How to Prepare for a Hurricane

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Hurricanes have always been a part of my life. Growing up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hurricane prep was part of our summer routine. Looking back on all the times a hurricane hit the South Carolina coast, there was a sense of thrill, spending extra time with loved ones, and going on road trips when fleeing an approaching hurricane if it was bad enough. It was made to feel like an adventure which I’m forever thankful to my parents for. Except for that one year I witnessed a tree falling and totaling my first car. Things could have been much worse but devastating as a teenager.

Now, living in Florida, I’m still battling hurricanes but with a different situation: with a family of my own. The heightened sense of urgency intensified once I became a parent. Not that I didn’t take hurricanes seriously before, but I want to make sure we make the right decisions before, during, and after a hurricane to keep our family safe. There are a lot of steps we take when we know we’re going to be affected by a hurricane. You can check out my printable list below to see everything that we do. It’s also perfect if you’re in a hurricane-prone area and want to print this for yourself.

Thank you to Briggs and Stratton for sponsoring this post!

There’s one thing we finally added to our hurricane prep list this year and it has given us such a huge sense of relief: our Briggs and Stratton Generator 6250-watt Storm Responder. When Oliver was three weeks old, we had to evacuate from Hurricane Michael because I couldn’t bear the thought of being in a home without electricity with a newborn. Fast forward three years later with Hurricane Dorian knocking on our front door, we knew what we had to do: finally invest in a generator.

Our portable generator will be put to great use after any hurricane passes because there’s a 99.9% chance that our power will be out. It could be for a day or two or even weeks. But with our Briggs and Stratton generator, we’ll be able to still use our refrigerator, turn on a few lights, keep cool with our portable ac unit, charge our phones, power our TV for the news, and provide a safe and as close to normal environment for our three-year-old. Honestly, it has become a priority for us to have one as we recover from a hurricane.

If you’re in a hurricane-prone area and looking to invest in a generator, here’s how we decided on our Briggs and Stratton generator. I’m also sharing what you should do to prepare to pick one out and what to keep in mind when using one.

What to Consider

There are a few things you want to keep in mind when picking out a generator. The first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of the household items you want a generator to power at the same time. From there, write down the running watts and starting watt requirements for each item. Add the running watts together to determine the generator you’ll need that produces at least the total number of watts you came up with. This is what helped us come to the final decision that we needed the Briggs and Stratton 6250-watt Storm Responder.

You’ll also want to consider how long your generator will run off of gas. For example, we love how ours will run for a continuous 11 hours even at a 50-percent load on a full tank. This means that we won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to add more gas. In an already stressful situation, a good night’s sleep is so important! A great feature with the Briggs and Stratton Storm Responder is that it’s equipped with a fuel gauge and hour meter for monitoring the gas levels so it takes out the guesswork! And not to mention the StatStation Digital Display so we know the power usage, the total unit hours and any maintenance issues we need to take care of.

What to Prep

At this point, you can probably see why we went with the Briggs and Stratton generator that we did. Even though it was an exciting moment taking it out of the box for the first time, we also knew we needed to do so prep work to make sure we could actually use it when the time comes.

Gas is the first thing you need to prep. With a 7.5 gallon tank, we wanted to make sure we had a couple of days worth of gas. There are two things that go first when a hurricane is mentioned for your area: the water/bread aisle at the grocery store and gas. You’ll want to get gas as soon as possible since this will fuel your lifeline to keeping somewhat of a comfortable and normal home environment. We filled up several gas cans including our cars. A pro tip? Have a siphon pump on hand just in case you need to siphon the gas from your car for the generator.

We also determined two locations we can safely place the generator. Why two? Your first location could possibly be compromised by debris from the hurricane. Already having a second location in mind can make this process less stressful after a hurricane. Which reminds me! I love the folding telescope handle on this generator because it allows me to push it with ease to wherever I need to place it.

Speaking of placing it, don’t back yourself in a corner when it comes to storing the generator. Our rule of thumb is storing it near the front of the garage for easy access after the hurricane. I’ve already told Ryan we’ve waited three years for one so I’m not wasting even 30 seconds when it comes time to pull it out post-hurricane.


Now, as exciting as this Briggs and Stratton generator can be, there are also safety guidelines that we’ve gone over together as a family so we’re all on the same page. As far as setting it up, it needs to be 20 feet away from our home (and any structure), 5 feet away from combustible materials, the exhaust must be pointed away from our home and placed in a dry area.

Every year after a hurricane, we hear about a preventable situation where someone has passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator on the news. You want to be smart about this! So, under no circumstances do you run a generator inside a garage or any type of structure. We already have CO alarms in our home but I also wanted an extra layer of detection.

The Briggs and Stratton 6250-watt Storm Responder monitors the presence of carbon monoxide with its CO GUARD technology. If harmful levels accumulate in the operating area, the generator will shut down and the patent-pending algorithm it uses protects families from false shutdowns. These are just a few things that come to mind when operating a generator. Briggs and Stratton invite homeowners to visit Take Your Generator Outside to learn more about portable generator safety.

As we prepare for Hurricane Dorian, we’re finding so much comfort in knowing that we’ve done everything that we possibly can do to be ready. As stressful as it can be, having a plan in place with what to do before, during, and after a hurricane truly does help. And I can’t thank Briggs and Stratton enough for helping to ease our anxiety when it comes to keeping some sense of normalcy after the hurricane with the help of their generator. You can find out more about Briggs and Straton here. Those that are in the path of a Hurricane Dorian or any future hurricanes, please be safe and we’re thinking of you!

If you live in a hurricane prone area, preparing for one can be stressful. I'm hoping to take some of that stress away with my hurricane prep list and sharing how to pick out the prefect generator for after the storm.

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