HOUSTON – If you are getting an early jump on your hurricane preparedness this tax holiday -- after all hurricane season starts June 1 -- these are the top three items, in order of importance I would get this weekend.
I would buy:
- Carbon monoxide detectors – Did you know in the past four years we had more people die from carbon monoxide poisoning than storm surge? It’s true! Ten years ago, when I talked about hurricane preparedness, I would mention what a good idea having a generator would be. Not many people had them. But a lot of people have generators now. After all the power outages we’ve experienced from floods to freezing, people started buying them. But if they aren’t hooked up properly, carbon monoxide can get into your home. And this doesn’t consider people who use their car heaters to stay warm. Having a carbon monoxide detector is a must!
- Candles, flashlights and lanterns – First, you should never use candles after a storm. Get rid of all candles used to keep the lights on. They cause too many fires. With that said, today’s lanterns are excellent sources of light when the power goes out. They look like candles, but run-on batteries. The LED lights last a long time, too. Also make sure you have a good flashlight for every member of your family. The price has gone down a lot the past several years. Put them in a place you will remember with extra batteries.
- Can openers – nonelectric – Canned food is non-perishable and perfect if you are without power for several days into weeks. However, how are you going to open those cans if you don’t have a nonelectric can opener? Make sure you have one in your drawer.
If you have some extra money or are a big preparer. Here are two things I’d consider buying this tax free holiday.
I would consider:
- Radios - portable self-powered (including battery-operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios – This is a must when you lose power, and your phone battery dies. Having a radio/weather radio is the only way to get vital information when the power goes out.
- Portable generators – Everyone I know who has one, and has used it during a prolonged power outage, thinks this is their best hurricane preparedness buy. Imagine the power being out, and your home is the only one on the block that has air conditioning, refrigeration, and lights. You are your neighbor’s hero. They are expensive, especially the more they can power, but if you have some extra cash, it’s a great investment.
I would skip:
Axes, hatchets and chainsaws - We’ve seen the images of people hacking their way through the attic to get on to the roof during an extreme flooding event. But the odds of this happening to you are extremely small. It’s better to put that money toward non-perishable food or water. The exception would be if you live in a one-story home inside the Loop in a low-lying flood plain.
Join the conversation in the comments below -- What would you definitely recommend from the emergency supplies tax-free list? Let us know.