With Hurricane Florence threatening to impact Eastern North Carolina, here are some tips that may help before, during and after the storm.
BEFORE THE STORM
Assemble supplies — Non-perishable food and water, medicine, batteries, portable radio, flashlight/lanterns. Charge up cell phones, have cash on hand, fuel up vehicles. For those with gas grills, check to see if there is adequate gas supply for cooking.
Have a plan — Make notes as you think of things, as you may not remember them later. Access planning websites such as ready.gov or fema.gov for more checklists and information.
Stay or go — Determine if there is a need for evacuation. Those in flood-prone areas or mobile homes should consider evacuation. Follow evacuation orders if in an evacuation zone. If leaving, plan at least two routes of departure. Let others know your plans.
Insurance checkup — Check with your insurance company and keep important documents with you in a protected box. Take pictures or video of valuables for insurance purposes.
Be a friend — Check on neighbors and assist elderly as needed.
Clean up — Anything loose can become a projectile that can cause damage in a hurricane. Secure outdoor furniture, trampolines and trash cans. Take down bird feeders. Bring in potted outdoor plants.
Other helpful hints — Set freezer and refrigerator temperatures to lowest level. Wash clothes and linens and run dishwasher right before storm is expected to hit. Look for community watch groups or neighborhood social media sites to stay informed. Clean gutters, and if near a storm drain, clear the drain of debris to allow for better flow of storm water.
DURING THE STORM
Stay safe — Determine the safest location in your home, most often an interior room away from windows or hallway on the lowest level
Stay updated — Listen to emergency information on portable radio/TV and heed any advice
Stay inside — Don't "joy ride" or "sight see."
Have an escape plan — Have an escape plan ready in case home starts to flood. Avoid going into an enclosed attic, as you could become trapped.
AFTER THE STORM
Stay updated — Listen to emergency information on portable radio and heed any advice
Avoid power lines — Don't touch any downed power lines or electrical equipment. Turn off electricity at main breaker or fuse box if power is out.
Avoid flood water — Don't wade through flood water if at all possible. Water could include toxic chemicals, dangerous debris and dangerous animals including snakes and floating fire ant mounds.
Generator — If using a portable generator, follow all manufacturer instructions and operate outdoors. Don't operate gas or charcoal grills indoors.
Clean up — Be safe during cleanup process. Wear protective clothing. Use proper tools and safety measures when operating chain saws or other equipment.
Insurance — Document any storm damage with photographs or video and contact insurance company for help.
Make contact — If possible, contact family or friends and give them a status update