Hurricane prep goes high-tech: ‘Alexa, do we have enough toilet paper?’

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Not only am I using my iPhone to survey the household inventory, I’m using Amazon to ship me batteries and other

Dell laptop.

Dell desktop.

Cheap art … cheap art … real art.

I’m walking around my house, documenting everything we own.

If Irma decides to go all Harvey on us, I will have iPhone-recorded proof for the insurance company.

Stainless steel Frigidaire.

Amazon Echo.

My mother-in-law’s ancient turntable and her even more ancient collection of vinyl albums.

Now, if the Maxwell House goes under, not only can I make claims on my kitchen appliances, but also Harpers Bizarre’s 1967 album, “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Irma is big. And scary.

We’ve had scares before. But nothing quite like this in a long time.

So when Gov. Rick Scott slaps on his “Navy” ball cap and tells me to take this seriously, I do.

Only, it is dawning on me that prepping for a hurricane is a lot more tech-based than it used to be.

Not only am I using my iPhone to survey the household inventory, I’m using Amazon to ship me batteries and other essentials — so I don’t have engage in “Lord of the Flies” warfare over bare shelves at Publix.

Alexa, can you order me some C-sized Duracells?

And a flashlight?

And some Funyuns?

Don’t judge me, Alexa.

Aside from my iPhone and Jeff Bezos’ voice-activated internet device, I also rely on Orbitz for back-up hotel reservations.

One at a hotel near home. And a back-up for the back-up down near the tourism corridor. I’m not convinced local leaders will have my power back on anytime before Thanksgiving. But I know they will move heaven and Earth to make sure the theme parks are happy.

Um, mayor, the first floor of my home is underwater.

“I understand. But right now, guests in Portofino Bay’s garden-view rooms are being forced to look at leaf piles. We have to prioritize.”

My priority right now is knowing where Irma is headed. So I am focused on about 36 different websites and their varying cones of uncertainty.

I know we’re not supposed to actually root for anyone to get this storm. But if we’re honest, we all do it. So I find myself taking a logical approach.

Texas just got hit. Florida always gets hit. Louisiana and Mississippi got the hit of a lifetime during Katrina.

Sorry, Alabama. It’s your turn.

So I have websites to track the storm, Orbitz to book hotels, Amazon and Alexa to deliver batteries to my doorstep, and my iPhone to take inventory.

Thanks to technology, I am as prepared as possible for Irma.

Unfortunately, absolutely none of this will matter if we take a direct hit.

If that happens, we will revert to “The Day After Tomorrow.” Forget 4G service. The most powerful people in Florida will be those with natural-gas stoves — the ones who can still brew coffee.

So we are preparing for a powerless world.

My wife expresses concern that we may not have enough toilet paper. How many rolls do we have? Fourteen.

What on God’s great green Earth do you think Irma is going to do to our bowels that will require more than 14 rolls of toilet paper?

Still, I don’t blame her. It’s better to be prepared.

So we fuel up our cars, fully load the portable phone chargers, fill Ziploc bags with water to freeze and agree that we’ll work our way through freezer food over the next few nights, so we have fewer items to spoil. (Tonight’s dinner will apparently involve a Trader Joe’s lasagna and some variation of my mother’s homemade pesto.)

And then we wait. And watch. And know that, just like in 2004, 1992, 1960 and so many other years, Floridians won’t be relying on technology after the storm as much as we rely upon what we always rely upon … each other.

See, Floridians may not be very good at things like sane driving or public education. But when disasters strike, we spring to action. We power up our chainsaws, check on our neighbors, and offer hot showers to the stinky and sweaty.

I’m not sure there’s really anything that anyone can ever do to be fully prepared for a Category 5 storm. But we’ve been through this drill before.

We know this is the price we pay for living in a state where you can wear shorts on New Year’s. So let’s all try to do our best. Keep calm. And if you get stuck, give me a buzz. We have plenty of toilet paper.

©2017 The Orlando Sentinel

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