Officials urge preparedness for storms


Staff Writer

Saturday, May 19, 2018

This weekend's showers are nothing compared to a major hurricane, and storm season is just around the corner.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. North Carolina is one of the leading states for hurricane damage, and communities across the state still recovering from Hurricane Matthew know only too well how devastating hurricanes can be, said Gov. Roy Cooper.

“Hurricane Matthew hit us more than 18 months ago and we’re working hard along with families, businesses and communities to recover and rebuild,” Cooper said. “We know from experience that all hurricanes and tropical storms should be taken seriously. Now is the time to get ready to protect your home and family from the next storm.”

A tropical storm or hurricane will make direct landfall on North Carolina’s coast about once every two years. While Hurricane Matthew didn’t make landfall in the state, the Category 1 hurricane wreaked havoc on half of North Carolina’s 100 counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The potential for another storm is always possible and preparing now is the best way to protect your family. Folks who are better prepared will fare better in a disaster. Take charge of your preparedness, said Brent Fisher, assistant director of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management for Nash County Emergency Services.

Taking steps to prepare for hurricanes and other disasters can help people recover more quickly. Twin Counties emergency management officials highly recommend residents keep an emergency kit with enough supplies not just to get through a storm, but for the potentially lengthy aftermath. Make sure to have enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days.

Other essential items include:

■ Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag.

■ First-aid kit.

■ Weather radio and batteries.

■ Prescription medicines.

■ Sleeping bag or blankets.

■ Changes of clothes.

■ Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant.

■ Cash.

■ Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records.

Now is the ideal time to review homeowners and renters insurance policies and consider purchasing flood insurance, state emergency management officials recommend. During storms, people should stay tuned to a trusted local news source and keep a battery-powered radio nearby for weather and evacuation information. They also need to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.

“It’s critical that people prepare themselves and their families now for emergencies,” said N.C. Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Don’t wait until the next storm threatens to make sure you have the supplies and plans in place to weather a potential disaster.”

Hooks said the most dangerous threat from hurricanes and tropical storms is flooding and storm surge and that a storm does not even have to be classified as a tropical system to cause serious damage.

To prepare and strengthen your home from tropical storms:

■ Trim trees around your home to prevent damage from broken branches.

■ Bring loose outdoor items inside, such as patio furniture.

■ Secure all doors on your property.

■ Move your car inside a garage or to another secure location.