I was really surprised to see how many Katrina victims didn't access their hot water tanks for water.
Shut off the pipe that feeds it to keep polluted water out.
Open the top vent.
Open the bottom spigot as if you were going to clean it.
If you have kept up maintenance on your water heater and cleaned it every year, then the water will be good enough to use.
I've lived all my life on the Gulf coast of Florida and learned early to be ready for the next storm. We have 2 generators both purchased second hand one from a yard sale 100.00 needed a new pull cord, one from a pawn shop 200.00. Perfect condition.
DH replaced the pull cord with one he'd taken off a dead weed eater and mounted both on pieces of plywood with casters. They are easy to roll in and out of the garage where they are stored. We have also laid in a pile of tarps and large squares of scrap plywood. We have extra lp tanks for the grill all filled and stored in our shed. We have gone as long as a week without power and not been troubled by it. After Charley went throught we loaded up some of our extra items and took them to a friend in Wauchula who was real glad to have them as they had major household damage. I also make a large ham a day or 2 before a big storm just incase. Makes meals very easy as do a few dozen oatmeal cookies.
We were without power for 21 days with Frances and Jeanne (overdue with Baby Lily at the time) and 11 days with Wilma, which sounds very dramatic but really wasn't bad at all.
My advice is to lay in all of your hurricane supplies early (I do it in May) so that when you're under a hurricane warning you don't have to fight the throngs of panic buyers at the supermarket and Home Depot. It's a huge relief knowing that I won't be fighting for the last bottle of water or sheet of plywood as the storm approaches.
In addition to the things I know my family will need (shelf stable milk, canned goods, bottled water, batteries, diapers & wipes, etc.) I lay in some extras (plywood, extra flashlights w/ batteries, water & food, tarps, first aid supplies, bleach) in case my neighbors need help (or we need more than usual to get through).
Don't forget to charge up your laptop and cell phone!
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