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As Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida, Miami is in the midst of preparing for the worst. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Miami-Dade's barrier islands and coastal areas, which reportedly affects more than 100,000 people.
Those who are outside of the county's forced evacuation zones, and plan to weather the storm at home, should take extra precaution in terms of emergency readiness and food and water supply, including ways to make use of cold and frozen goods.
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As you get ready for the storm, here are 10 essential tips to take into consideration before it's too late.
1. Have enough water to drink for at least seven days. It does not need to be bottled. Instead, fill all empty jugs, jars, and pitchers with tap water, and store in a safe place.
2. Start preparing ready-made meals now. Cook cold and frozen food in advance, like pastas, meat sauces, and chicken, and store in plastic containers inside the fridge. When and if the power goes out, eat this food first before looking to prepackaged and other nonperishable items. Make sure to have a can opener handy, too.
3. Fill plastic bags with water and place in freezer to keep the interior cold. Ice can also be placed in coolers to store other cold pre-made foods, like pizza, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Line all bathtubs with plastic sheets and fill with water. It helps prevent water from leaking down the drain. This is water you will use to flush the toilet and for other basic cleaning.
5. Place all valuable items and papers inside plastic bags and store in a secure place, such as inside dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, or safe boxes.
6. Designate a safe and fully-enclosed area in your home to stay in, in the event that you experience roof, window, or rising water damage.
7. Have batteries, flashlights, food, and water handy wherever you are in your home. Try to avoid walking around your house during the worst of the storm.
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8. Get cash. Credit cards won't work without power.
9. Keep prescriptions, glasses, and other essential items on you or nearby at all times, including cash and important family documents.
10. Don't forget to keep a close eye on your furry friends and have a stock of necessary items, including pet food and carriers or crates with you.