As we move deeper into hurricane season, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the horizon. The Weather Channel isn’t too bad of a resource, either, but one thing they don’t have at Weather HQ is a crystal ball. Cooler than normal summer temperatures in much of the Northern Hemisphere may sap the energy from this year’s potential hurricanes. Or the clash of cool air and warm water could escalate this fall’s systems. It’s anybody’s guess right now.

With this unpredictability in mind, it never hurts to have the supplies to subsist on your own for a while. You should at least have the basics: ample water for your family and a way to disinfect more water; a food supply that is non-perishable and acceptable to even your picky eaters; a battery-powered or hand-crank radio with NOAA bands; flashlights and extra batteries; a first aid kit; tools to turn off utilities; a cell phone with a solar charger; prescription medications; pet food and extra water for your pet; and some cash in small bills.

These things are easy to acquire, don’t represent a large investment, and really won’t trouble you if you don’t use them anytime soon. There are also a few hurricane season preps that you can do now that you may not like, but may thank me for later.

Dark Ages Weekend
After secretly turning off the main electrical breaker for your house, announce to your family that Judgment Day is here and see how they respond. Or, if they don’t like pranks, tell them you are having 1800s Weekend, or Medieval Weekend, or some other pre-electricity weekend that they might find fun. Kill the main breaker and try to operate in your own home without electricity. This is a great dry run for all your preparedness skills and assets.

Get Used to Warm Beer and Cold Food
Without risking food borne illness, try toughening up everyone’s palate with a room-temperature meal. Open a can of food, stick a spoon in it, and hand it to your kid. But don’t laugh too hard at the face he makes, because a warm can of beer is coming your way after dinner.

Bye-Bye, Ice Cream
Rather than lose a freezer full of food if the power takes a nose dive, store plastic containers of ice in your freezer now. If you do lose power, place a few at a time on the top rack in the fridge to convert it into an old-fashioned ice box. After the ice has melted you’ll have safe–albeit slightly freezer-burned–drinking water.

Have you survived a hellacious hurricane? Do you owe your safety to the plans and preps you made ahead of time? Share your story in the comments.