Gov. Roy Cooper has joined the national effort to make people more aware of the dangers of hurricanes by declaring this week Hurricane Preparedness Week.
Hurricane Preparedness Week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday, is to remind residents to prepare for severe tropical weather common in North Carolina during hurricane season, which is June 1 through Nov. 30.
“All North Carolinians should take this time to prepare for the possible impacts of a hurricane or other severe weather by updating their family emergency plans and supply kits,” Cooper said. “Having a plan and supplies will help you to survive through a hurricane and to recover faster should one adversely affect your home.”
The state is currently recovering from the devastating effects of multiple storms including Hurricane Isaias and the remnants of Hurricane Eta in 2020, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hurricane Florence as well as Tropical Storms Michael and Alberto in 2018, and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“There are things everyone can do to prepare for severe weather long before it hits, such as having flood insurance and knowing if you live in a coastal evacuation zone,” said Mike Sprayberry, executive director of the state Emergency Management and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
The 20 North Carolina coastal counties have established predetermined evacuation zones, based on the threats of storm surge and river flooding. Residents can find out if they live in one of these zones by visiting KnowYourZone.nc.gov.
Residents should learn their zone and watch or listen for it if evacuations are ordered before or after a storm.
“I also encourage everyone to lookout for one another, especially for those who may be more vulnerable such as the elderly,” said Sprayberry. “It is easier get through a disaster by helping your friends and neighbors and working together.”
An emergency plan should include details on a meeting place and family phone numbers. Officials recommend writing down the emergency plan and gathering important documents, such as copy of driver’s license, insurance policies, medical records and prescriptions, and make sure they’re quickly accessible in case of emergency.
Officials also encourage residents to review and update homeowners or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they are current and include adequate coverage for your current situation.
Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes enough nonperishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include the following:
- 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, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
- Face masks and hand-sanitizer
Residents should pay attention to weather and evacuation information on local media stations and have a battery-powered radio in case there is a power outage. If asked to evacuate, residents should follow evacuation instructions.
To help mitigate damage from severe weather, residents can trim trees, cover windows and secure loose outdoor items before severe weather strikes.