Hurricane disaster preparation

Its Hurricane Season in North Carolina (and along the entire east coast)! With the disastrous effects of Hurricane Matthew to our area last year, it’s more important than ever to be prepared! Forecasters have predicted that the 2018 Hurricane season could be just as bad as last year… between 7 and 11 hurricanes are expected to hit the East Coast this year. Are you and your home ready for 7-11 hurricanes this year?

“But we’re over 100 miles inland! What do we have to worry about?”

Well, my optimistic yet ignorant friend – we have a lot to worry about, as we saw last year.

Flooding is the greatest problem when hurricanes head inland. As you can see from the map above, our area actually got MORE rain than the outer banks and the coast! Remember, just because we aren’t on the coast, doesn’t mean we don’t have to worry about flooding! If it can rain, it can flood!

Hurricanes can create thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes thousands of miles from landfall. Hurricane Patricia, the largest tropical cyclone in the western hemisphere, hit western Mexico in October 2015. The storm crossed Mexico and hit Texas, HARD. Houston got 9.4 inches of rain in 24 hours, and a tornado touched down near the city.

Hurricanes can bring wind far inland. Wind gusts from Hurricane Sandy measured 60-70 miles per hour around the Great Lakes. Flying debris hit and killed a Toronto, Canada woman.


Check Insurance Coverage

Property owners and renters should be sure to insure their homes against flooding, something that many people do not realize is not a part of standard home and renter’s insurance.

IF your home is in a flood zone (or near one!)  you should STRONGLY consider purchasing flood insurance in addition to your regular insurance! Your regular insurance only covers water damage from precipitation and wind, but won’t cover flooding. You want to buy it early, as it doesn’t take effect until 30 days AFTER you purchase it.

A realtor friend of mine had several townhomes off Revere Street that she managed as rentals last year. Matthew hit and 12 of the 16 townhomes were flooded. They had to be evacuated and completely gutted from 4 feet down. Appliances, personal belongings, sheetrock, electrical, AC units etc… it was all ruined. 8 of the 12 townhomes damaged had flood insurance and were able to be restored. The other 4 units are still sitting there because the owner can’t afford to spend the $18k per unit it would take to get them restored…

I bet the owner wishes she had spent the extra few bucks and gotten the rest of the units insured.

Make copies of important documents

What happens when your home floods? You can stand to lose EVERYTHING. Even if you are careful and store items in a safe – unless the safe is waterproof – you can still lose them. Be sure to make copies of proof of ownership docs such as mortgage docs, car titles etc…  You will also want to ensure that you have copies of other important forms of identification such as birth certificates, social security cards etc.

These documents can be stored in the hurricane kit or in any safe location that does not risk being damaged during the hurricane. If a hurricane floods your home, you will have to have some way to prove that it’s your house!

Check your home

Hurricane prep for your house is a major factor. A key item to ensure you are ready for a Hurricane is to make sure your HOME is ready for a hurricane. Check out your home to make sure that there is no existing damage that a hurricane could increase. If you see any issues with the overall structure – including loose shingles or damaged roofs – you should be sure to repair them right away! Check for anything that may allow for further damage from high winds, rain, hail and all the other threats that come along with a hurricane.

Check your yard to make sure that there isn’t anything laying around the yard that could get tossed into the air or carried away during high winds. These include items like grills, decorations, trash cans, lawn chairs, playsets and trampolines. Not only can these items get carried away, but they can become threatening debris to not only you, but your home as well, causing severe damages. Store or tie them down securely.

Also, close curtains or blinds. If windows do get broken, this will prevent shattered glass from scattering in the home.

Have an Evacuation Plan… Just in Case.

My mom always said “better safe than sorry!” and the same goes with preparing for a disaster. Maybe an evacuation plan seems silly… well, I’d rather be silly and safe than cool and dead. FEMA recommends you plan to evacuate the “5 P’s”: People (and pets), Prescriptions, Papers, Personal items and Priceless items. Ensure that everyone in your home is aware of your evacuation plan. Everyone should know where they are to meet should you get separated.

Consider having a pre-packed bag full of prescriptions to last a week, personal items and copies of important documents stored at a different location.

Have a list of “priceless items” that you can’t stand to lose. Ensure that if your home is at risk of being destroyed, you can easily access baby pictures, wedding videos, grandmas ring and emergency cash.

Map out the fastest route to your desired location – even if it just across town. Have a backup route planned in case of flooded roads, downed trees and power lines etc…

Be Prepared for Power Outages

Be prepared for power outages! Hurricane Sandy left more than 9 million utility customers without power. Two weeks later, more than 6 million in 15 states and the District of Columbia were still without electricity. When Matthew hit last year, we had families in our area without power for over a week!

No power means no well pump, no water, toilet couldn’t flush, no showers or other washing. Your fridge and freezer won’t work, so your food may go bad. Your stove may not work as well. A backup generator is a great investment, but if you can’t afford one –  A camp stove and rain barrels are an alternative. A power inverter and a charged car battery is a passable alternative as well.

Stock up Supplies

I’m not saying you need to rush out to Walmart right now and buy them out of bread and milk (you know who you are), but consider purchasing items that will come in handy (and will be in short supply when a Hurricane threat is imminent).

Store your emergency supply kit in watertight plastic bags, and store those bags in 1-2 easy to carry duffel bags. You may not need to evacuate, but you will have everything on hand if you do!

A basic hurricane checklist should include the following items:

  • Water – 1 gallon per person for at least 3 days (for water and sanitation) – fill your tubs so you can use that water to flush toilets etc.
  • Food – you will need a 3 day supply of non perishable food
  • Flashlights and battery operated sources of light. Lamps, lanterns etc
  • Battery Powered Radio
  • Garbage bags
  • Moist towlettets
  • First Aid Kit
  • Manual Can Opener (for food)
  • Extra charging packs for cell phones
  • Prescription Medication
  • Non- prescription medicine such as Advil, Tums etc
  • Pet food / water for any pets
  • Cash on hand
  • Important family documents
  • Sleeping bags / Blankets
  • Changes of clothes for each person
  • Matches
  • Candles
  • Extra propane tanks in case you need to grill or use propane to keep warm
  • Personal Hygiene items
  • Paper plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils
  • Paper / pencils
  • Books, games and puzzles

Living in North Carolina, a Hurricane WILL affect you in some way or another. From damages from fallen trees, to flooded roads, to power outages… Ensure that your family and home are protected!

For more great Hurricane Prep Ideas visit our Pinterest page HERE!