The month of June officially kicked off the summer season, but it also marks the beginning of a potentially dangerous time—hurricane season. North Carolina sits on the Atlantic coast, and hurricanes often bring flooding, power loss and wind-damage to this area, as well as areas inland. Follow these tips to brush up on what to do before, during and after a storm to keep you safe and minimize damage to your home:
Before a Hurricane:
- Outline a communications and evacuation plan for your family before a hurricane warning is issued to minimize confusion and fear. If you have pets or any livestock, include them in your plan.
- Create an emergency kit that includes 72 hours’ worth of food, water, medication and any other supplies you may need.
- Bring all lawn furniture, decorations, toys and garbage cans in from outside. Tie down items that can’t be brought in like boats and trailers.
- Fuel up your car. A loss of electricity could put gas stations out of commission until power is restored.
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. Plywood can be used to board up windows and doors if your house doesn’t have hurricane shutters.
- Secure your home and evacuate immediately if you live in a mobile home or flood zone.
During a Hurricane:
- Stay indoors and away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
- If flooding is imminent, turn off electricity at the main breaker.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or TV for information about the storm and evacuation procedures.
- Avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies.
- Do not go outside until officials have issued an all clear, even if the winds have subsided. You may be in the eye of the hurricane and about to face another round of high-winds and heavy rain.
After a Hurricane:
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding even after the hurricane has passed.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to your local co-op.
- If power was out for an extended period of time, throw out any food that may have spoiled in the refrigerator.
- Take pictures of any damage that has occurred to your home for insurance purposes.
- If running a generator, place it in a dry, well-ventilated area away from air intakes into the home. The generator should be properly grounded and connected to appliances with proper power cords.
- Report power outages to your local electric cooperative.
Preparing for hurricane season will help you stay safe, potentially saving lives and money. You cannot prevent hurricanes, but you can minimize damage to your home and injury to your family by gathering supplies, preparing your home and planning for a possible storm before the hurricane season starts.