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Why you should be freezing water bottles right now, and other clever hacks for disaster prep

Living on the Gulf Coast, many of us are practically experts at storm prep. While we have heard of the usual storm prep suggestions, including getting your documents and medicine in order, there are a few other things you could be doing right now to prepare.

We asked what some of you are doing to prepare for a potential storm and a few really unique and helpful ideas came up. A lot of people are suggesting others to freeze water bottles - and lots of them.

Why should you freeze water bottles?

Freezing water bottles will help keep your food cool longer during a power outage. The frozen water in bottles will keep the freezer cool longer. Depending on how long you need to go without power, you could also transfer some of the frozen water bottles into your refrigerator.

“Freeze a lot and pack your fridges and freezer tight with stuff. The more packed it is, the less room there is for warmer air to start circulating, keeping it cool longer. We usually consolidate our inside and outside freezers and just use the extra one for freezing more ice for ice chests,” suggests Houston resident Bobbie Byrd.

Fill zip-top bags full of water and freeze them

If you don’t have any water bottles, you can fill up zip-top bags and use those in your freezer. This is also a good option if you don’t have a lot of space for water bottles.

“I fill gallon freezer bags with water and freeze them flat. It makes a large chunk of ice that works well too,” recommended Jennifer Sisco.

Just make sure to lay the zip-top bag filled with water flat in the freezer so it freezes in a flat square shape. Once frozen, you could put these around food to keep it cool.

You could also fill up empty milk jugs with water. Essentially, if the power goes out you would have large blocks of ice to keep things cool. We even heard one suggestion to fill up water balloons and freeze those! The kids would like this idea. The FDA has more advice on food storage during a storm.

Fill the bathtub with water

While you are prepping, you might want to clean out the bathtub really well. The National Weather Service also recommends filling up your bathtub with water. Storms could cause problems with water pipes. The tub water could be used for flushing toilets, washing dishes, or even as drinking water if you really need it.

Other useful tips:

  • Make sure all of your laundry is clean. Wash all clothing, towels, and even bedding if you have time. If you are without power for a while it will be helpful to have the dirty laundry taken care of. Plus, you don’t know how long you might have to go without using the washer and dryer!
  • Empty out a few plastic tubs so you have a place to put important items if you need to leave fast. You may have plastic tubs in the closet full of winter clothing or extra bedding. Go ahead and empty out the tubs so you have a safe place to put anything you may need to grab at the last minute. Tubs are not completely waterproof but would be better than a bag or suitcase that could get wet.
  • Use your washing machine as a cooler. A few suggestions involve the washing machine. After you are finished using it to clean all of your laundries, consider filling it up with ice. You can keep drinks cool and when the ice melts the water will just run out like it would when you do laundry.
  • Freeze washcloths. Having frozen washcloths might be helpful for dealing with the heat if the power goes out. You could use the frozen washcloths to keep cool.
  • Fill up your tank. We know area grocery stores are preparing for potential storms. It’s also a good idea to make sure your gas tank is full and prepare your vehicle for what could be a long drive. You can also stock up your vehicle with necessities just in case.

What do you do to prep for storms that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments.