How most people do it:
- Check emergency supply of batteries, candles, etc. Replace or replenish as necessary.
- Stock up on food that can be stored without refrigeration and eaten uncooked or cooked over a camp stove: canned beans, minute rice, powdered milk, Slim Jims.
- Of course buy bottled water and ice. Fill a large cooler with the ice.
- Buy duct tape and plywood if you don’t have storm shutters on your house.
- As storm approaches, remove debris around yard if you live in house and install storm shutters or nail plywood over windows. Clean out tub and fill with water (for washing).
How the “crazy prepared” do it:
- They do all of the above, but they buy at least a month’s worth of everything, and as well are the ones in the neighborhood whose generator is sure to be working.
- They also have already stocked up on ammo for their gun(s).
- They keep “we shoot looters” signs pre-made and ready to deploy.
How Florida natives do it:
- Check emergency supply of batteries, candles, etc. When stash proves to be two rusty AAA batteries rolling around in the kitchen junk drawer that expired in 1998 and one ancient candle caked with cobwebs that you found under your sink, go to the convenience store. Unfortunately you waited until the first squalls have hit so your trip across the parking lot in stinging rain netted you exactly one nine-volt battery — the only thing you have that those fit in is the smoke alarm in the kitchen — and an eight-ounce bottle of Deer Park spring water.
- Drive through the sideways-pushing winds to the grocery store. Persuade them to let you in because you’ll “only take a minute to get a couple of things.” It will actually take you less than a minute, because the shelves have been stripped bare. Oh wait — there were three tiny cans of something called “Potted Meat” and a tin of sardines. You buy these.
- Next to the grocery store is the liquor store. It’s still open. But you don’t need to go in: you had already stocked up on booze the day before.
- Go home. Wait in your car as a tree branch torn loose from one of the trees in your parking lot thrashes past. Then hurtle out of the car and run for it, clutching your precious stash of canned meat by-products to your chest.
- Make it into your apartment. You’re hot, sweaty, and exhausted, but the power hasn’t gone out yet, so there is air-conditioning. Just then the power goes out.
- Grope and feel your way across the apartment in the dark, banging your shins on furniture and stepping on the cat, who bites your ankle in retaliation. Find your desk and fumble your laptop open. Turn it on. At least you can do some writing, maybe play some Freecell to while away a couple of hours. Then you see your battery indicator is at 15% and you only have a few minutes of power left. You realize you forgot to charge the thing up.
- Sit in the dark, drinking booze from the bottle, as the winds howl. The next day after the storm passes you will give your neighbor fifty dollars for a bowl of ice cubes and a packet of Slim Jims.