DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Get prepared ahead of the storm

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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Most Outer Banks locals know how unpredictable the weather here can be.

With meteorologists predicting a busier-than-average 2022 hurricane season, it’s no surprise that the governor’s office and area emergency management officials are encouraging North Carolina residents and visitors to prepare.

One important step is to prepare an emergency kit. The idea behind emergency kits is to provide a few basic supplies that will enable someone to take care of themselves for at least a few days. A kit should include enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include:
• First-aid kit
• Weather radio and batteries (or hand-crank if possible)
• Prescription medicines
• Sleeping bag or blankets
• Cash
• Changes of clothes
• Hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
• Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
• Face masks and hand sanitizer
• Flashlight and batteries
• Easy-to-prepare non-perishable food items and a manual can opener
• Water (one gallon per person per day)
• Multi-purpose tool, like a Swiss Army knife
• Copies of personal documents
• Family and emergency contact information
• Cell phone with charger
• Extra fuel for generator and/or car

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• Fire extinguisher

How much or how many of each item needed will depend on how many there are in your family/group. You may also want to add items such as games, books, cards and knitting/crochet supplies to help keep people occupied during a power outage.

Other preventative steps that might help avoid problems is to trim trees, cover windows and securing loose outdoor items before storms hit.

In any event, have a plan. Create a family disaster plan with an evacuation route. Never ignore an evacuation order. Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including shelters for your pets. Protect older adults by taking note and understanding their health and medical concerns. Ensure your pet’s safety before, during and after a hurricane or other major weather event. When possible, check on neighbors and friends keeping in mind any CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

Many Outer Banks vacation rental providers offer vacation insurance, which will reimburse you for some or all of the money spent on lodging if a named storm makes landfall on the Outer Banks. Keep in mind that this insurance only protects you if there is a hurricane.

While not part of an emergency kit, before hurricane season gets into high gear you might want to double check your home and flood insurance policies for any necessary changes before a storm rolls through. Changes you may want to consider before or early on in hurricane season include:
●  Enhancing your home insurance dwelling coverage by adding extended or guaranteed replacement cost coverage to your policy
●  Lowering your windstorm, named storm or hurricane deductible to an amount you can better afford
●  Purchasing a separate windstorm insurance policy if wind and hail are excluded from your homeowners insurance
●  Purchasing a flood insurance policy or endorsement