Start stockpiling the items you'll need to prepare and repair and check them off this list. Don't wait till the winds are howling. Get the house and yard ready for whatever hurricane season '08 brings. Items pictured are available at home centers and hardware stores. Prices vary from retailer to retailer and online.
Not for the windows. Use it to wrap plastic around items you want to protect from moisture, or as a handy holder for general repairs.
You'll want the heavy-duty variety to power appliances with a generator.
If you don't protect your windows before the storm, you may need plywood afterward to cover broken panes. Approximately half an inch thick; thicker is better.
Have one on hand for emergency roof repairs.
Another tool you'll be glad to have if your home is seriously damaged.
The last thing you want during a hurricane is a fire. Don't use candles or open flames if the power goes out.
No power? No problem. Trim debris by hand.
The SwissGear rechargeable
lantern has two fluorescent tubes (turn on one or both, depending on your lighting needs), an LED nightlight and a built-in compass. Recharge it from an outlet or in the car. Hang it by the bail or stand it on a table. It's 11 1/2 inches tall. Go to www.swisscampinggear.com or call toll-free 1-888-797-2769.
First aid kit
Be ready for emergencies and illnesses. Don't forget remedies for upset stomachs, headaches and colds.
earn how to use one safely to trim branches and cut fallen trees.
Basic hand tools
Have a set of basic tools ready — hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, nails and screws — to make repairs. Charge cordless tools before the storm hits.
Light the way
Invest in a couple of battery-powered backup lights that come on when the power goes out.
Light where you need it
The StickUp Bulb by Westinghouse operates on four AA batteries. Peel away the backing and stick it wherever you need it: a hall, the bathroom, the kitchen. No wiring or outlet needed. Or pick up a couple of battery-powered touch lights.
One per person, with plenty of batteries to last several days. Or get the kind you power by hand-cranking.
The Storm Station All-in-One Emergency Power Station from Black & Decker is an AM/FM/weather radio, power inverter and detachable flashlight. The 25-watt battery-powered inverter powers small household appliances such as a
cordless phone, and the 12-volt recharging port charges cell phones. You keep the station plugged into an electrical outlet so its battery is thoroughly charged and ready to go. A locator light goes on automatically when the power goes out so you can find the Storm Station. It's at home centers, mass merchants, hardware stores and Amazon.com for about $100.
Storm tracker TV/radio
Combination TV/radio picks up weather and NOAA frequencies and has AC/DC power adapters. If power goes out, hand-crank it to power the radio and halogen spotlight.
Bleach, mops, sponges, rags, long-handled scrapers.