Top 11 pieces of advice for when the next hurricane hits

We wanted to know from you: What lessons did you learn from preparing for Irma? What was the most clutch item in your hurricane kit?

We took all your answers and created this list of top 11 pieces of advice that’ll help us all prepare for the next hurricane. Got more to add? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Buy IKEA solar garden lights. “By nightfall, the house was glowing.” (Laura Hadden)
  2. Freeze wet washcloths, water bottles or ice packs to keep your fridge and freezers cold after the power goes out. (Amanda Goudas, Laura Hamwey, David Ferree)
  3. Buy a patch of artificial grass to keep inside for your dog so when nature calls, your dog can answer safely. (Meredith Marlow)
  4. Pick up battery-powered fans for each person and animal. No one wants to share when it’s that hot. (Rachel Moran)
  5. Buy solar battery chargers for phones. (Erika Ann Grohoski Peralta)
  6. If you’re evacuating by airplane, buy refundable tickets or ones with travelers’ insurance. (Susan Galler)
  7. If you’re really desperate for your caffeine fix and can’t boil hot water. Shake up some Instant Café Bustelo with bottled water and enjoy. (Radym Berlinger Reitman)
  8. Good, long books. In Micaela’s case, she chose the last book written by Judy Blume In the Unlikely Event. “The book was a great distraction. It made me forget how hot it was and made time pass pleasantly.” (Micaela Stavrinos)
  9. Purchase a small propane stove. “We made spaghetti during the hurricane!”(Lauren R. Calderin)
  10. Buy some old-school LED lanterns. (Almost everybody suggested this)
  11.  Test your generator when there’s no hurricane and let it run for a while, even if it’s brand new. (Sharon Placide)

And, of course, reader Diane Ramirez reminded us the most important thing to do if a hurricane as strong as Irma comes through again is to evacuate. “If a category 4+ is coming, GET OUT.”