It's Hurricane Preparedness week, and North Carolina public safety officials want residents to consider how vulnerable they'd be if a big storm hit their area.
Daniel Webb is Emergency Services Coordinator for Edgecombe County, which was inundated after hurricanes Floyd and Matthew. Webb said residents usually get some lead time before the river crests, but they need to be ready to deal with what comes next.
"Knowing the area that they live in is probably the most crucial thing, knowing if they're affected by a low-lying area that may become a flood area," said Webb. "And then the people that are actually living in higher areas, knowing that they may be cut off due to road flooding from grocery stores, and gas stations and stuff."
Dare County's Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said coastal residents need to be especially careful to prepare for wind and water. He recommended trimming trees and fastening lawn furniture so they're less likely to cause damage during a storm. Pearson also urged residents to have an emergency plan ready well in advance.
"Having it written down is the best way to do it," said Person. "If you've written down your plan − you can just pull it out of your folder, bring it up on your computer − and just start talking about it with your workers, co-workers, family members."
Pearson also said people in flood-prone areas shouldn't put off insurance. Most plans require a policy to be in effect for 30 days before they'll cover a flood event.
Governor Roy Cooper's office recommends having enough non-perishable food to last each household member and pet three-to-seven days, as well as:
- 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
- Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records
State hurricane planning, forecast, and recovery information is available at ReadyNC. There's also a mobile app.
Hurricane season runs June through October. NOAA's National Hurricane Center is expected to release its projections May 25.