As Hurricane Florence continues on its path towards the North Carolina coast, state emergency officials say it is never too early for residents to start developing family emergency plans.
Now is the time to review your emergency plans, not later when this storm is on our doorstep. Florence is a threat well beyond our coast.
The latest National Hurricane Center projections show that Hurricane Florence, which ramped up to a Category 4 storm with winds around 130 mph midday Monday, could slam into North Carolina.
According to North Carolina Emergency Management, state residents should do the following to get ready before a hurricane:
- Build an emergency kit.
- Make a family communications plan.
- Know your the routes you need to leave your home (evacuation routes). Locate your local emergency shelters.
- Closely watch/listen to the weather reports. Listening every hour as the storm nears.
- Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and ATMs may be closed after a hurricane.
- If authorities ask you to leave, do so quickly.
- If you leave (evacuate), be alert to flooded or washed-out roads. Just a few inches of water can float a car.
- Keep a photo I.D. that shows your home address. You will need it when asking police if it is okay for you to re-enter your area or home.
- Secure your property.
- Bring inside all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Cover windows with permanent storm shutters or board up windows with 5/8-inch plywood, cut and ready to install. Tape does not stop windows from breaking.
- Put in straps or extra clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will lower roof damage.
- Trim trees and shrubs around your home, so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce garage doors. If wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
According to ready.gov, every emergency preparedness kit should have the following items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned food, baby food, Granola bars, energy bars)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Other suggested items to have in your kit include:
- Red bandana (in case you need to signal for help)
- Pet supplies (leashes, pet food, medicines, kennel or crate)
- Medications for family members
- Eye drops
- Dry socks
- Sleeping bags/blankets
- Writing supplies
- Emergency Contact information/documents
- Fire extinguisher
- Waterproof matches/fire starter
- Insect repellent/sunscreen
Don't Forget Pets
The American Veterinary Medical Association urges pet owners also remember their pets when preparing emergency supplies and offers these tips:
Food and Medicine
- 3-7 days' worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food
- Two-week supply of medicine
- At least 7 days' supply of water
- Feeding dish and water bowl
- Liquid dish soap
First Aid Kit
- Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
- Antibiotic ointment
- Bandage tape and scissors
- Cotton bandage rolls
- Flea and tick prevention (if needed in your area)
- Isopropyl alcohol/alcohol prep pads
- Latex gloves
- Saline solution
- Towel and washcloth