Hurricane season about a week away, beginning June 1 and lasting right up until December 1. Here in North Carolina, we take these warnings in seriously. The name “Fran” still strikes fear in the hearts of residents who lived through that 1996 storm. The devastation was horrendous and widespread–from the South Carolina border to North Topsail Beach, and as far inland as Raleigh and Orange County. Six people died, and property damage exceeded $2.4 billion.
Hurricane Preparedness Week is an effort by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remind everyone to take some basic steps to get ready for this turbulent weather season. FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Russell says: “Everyone should put together an emergency kit, create a family plan and stay informed.”
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. According to FEMA, recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit include:
- WATER: one gallon per person per day for at least three days. You’ll need this for drinking, washing, cooking, and possibly sanitation. If you have a well, you may want to stock a little more because if electricity is knocked out, your well won’t function either.
- FOOD: at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food. For examples, click here: Food
- RADIO: battery-powered or hand-crank only (in case there’s no electricity)
- FLASHLIGHT, and extra batteries
- FIRST AID KIT (click to see what to include in the kit)
- WHISTLE or air-horn, to signal for help
- DUST MASK, to filter contaminated air
- MOIST TOWELETTES, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation, in case toilets don’t flush)
- TOOLS: wrench or pliers to turn off utilities if necessary
- CAN OPENER
- LOCAL MAPS
- CELL PHONE: with chargers (if electricity is available), or an inverter or solar charger
Additional items that may be necessary or helpful:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) – PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
HAVE A PLAN
Those in hurricane-prone areas are urged to prepare now for what you will do during and after a hurricane:
- Before a hurricane
- Prepare an evacuation kit; you can find more information on what you need in the kit at www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov.
- Secure any important papers in a waterproof container.
- Fill your vehicle’s tank up with gas.
- Get any necessary prescription medications refilled.
- Have enough cash on hand to last for several days.
- Make sure you have enough extra food and water for your pet.
- Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- During a hurricane
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
- If you are directed by local authorities to evacuate, be sure to follow their instructions.
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- After a hurricane
- Safety is a primary issue, as is your physical and mental well-being.
Once you are prepared for the worst of the hurricane season, you can sit back and enjoy the best of this summer season!
To read more about how to prepare, plan, and stay informed, check out all the information available on www.Ready.com.