Living in the Riviera Maya means that every year we have to get through the hurricane season. Luckily, despite the scary name the possibility of a hurricane hitting the Mexican Caribbean shores is very low. There is only a small chance you will ever experience a hurricane and even if you do; chances are it is going to be just a lot of rain with high winds.
It has been a decade since the last destructive hurricane (Wilma) hit Cancun and some areas in the Riviera Maya. The main problems caused by Wilma were the reestablishment of power lines as well as water services, there was also a gasoline and food shortage in the area.
Being prepared is essential when dealing with the challenges of hurricane season. Making sure you prepare ahead of time will save you time, money and stress. It is also important to prepare a plan to guarantee everyone’s safety.
Always make sure to have enough non-perishable food and a good supply of clean water. Check labels and expiration dates to make sure everything is edible, store all of these items in a safe dry area, preferably in a high cabinet.
Some foods to consider are:
Cans: Tuna, sardines, beans, deviled ham, condensed milk, fruits and vegetables, etc.
Jars: Jam, peanut butter, nutella, spaghetti sauce, etc.
Dry food: Seeds, peanuts, pasta, rice, oatmeal, cereals, bread, cookies and crackers.
Boxes: Ultra pasteurized milk, tomato sauce, cream, etc.
For disaster preparedness you should store at least a gallon a day per person for a 3 day period. In Mexico this can be easily solved by calling your drinking water company and order enough 20 liters containers for your family, we’d recommend storing a 10 to 14 day supply in a safe place. For domestic purposes, it is a good idea to have a second tinaco installed at home, or replace the one you have for a bigger size.
FIRST AID KIT AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION:
Make sure to have a properly stocked First Aid Kit, you can find ready to buy kits in places like Sam’s or you can make your own.
Here are some things that you must include in your kit:
- Sterile gauze
- Medical Tape
- Elastic bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antibiotic cream (triple antibiotic ointment)
- Antiseptic solution (as hydrogen peroxide/alcohol)
- Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
- Paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.
- Sharp scissors
- Calamine lotion
- Alcohol swabs
- A thermometer
- Plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs)
Also make sure you have a sufficient reserve of medications prescribed to you and your family. After a hurricane medicines might be scarce, as businesses can be closed or the medicines can be damaged.
PROPANE AND GASOLINE
It is important to have a safe way to cook your meals, most houses in Mexico have a propane stove so filling your tank before hurricane seasons is a good idea. If you have smaller tanks, having a spare is also good, as long as it is safely put away or secured before hurricane season.
Gas stations run out of gasoline quickly during a hurricane, make sure your car has a full tank before the hurricane hits the coast. I fill my tank as soon as an alert is issued; this not only insures that I have gas it also helps me avoided the long lines of people scrambling to get gasoline.
OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
These are items that need to be around your home in case of a hurricane:
- Flashlights: preferably LED in case the power goes out for a short time.
- Candles: decorative candles can last much longer.
- Battery Powered Radio
- Solar Garden Lights: can be recharged by day and use them inside the house overnight.
- Chlorine: To disinfect water and eliminate germs if your houses floods.
- Ziplock Bags: To store valuable items like important documents and photos.
- Corded Phone
- Cell phone and extra charged batteries.
- DC adapter to AC
- Wet wipes.
- Many batteries of all sizes.
- A flashlight for each family member, and battery backups.
- Enough plastic bags for trash and other garbage.
- Supply of toilet paper and other hygiene products that you need.
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready, technology nowadays will let you know with a week in advance when a hurricane is forming. In my experience getting ready at this time will give you plenty of time to get all the supplies you will need.
Luckily in all the time I have lived in the Peninsula, none of the warnings ended up in hurricanes; but it is always better to be prepared beforehand to avoid long lines and panic purchases.
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