Hurricane preparedness manuals have been the rage this summer. Every local TV station, daily newspaper (all one of them!), and savvy business with an eye toward cheap public relations disguised as public service has jumped on the bandwagon. After going through several such publications and finding them brimming with the same useless -- and in some cases dangerously faulty -- advice, New Times decided to do right by our readers and publish a really worthwhile hurricane preparedness kit, one that will relegate all the pretenders to their rightful station at the bottom of the birdcage.
1) Condoms. New Times recommends the glow-in-the-dark variety until the lights come back on. That way, no one gets lost. Remember, you'll probably be without electricity for two weeks or longer. Plan accordingly.
2) vibrator. For, you know, massaging your back and stuff.
3) Viewmaster. No electricity = no TV = no video. Viewmaster rules.
Food & Drink
1) Maraschino cherries, Spam, Velveeta, Ding-dongs. When it comes to food, go for durability. The more dyes and preservatives, the better. Especially nitrates. They never spoil. Food with multiple uses is also desirable. Spam, for example, is an acceptable short-term substitute for wall plaster, roofing tar, or spackle. Spam cans serve double duty as building blocks for the personal bunker you may need if things get hairy.
2) Whiskey, rum, vodka, cognac, red wine, canned mixers. Plenty of "refreshments," anything that doesn't need refrigeration. Let the neighbors stock up on water.
1) Cans of gasoline. You can't have too much gasoline in the house.
2) barbecue grill. Bring the barbecue indoors. Store it near the gasoline for both convenience and safekeeping.
3) Cheap umbrella. In case your roof was built by...well...you know the culprits.
4) Spray paint. To contact your insurance adjuster.
5) Duct tape. Another item no household can have too much of. Economy-minded types should buy it by the large wooden spindle and save.
6) Shutters. Officially licensed from Balsa-Firm(r). Protect against winds up to 30 mph!
First aid kit
A variety of drugs. Prescription, over-the-counter, and other stuff: joints, Prozac, Thorazine, hypodermic syringe, white powder in cellophane packets, Preparation H, Anbusol, Flintstone vitamins, Dentyne.
Fun things to do right before the storm hits:
2) practice your three-point shot
3) all the best fishing holes are open
4) Surf's up!
5) buff that hang glider
6) break long jump record again and again without getting tired
How to tell a rip-off artist from a legitimate contractor after a hurricane:
1) His I.D. tag has numbered front-view and profile photos.
2) His initial estimate is: "How much ya got?"
3) Gives his license plate number for an address.
4) Says the best way to contact him is by calling the pay phone at 7-Eleven.
Clip out insurance coupon:
No one should go without proper insurance! New Times is aware that obtaining proper coverage in the wake of Hurricane Andrew has become a nightmare. In an attempt to better serve our community, we've created New Times Underwriters, Inc., expressly to provide full coverage for people who can't get it any other way. Just fill out the attached form, clip, and mail to New Times Sucker Pool, P.O. Box 011591, Miami, FL 33101.
Yes! I need protection! Enclosed is my check for $100.
New Times Underwriters, Inc., hereby certifies that _____________(your name here) has insured his/her Car/Boat/Home/Business (circle one) with our company and can now rest easy knowing that his/her Car/Boat/Home/Business is backed by the full faith and credit of NTU. To report damage caused by a hurricane or other natural disaster, please call
Quick profits from natural disaster -- a storm that makes landfall couldbe your windfall!:
1) I-95 and the turnpike will be gridlocked with would-be evacuees. Cold beer at five or ten bucks a can should be a brisk seller.
2) Once a tropical storm is upgraded to hurricane status, stock up on generators using store credit cards. If the big one hits, you mark them up two or three times and make a quick killing. If it passes us by, you simply return them for a full credit. Batteries and ice also should provide a wealth of entrepreneurial opportunities.
3) Rent that Ryder truck now. Prepare a list of things you want and a map of the stores that sell them and be ready for action as soon as the winds die down. Remember, time is of the essence. You'll have about an hour before the cops get organized, so use it wisely.
4) Keep the telephone number for America's Funniest Home Videos handy. The camcorder should be rolling at all times. Hurricanes are unpredictable; you never know when that roof's going to fall on granny, or the freak 110 mph wind-borne palm frond will spear little Bobby, or a sudden gust will lift Uncle Ralph right off the condo's balcony.
5) Now is the time to print up those "I Survived Hurricane ________" T-shirts and other memorabilia. Fill in the actual name later with magic marker. The important thing is to have them ready so you can grab the best corner on U.S. 1 before anyone else.
6) Scavenging may yield hidden treasure. Fallen highway signage, stoplights, and the ever-popular scrap metal and copper tubing should be plentiful.
Tips from New Times special consultant Vito Escobar:
1) Preparing your boat:
Sink it early to get the best spot.
2) Preparing you car:
Make sure your comprehensive is paid up, then park west of a very tall tree.
3) Preparing your house:
Spend a few minutes at Publix gathering up other people's food receipts. Buy lots of expensive stereo equipment from Burdines, photograph it, and make a copy of the receipt before returning it. Borrow furniture from your wealthiest friend or relative and videotape it in your house. Open all doors and windows. Unscrew and disconnect as many tie beams and trusses as possible. Hose down furniture you want replaced, but don't forget: Insurance adjusters can tell the difference between fresh water and salt water. If you're claiming flood damage from the storm surge, be careful to use buckets of sea water. Keep a crowbar on hand to finish any job the winds leave undone.
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4) Preparing your pet: Make your dog really earn its keep! Convert the treadmill you never use into a generator and let Rover work off some of those table scraps. Krazy Glue small housepets to the floor. Cats, of course, go in the microwave.
W A Special Note to Mobile-Home Dwellers: Goodbye!
Red Cross Shelter Checklist:
Cigarettes. For smoking and bartering.
Low-caliber automatic weapons. Bayonet, plenty of ammo -- we recommend hollow points to maximize stopping power; Teflon jackets shouldn't be necessary for the close-in combat characteristic of communal living facilities.
Ear and nose plugs
Chemical ice. Someone might bring beer!