe.
Older buildings may not have impact-resistant glass, and may have old shutters. Windspeeds get stronger the higher up you are. As parts break off from other buildings and trees and debris blows, it will impact your building, possibly breaking windows.
If you lose power, you lose elevators, air conditioning, your stove, water, all the stuff you need to survive.
Your apartment could become an oven.
Being trapped in a tall building is no joke.
It is 10x worse for elderly and special needs populations.
This article has much more.
More on shelters below.
Not all Hurricanes are equal.
Even through a prior cane in a house, it may be very different next time.
Windspeed, direction, tidal state, and many other variables will determine your risk. Hurricanes can change course at the last minute.
NOAA has an excellent animation to show the differences between the Categories (1-5) that shows the potential damage damage.
STORM SURGE (COASTAL)
This is the biggest killer, so…
Check with your county or city for both resources and info.
IMPORTANT KING TIDE NOTE (COASTAL)
There are naturally occurring King Tides when the tides are extra high due to the equinoxes.
Tides could be 12″ higher or even more, depending on specifics. This will BOOST the Hurricane Storm-Surge accordingly. This impacts both Storm-Tide (and Surge) flooding in coastal areas, as well as drainage inland. You could face more severe flooding.
Take this into account as you plan, especially regarding evacuation.
King TIde schedule for 2018: https://www.scdhec.gov/environment/your-water-coast/ocean-coastal-management-ocrm/coastal-zone-management/coastal-1
Should you Evacuate? Evaluation Steps:
1. Check the official map. Are you in an evacuation area?
If YES: Find a shelter (a friend or an official Hurricane Shelter).
If NO: Lucky You! See #2.
2. If you are on high ground, is your house Hurricane Ready? Does it meet modern codes for Hurricane Straps, Shutters, Windows, etc.
If your house was built pre-1975 or post-1992, and not a mobile home, it is probably solid (in Miami).
Is your house safe from flooding due to rains, well above creeks and rivers?
If YES: Stay put. Consider inviting friends who need shelter over.
If NO: Find a shelter (a friend or an official Hurricane Shelter).
Planning & Shelter Considerations – if you have to Evacuate…
Evacuation is chaotic and stressful, so the more you prepare the easier it will be.
What do you absolutely have to save? Personal records, birth certificates, family heirlooms, pets… make a list, and be prepared to pack everything. Consider putting items in a safety deposit box or storage unit (on high ground).
What do you need after the storm, if your house is gone? Car, bedding, money, clean clothes, toiletries, food, flashlights, identification, a tent, camping gear, pet food, water, kids toys, computer and charger, phone and charger, medicines.
Bring a paper utility bill or other official correspondence which has your name and address on it. This may be requested to re-enter your neighborhood after the storm (if police are on looter alert).
Fill your car with gas, since some stations close…. this is just a starting point.
Visit an ATM now. Get as much cash as possible. If communications go down, your debit card won’t work, and you won’t be able to buy anything.
Make a list, and be prepared to pack. If it won’t fit into your vehicle, you have too much.
Got children? Make a kid plan, and if they are old enough, ask them to help (it is better than them just being stressed). School materials, games, activities, magazines, Art supplies, medications, diapers, formula, clothing, etc…
Make a pet plan. Your shelter must accept them. Make sure you have food, medicines, leash, pet carrier or mobile cage, and basically anything they will need. If you have an outdoor cat, have a plan for grabbing them at feeding time, before the storm arrives (or they may hide or go under the house).
Animals can get stressed, so if yours is high-strung, some doggie downers may be advisable.
Humane Society Pet Shelter & Planning:
“For a list of pet-friendly hotels and boarding kennels in Greater Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, Naples and other surrounding areas that may accept your pet in the event of a hurricane, go to www.officialpethotels.com.”
Hosting a pet evacuee?
Some people don’t like cats in their normally cat-free home.
Use the garage or designate one room. Add a litter box, water and food bowls, and they will chill out. Visit and provide affection when you can so they know they are not forgotten in a strange space.
Got special needs or health problems?
You may need a special shelter. Plan accordingly. If your health depends on electricity, make sure you have a shelter with power. Make a list of your conditions. Refill prescriptions. Have contact info for your doctors.
Do laundry to ensure you have enough clean clothing…
Run the dish washer (so you won’t have a stanky house when you return).
If you have to prep your home, know what needs to be done. Know how to put up shutters. Leave a lot of extra time to do it. If you need power tools like cordless drills to put in screws and nuts, charge your batteries now.
In case water gets into your home:
Flooding might happen, so if it is inches or feet, stuff on the floor will be immersed.
Prioritize placement at high elevations based on value (personal or financial).
Put valuables inside dishwasher (waterproof), on top of closet shelves, dressers, beds, up in the attic space.
Take photos of each room before you leave, to document contents and conditions.
Remove lawn furniture and other stuff from the yard that will blow away.
Tie other stuff down. This includes stuff that could float away.
Fill up your canoes with water and tie them up.
Before you leave:
Check your lists. Get everything packed.
Take a shower, it may be the last one for days.
Do a walk-through.
Close interior doors (in case a window/shutter is lost).
IF YOU EVACUATE – DRIVING
Traffic jams during evacuations have become legendary.
Don’t get stuck in some silly jam, burning gas you can’t easily replace.
Don’t get caught by a storm in your car.
It is best to evacuate early and avoid as much jam as possible.
Call ahead to friends and tell them to expect you.
Use Google Maps or a similar traffic app to see where traffic is bad.
Consider alternative routes.
Gas tends to be depleted along major arteries.
Gasbuddy.com has prices – input the local zip code if practical. It may not be current and updated.
There are vultures after every disaster.
If you get gouged: Take a photo of the store, the clerk who made the sale, and your receipt.
You can report gouging to your state Attorney General.
INSURANCE: Prep for the CANE!
(Doing this could avoid massive hassles if you have to file a claim.)
Block out an hour of your schedule – during daylight is best – maybe a Saturday morning.
1. On a blank sheet of paper, make a rough diagram of the rooms in your home or business.
2. Number them #1, #2, #3 and so on until all rooms and hallways have an number.
Don’t forget to number outside spaces where you store things, attics, basements, etc.
3. Make sure that whatever you use to record video (camera, phone) is well-charged.
4. Enter Room #1, and before filming, open all drawers, closets and remove items from under beds, etc.
Starting with Room #1, record a video of the entire room from left to right, top to bottom, 360 degrees.
Record slowly so that all items can be seen clearly.
5. Take jewelry, electronics, artwork and other valuable items out and make sure they are filmed as well.
6. Take an extra moment to film the serial numbers of all electronic and computer equipment.
7. As you finish a room, mark it off your paper diagram until all have been filmed.
8. Upload the video(s) to Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud storage.
9. You’re done.
God forbid you ever suffer a loss, you will be ready to make sure that everything is replaced.
Pass this along to a friend or business associate. Or share it on your favorite Social Media. It can make ALL the difference.
Remember, Risk Management is Everyone’s Business.
Drinking Water /Flushing for Your Home
Remember your water heater holds 40+ gal water good to drink. Just turn off the incoming valve to the tank when the storm is eminent, there’s a drain on the bottom of the tank. No need to panic over water. (Jeff Dorian suggestion)
For flushing the toilet (if water goes out):
Fill your tub, and be sure that the drain is really plugged.
If you have empty jugs, you have probably already filled them.
Water coolers, ice chests and other food-quality containers can be cleaned and filled.
For non-food containers, wash first, then use a new trash bag secured around the top. Trash cans, recycle bins, buckets… be creative.
Rain Water Collection:
You can probably collect it coming off the roof or other surfaces. It is best to let an hour or more of hard rand before collecting. Keep in mind that birds poo on your roof, so if you do this you are responsible.
What is a good Shelter for YOU?
Government shelters are safe. They are on high ground. Don’t expect comfort, you will probably end up sleeping on the floor of a classroom, gym or cafeteria.
Expect minimal privacy. They may not have showers. They don’t usually welcome pets (check first).
Be kind to everyone.
When you are stuck with others (friends, relatives, total strangers), always try to be friendly. Remember that EVERYONE is under stress, and some are probably have an even tougher time than you are. Some may be dealing with PTSD, anxiety, and other conditions.
Hospitals may offer shelter if you have special needs. Make arrangements in advance.
Friends are best, if you get along well. If you hang out, you will quickly discover just how compatible you are! Always remember, you are a guest, and be very thankful for the shelter. Offer to help out with prep and chores. Be a team player. Follow house rules. Wash the dishes.
Going “out of town” may not work. If the Cane follows you to your shelter, you may have done a lot of driving for nada, and even exposed yourself to risk (car breakdown in a Cane would be bad).
Driving in flooded areas
Don’t do it.
At least, exercise extreme caution.
The thing that looks like a puddle could be a 10′ deep canal.
People die this way.
Even if it is a road, it doesn’t have to be very deep to flood and stall your car.
Roads can was out, so just because you normally “know this road like the back of my hand”… things can change.
Parking your vehicles
Do choose higher ground if in an area that can flood.
Do park close to a strong building, since it can provide shelter.
Do park in a parking lot full of cars, providing mutual shelter.
Don’t park under large trees, which can fall or drop large branches.
Don’t park near salt water, even blown spray can rust your vehicle.
Don’t park where it floods.
Don’t park in underground garages (which will flood), even on high ground.
Don’t park on the exposed top floor of a garage (which will get higher windspeeds).
City of Miami Residents:
There is a program to shelter one car per household in a City garage.
Pre-registration is required. Info here:
Water In the House…
If your roof or a window fails, that’s bad news.
Protect yourself in the strongest internal room you can find, like a closet with no windows or an interior bathroom. Add pillows from couch, bring water and flashlight. Cover yourself with cushions if the roof collapses.
Protect precious documents using appliances: fridge, dishwasher, clothes washer and drier all have sealed doors.
You can find waterproof containers for documents and valuables at camping supply stores.
IF you are TRAPPED in your home during flooding…
(You should have evacuated, but didn’t do so.)
Call 911 and tell them your situation and address.
Put your cell phone in a ziplock bag, and place it in a secure pocket.
Don’t go into your attic: rising water could trap you without an exit and drown you.
(If you have an axe and know how to use it… maybe.)
Get rope, or make it from torn up bed sheets.
Exit from the down-wind side of your house (if possible).
Tie yourself to the vent fittings on top of your home.
Tie yourself into a strong tree.
60 people have died in Houston & Harvey impact areas, most due to drowning.
All of those who stayed thought that they could survive.
Think about that.
Please protect yourself and your family. Be proactive.
Your property is not worth your life.
The REAL solution is to EVACUATE when you are told to do so. .
When in doubt: get out.
GENERATORS & Candles
Never run a generator inside. They create Carbon Monoxide, which will kill you before you know it. Don’t use an enclosed garage or utility room, since you could die if you enter it.
If you don’t have a professional generator shed/cabinet outside…
* Keep your genny inside and safe during the storm (but don’t run it).
* After the storm, use your covered porch, carport or large overhang to protect it from rain.
* You can create an easy lean-to out of a sheet of plywood…
* Don’t run your genny next to an open window!
* Lock up your genny with a bike cable to keep the honest people honest.
Take care with candles and open flames.
The last thing you want is to have a fire that forces you out into the storm!
Using candles enclosed inside glass tubes is good (and many come with saints and religious figures).
Placing candles on a safe spot away from flamable stuff where they won’t get bumped is wise.
Reading Materials & Entertainment…
Be prepared for hours of boredom.
Expect to lose power and the internet and maybe cell service…
Download the stuff you want before you lose power and internet.
Create a stash of reading or movies or shows to watch…
Of course there is the low-tech paper based approach, board games…
Adult interpersonal entertainment is a traditional standby.
No power or light needed.
DARKNESS after the Storm
If we lose power, we loose light (and air conditioning, refrigeration, stove, etc.)
Many American city dwellers have never experienced “full darkness”. We take the glow of City Lights for granted…
When that is gone, everything changes. Deep velvet blackness changes everything. The familiar becomes strange, and the unknown can become scary.
Expect this and plan for it. Personal flashlights for everyone, lanterns for the group, charge all batteries or have spares…
Head lamps are especially good, keeping hands free for working, cooking, carrying…
The moon is full on 9/6… bad for tides (see above) but good for visibility… once it rises.
LOST POWER & Refrigerated Food
If you don’t have a dedicated generator, you may lose power.
If your power goes out, it could take DAYS or WEEKS for it to be restored.
1. Freeze a lot of water before the storm to buffer the fridge.
2. Pack a chest cooler with ice and perishables (it is better insulated than the fridge).
3. Freeze Jugs don’t fill your cooler with water when they melt (but the water can contain dioxins, so best not to drink it).
4. Cook several meals before you lose power. Fill up your tupperware or ziplocks.
5. Freeze more food to fill up your freezer and fridge with cold stuff. Move from Freezer to Fridge.
6. DON’T open your fridge or leave it open – keep it shut to hold cold in.
7. After the storm: COOKOUT time! Use it or lose it.
Your frozen meats mean a party!
8, You CAN cook a recently frozen pizza on a BBQ grill.
LOST & Reduced POWER – Old Tech is Good Tech!
FANS are great! When there is no A/C, they can save your life or sanity.
Battery powered fans run any time.
Box fans and other plug-in fans are outstanding, and consume very little electricity, so you can run them on a generator.
Swamp Coolers use evaporation & a fan. They are quick to build from household materials – check it out on Google.
Solar Powered Clothes Drier!
Don’t let wet clothes turn to mold. Set up a clothes line, either outside (using sun and breeze), in a garage, or in a shower stall or bathroom.
Stuff newspaper into shoes to absorb water and accelerate drying.
Prep Tips (credited to NWS). These are good common-sense tips.
Attached is an excellent list from the National Weather Service in Miami, but @Alicia Zuckerman (WLRN) has a few suggested changes and additions:
1. For a big storm like Irma, you need enough water to drink for 7 days. The water does NOT have to be bottled. You can simply buy water containers and fill them with tap water.
2. Get a plastic sheet to line the tub. Then you can fill your tub with water without it leaking out. You’ll use this to flush the toilet and for basic cleaning if the water goes out.
3. Have enough food on hand to eat for 7 days – food bars and other packaged food is good.
4. Buy a large number of Ziploc-like plastic bags – large and small. You’ll use them to protect papers and other valuables AND you’ll fill them 3/4 full of water and stuff the freezer full. Do that by midweek to be sure they are frozen when/if the power goes out over the weekend. It will keep the refrigerator colder. Do NOT set your fridge on the lowest setting.
5. Get a portable radio that receives AM and FM. NOAA radio is good, but doesn’t get you information on evacuations and other instructions. Get batteries.
6. Get LED flashlights and/or lanterns. They run forever on fewer batteries. But you still need plenty of extra batteries.
7. Get large plastic bags. They are invaluable for keeping valuable things dry if you have a leak.
8. Get large plastic boxes. If you put your valuables, photos, and papers in plastic bags inside the boxes, they will likely be okay.
9. Get plastic sheeting and plenty of duct tape.
10. Do your laundry this week!
Now is the time to review these lists and THINK. What are you going to do if the storm comes? I would take action on getting supplies now. There is nothing on the lists that you can’t keep and use.
TODAY is the day to begin the preparation process.
Review your plan and take the first steps.
Cell Service Down
After a major cane, expect to lose communications (partly or completely).
* Cell Towers lose power or get damaged. Generators run out of fuel or break.
* Landlines are often broken.
* Cell service may be heavily throttled to support first responders.
* Voice is usually the first to go, then data.
* Text messaging tends to be most reliable (least bandwidth used).
Not all Cell Carriers are equal.
Best – Verizon
OK – AT&T (was best in a prior hurricane)
Crap – Tmobile
Get a MiFi
This is a personal internet hotspot that connects through cell networks.
If you get one, it may come with preloaded services or you may have to pay for it.
Pro Tip: Don’t choose the same service your phone uses. Verizon was decent.
There are several apps being shared. I don’t know enough about them yet to make any recommendations. I will add info when I can.
Be aware that when your data service goes down, your apps may too.
WhatsApp was popular in Caribbean & Miami after Maria & Irma.
ZELLO was popular in Houston after Harvey. https://zello.com/
Comcast / XFINITY WiFi, Hacking & Secure Login
(This was a failure in Miami after Irma. Maybe it will work elsewhere.)
XFINITY is opening up all their WiFi hotspots for free public use… BUT… I am not sure if your public login would be secure from hacking. If your life is stored on your phone – banking, purchasing, logins… getting hacked could be really bad for you.
TIP: If you are a Comcast / XFINITY customer:
1. Confirm your login, or create a new one. Go to their website: https://login.comcast.net/login and start the process.
2. Store the info on your phone or computer.
3. To login, look for “xfinitywifi” and login using your account info.
4. Before you lose internet, find hotspots near your hurricane hideout so you will know where to go (below).
Find them at http://wifi.xfinity.com/
The tend to be clustered in retail areas along major roads.
Note that if the location loses power and has no generator, there is probably no functional hotspot.
Exceptions: business with generators.
Find them by driving down the road slowly (but safely). A passenger monitors the hotspots detection until you find a live one.
Article about this service.
Don’t wait for help. It may take a long time for it to arrive.
Some communities join together – both individuals and organizations – to help their neighbors. Even a few resources – and a lot of energy – can make a big impact. Pooling resources saves time and energy.
Roles can include:
* Rescue from flooded or collapsed buildings
* Medical Services
* Boat services (rescue, transport, delivery)
* High Clearance Trucks (for partial flooding)
* Hot Meals – Prepare and Deliver – On-site cookouts
* Base of Operations: for outside Responders: Orgs, FEMA, Military, etc.
* Communications Node: Internet Hot-Spot, voice phone, charging stations… Bulletin Board
* Power Generators: Gas, Solar, Etc.
* Security (prevent theft, protect human resources in field)
* Showers & Laundry Point (more important than you may think)
* Water Supply / Delivery
* Tree Cutting / Removal (open up roads)
It is easier to organize before the storm hits. Make plans for follow up.
NOTE: Working in disaster areas is inherently dangerous. It can kill you. Anyone doing so must accept responsibility for all risks. People who are entry-level should team up with more experienced people to learn the ropes.
BEWARE OF SCAMS & THIEVES
If you get involved with aid work, be aware: the more valuable stuff you have, the more of a target you become. Opportunist scam artists and thieves will try to find weaknesses and rip you off.
Disasters can bring out the best in many people. You may discover strengths and talents you didn’t know you had.
Sad to say that disasters also bring in some of the worst people. Some are simply desperate. Others are career criminals looking for easy pickings.
*** This warning is from somebody who got burned. ***
When you work with people, you will learn how much you can depend on them for some functions. Just be very careful when it comes to entrusting them with money or valuable resources. Generators, water filtration, fuel, medicines… anything that can support life and can’t be locally replaced… is subject to being ripped off.
In one case, a scam artist started working and built a reputation in Houston. He seemed to be doing good work, and had his own non-profit. Then he moved into a much larger role in Miami after Irma, and escalated after Maria… because his blarney fooled those who were responsible. Result: He was entrusted with millions of dollars in aid, and some of it disappeared. He is now a fugitive from justice.
Staffing: A good rule of thumb: anyone who showed up after the disaster should not be entrusted with a lot of valuable stuff. Just because they seem dependable for a week doesn’t mean they won’t clean you out. Appoint people that you know personally to manage critical functions.
Practices like always locking up, staffing the entry, having check-in/out procedures, etc… all helps. Be prepared to appoint security. In some cases, you can request a police officer from a local department.
It may go against the grain, since most people are trustworthy. Just remember: its the few stinkers you need to watch out for.
After The Storm: Survival & Recovery
After the storm blows itself out and the rain stops falling and the water recedes… people begin to emerge from their shelters. Now the work begins.
Assess personal safety & health
Speak to everyone in your household and make sure they are OK. If anyone needs help, focus on that.
Check on Neighbors and Family
Take a walk through the neighborhood. There are probably others. Hopefully you all share that tired/amazed/glad-to-be-alive look. If any neighbors are not represented, knock on their doors.
Call or visit family if you can. Understand that if driving is needed and roads are out, that could be impossible for the time being.
Avoid Downed Power Lines
Downed lines can kill. Don’t approach them. You don’t even have to touch them. Tree limbs, puddles or damp ground can conduct enough to end you. Leave this to the trained professionals who know what they are doing.
Avoid Driving In Water
Flooding and washed-out roads kill. Don’t drive if you can’t be sure about the depth of the water.
Don’t Be A Casualty. Don’t Take Stupid Chances
With phones out and roads blocked, paramedics might as well be on the moon. An injury that is normally survivable could be fatal.
You are likely to be in this for weeks if not months, so think of it as a marathon.
Take your time. Think new stuff through. Learn from those around you.
Thinking of picking up a chainsaw or dangerous tool for the first time?
Whoah. Get training from an experienced worker first!
Thinking of taking your powerboat into muddy, debris-filled waters?
Whoah. Make sure you have an experienced bow-person and a spare prop and…
Getting aid in and victims out is top priority. If you are well-trained or experienced, you can be an important part of the solution.
You can join a group using chain-saws, vehicles, winches and other tools to cut, clear and haul downed trees out of the way.
Avoiding mold damage
If your roof is leaking, tarp or fix it ASAP. Preventing interior water damage will save you a lot of money and time. If mold takes hold, a house can even be condemned.
May your choices be wise, your supplies sufficient and your luck good!