May 9–15 is Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina. With warmer weather quickly approaching, now is the time to prepare for hurricane season. By taking a few moments to learn about hurricane safety and implement a hurricane safety plan, you’ll be better off when hurricanes threaten our area.
Sign Up for ReadyWake Alerts
Wake County Emergency Management has developed the ReadyWake program to help you and your family prepare for possible disasters. Get alerted about weather emergencies and other important community news by signing up for our Emergency Alert Program. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. You will receive targeted, time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how. Sign up now.
Determine Your Risk
Did you know that hurricanes or any tropical system can have five major impacts? These include storm surge, flooding, strong wind, tornadoes and rip currents. North Carolina is one of the most hurricane ravaged states in the country. The entire state, from the mountains to the coast, is susceptible to hurricane and tropical storm impacts. The central portion of the state can be susceptible to inland freshwater flooding, high winds and tornadoes.
Develop an Evacuation Plan/Know Your Zone
The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. If you don’t live in an evacuation zone, identify someone who does, and plan to be their inland evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Finally, be sure to put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a 30-day supply of medicines, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Many of us have cell phones, and they all run on batteries. You’re going to need a portable, crank or solar powered USB charger. Before the storm, be sure to fill up your car or a gas can. If the power goes out, you will be unable to pump gas.
Get an Insurance Plan
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it, and it’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period. Finally, know where your insurance documents and contact information are located, and be sure to take them with you if you have to evacuate.
Strengthen Your Home
If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Many of these retrofits do not cost much or take as long to do as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.
Help Your Neighbor
Comprehensive preparedness requires the whole community to participate in hurricane preparedness. That said, many people, especially senior citizens, rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Did you know that 46% of people expect to rely a great deal on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after a disaster? You can make a difference by getting involved in your community and acting today to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
The basic steps for helping your neighbor are easy. This week, be sure to help your neighbors collect the supplies they’ll need before the storm. Then as storms approach, assist them with evacuation orders if ordered to do so. After the storm is over, be sure to check on your neighbors after it’s safe for you to head outside.
Complete a Written Plan
The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions. Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a hurricane warning is issued. Being prepared before a hurricane threatens makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.
Find detailed information on these topics and more here.