RALEIGH, N.C. — With Hurricane Florence approaching the North Carolina coast, many residents are preparing by stocking up on food and water, but there are even more things you can do.
Here are a few "hurricane hacks" to help get you through the storm:
Cold Drink Hack: Power outages can leave you in a hot house with no cold drinking water. You can basically use your washing machine as a cooler by filling with ice and drinks. The drinks will stay cold for days and the water will just run down the drain when you are done.
Pet Potty Hack - Your dog will need to use the bathroom at some point during the storm. Hurricanes don't last an hour or two. One hack to keep them safe and out of the storm is to put some sod or even some turf (if your dog will fall for it) inside a children's pool.
Water Hack: Sometimes drinking water can be comprised after a storm. That's why people are stocking up on bottled water. But what if you can't find bottled water at the store? You can fill plastic bags with water and then put them in the freezer. If the power goes out, the blocks of ice can help keep food cold and you can always thaw the bags for drinking water.
The Freezer Coin: Fill a small container with water. Freeze it. When it's hard frozen, put a coin on top of it. Put it back in your freezer. When the power comes back on, if the coin is at the bottom of the container, your freezer thawed completely, so you need to toss your food. If it's at or near the top, the freezer stayed cold, so you're probably okay.
Toilet Hack: You can also fill your bathtubs with water. In the event your water goes out, you can use a bucket to scoop the water out so you can flush the toilet.
Battery Powered Radio Hack: Make sure you have a battery powered radio (tuned to MIX 101.5 FM for WRAL simulcasts) so you can keep updated on what is happening with the storm. Remember that internet and cell service can go out during a storm.
Charge your phone: Since power could go out, you need to charge all electronic devices and backup chargers. If you evacuate your home, take all chargers, backup chargers and cords with you. And if you do lose electricity and WiFi, you can always save your battery by just updating your voicemail to let people know how you are doing. During major storms, sometimes text messages don't always go through.
Phone Charger Hack: Phone charger out of juice? You could go all MacGuyer and create your own using a 9V battery, a USB charger, duct tape and a plastic utensil.
Protect Your Car: Make sure you keep your car's registration and insurance documents in a zip-lock plastic bag. Also take photos of your vehicle before and after the storm to compare any damage that has occurred.
Park Safe: Put your car in a garage if you can. If you don't have one, park your car close to a building so it will have at least some protection from high winds, according to AutoTrader. You should avoid parking under trees or power lines in case they are blown down.
Gas and Propane: Fill up your car's gas tank and get propane refills so you can grill in the event that your house loses power.
Emergency Kit Hack: Make sure you have an emergency box containing things like a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, canned foods (with pop tops or bring a can opener), peanut butter, crackers, chips and anything else you need to survive the storm. That box is your survival box, so make sure you have what you need to get through several days without power, internet or cell service.
Don't forget the kids: This entire process can be very difficult for children. Whether you need to leave your home or not, the strong winds and rain can be frightening. Make sure to get them some activities that can be done with our without power. Coloring books, board games - whatever will help soothe your child.
Evacuation Hack: If you have to leave your home, make sure you take important documents - birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, insurance information, banking records, credit cards, master password lists, medical records.
When looking to determine what else to take, always think about what you can't replace. Things like photos, scrapbooks and albums can be important memories you don't want to lose. If you have an external drive with photos, take it with you. And make sure to back up your phone's images to the cloud.