Just because Andrew was nearly 22 years ago and therefore is not a memory for newer arrivals in South Florida is no reason to have a poorly stocked hurricane supplies pantry.
We do get hurricanes every now and again. That’s the message from Bruce Saver, co-founder of Hurricane Store, an online disaster preparedness business based in Davie.
“It has been several years since we’ve had a real hurricane. Andrew was many years ago. Wilma was a smaller storm but got everyone’s attention because it ripped across the state,” he said.
Wilma, part of a powerful 2005 hurricane season that included Katrina, helped push Saver and his business partner Steve Sherman into ushering Hurricane Store online in 2006. The company ships survival gear nationwide like NOAA-enabled radios like safety lights, freeze-dried foods that can last a quarter-century and medical supply kits. The most popular items are still the survival gear kits, lights and radios like the perennial top-seller Kaito Voyager ($49.99).
Hurricane Sandy, one of the costliest storms in recorded history, caused damage from Jamaica to New York in 2012 but didn’t create considerable business in South Florida for the subsequent 2013 hurricane season, Saver said.
“It wasn’t a good year [last year]. This business is disaster-oriented, and we sold more with Sandy in the Northeast than we did [here] last year. We’re in the bulls-eye, but they just happened to get a storm that flooded everything. The economy is recovering very slowly, the price of fuel is going up again, and people are hesitant to spend money they don’t need to spend. But this is stuff when they say, ‘Get out of Dodge,’ everybody has to get out immediately. Roads are inundated and the key is to not be running around at the last minute getting things you need. Get a plan with your family for hurricane supplies,” he said.
In addition to fresh batteries, here are 10 of the most popular gadgets available via hurricanestore.com that can help you weather a storm or, barring a nasty visitor, at least have peace of mind come 2015 and onward.
1. Water Jug 2.5 Gallon Collapsible, with Spigot
Disaster relief experts recommend the consumption of a gallon of clean water a day. The 2.5 gallon Water Jug can hold and transport up to 21 pounds of water.
Water Jug is $7.99.
2. Aquamira Water Treatment (2oz.)
Once you’ve stored the water, keeping it safe to drink is paramount. Aquamira uses chlorine dioxide to kill bacteria, which should keep slime from forming and nasty taste at bay. Each kit treats up to 60 gallons of water for human and animal consumption.
Aquamira Water Treatment is $16.95
3. Hurricane Safety Light
A one-minute crank gives you an hour of light. “It floats if you drop it in the pool and it never needs a battery,” Saver said of this light — which is waterproof to 30 feet. Boasts a 50,000-hour LED bulb, so use it while camping or on the road in the off-season.
The Hurricane Safety Light is $12.99.
4. Midland Public Alert AM/FM Clock Radio
The fidelity is scratchy mono, but you’re not trying to rock a party, just keep informed. The radio offers AM/FM broadcast stations but will interrupt broadcasts with current local weather and hazard alerts when a warning is issued by NOAA using Specific Area Messaging Encoding (S.A.M.E.). As such, the radio can be kept on and monitored 24/7. Runs on four AA batteries or AC adapter.
Another option: the Midland ER300 Digital Emergency Weather Alert Radio with Flashlight has a dog whistle feature. “Sounds odd, but the rescuers will be searching for you with dogs and the ultrasonic signal carries farther,” said Sherman. Also, a USB jack to charge your cell, and hand crank to power the radio.
The Midland Public Alert AM/FM Clock Radio is $49.99. The ER300 is $59.99.
5. The Saver72 One-Person 72-Hour Kit
Get it all in one place if you have to evacuate or set up camp at home should you lose power. The kit includes LED flashlights, power supplies for the flashlight and radio, 12-hour light sticks, leather work gloves (handy when cleaning up post-storm), ponchos, food and water packets, water purification tablets and waterproof matches, multiuse pocket tools, Purell, bio hazard bag for waste disposal, a 33-piece first aid kit and a toilet paper roll for when another form of nature calls.
The Saver72 is $79.99. Need even more? The ProSaver Plus One-Person 72-Hour Kit adds a CB radio, more tools, a 299-piece first aid kit and meals for $299.99.
6. Eton Raptor
Dead cell? Be smart with this solar charger to keep your cellphones alive. The device, in orange or green, is also a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, chronograph, AM/FM radio with NOAA weather alerts, digital clock, alarm and bottle opener.
The Raptor solar charger is $114.99.
7. ActCel HemoStatic Gauze
Looks like regular gauze but turns into a clotting gel on contact with blood to stop serious bleeding. Can be a lifesaver when emergency vehicles are delayed during a storm.
ActCel HemoStatic Gauze, box of 20 is $115.99
8. Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit
Gotta eat, and jarred peanut butter and cans of tuna can get old quick. The Mountain House’s packaged, freeze-dried meals provide sustenance for a single person for three days. Includes six entrees, three vegetables and three breakfast meals. Options include Chicken Teriyaki, Beef Stroganoff, Pasta Primavera. Requires water, portable heater.
The Mountain House Meal Kit is $49.99. Check the website for vegan options.
9. P.O.G.O. Pry-Off, Gas-Off Bar
If a big storm causes your home to shake, the gas line that services your property could rupture. If this happens, the P.O.G.O. has notches to shut off most gas lines. The 15-inch steel tool also works as a prying device to clear debris and open jammed doors.
The P.O.G.O. Bar is $7.99.
10. Coleman Micro Quad LED Lantern
Four LED removable light pods attach to any metal surface to custom place light where you need it. The pods run on lithium ion rechargeable batteries for up to an hour on a charge and can be placed into the lantern base to recharge and use for 33 hours. The lantern requires four AA batteries. (Remember to stock up on fresh batteries every season.)
The Coleman Lantern is $29.99.