Residents urged to update emergency kits and plans, especially considering COVID-19
Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed May 3-9 Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina and reminded residents that now is the time to prepare for the 2020 hurricane season.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
“North Carolina knows all too well the damage and disruption that hurricanes can bring, but being prepared can help people fare better and recover quicker,” Cooper said. “Especially with COVID-19 affecting everyone’s daily lives, now is the time to make sure you and your family are ready this hurricane season.”
The governor urges families to use this week to discuss their emergency plans, update their emergency supplies, and review their homeowners and renter’s insurance policies. This year, it’s also important to consider how the COVID-19 virus might alter your typical preparedness for hurricane season.
When considering your evacuation planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, a plan to stay at a hotel, or with friends or family who live farther inland are better options than relying on a large emergency shelter. Be sure to include items in your preparedness kit like hand sanitizer, face masks, copies of your health insurance cards and documents and your medications.
If you do evacuate, be sure to check in with family members, or an emergency contact, to let them know where you are.
“North Carolina is getting ready for hurricane season even in the midst of a pandemic,” said N.C. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “We have responded to simultaneous disasters in the past and will work with our local partners to do so again if needed.”
The most dangerous threats from hurricanes and tropical storms are flooding and storm surge.
During this hurricane season, North Carolina is introducing Know Your Zone, a tiered evacuation system that highlights areas most vulnerable to storm surge from hurricanes and tropical storms, and other hazards. If it becomes necessary, local officials will order evacuations using pre-determined zones created by coastal counties. The Know Your Zone lookup tool is a new color-coded interactive map you can use to determine the evacuation zone where you live, work, or are visiting based upon street address.
Having flood insurance is one of the best ways to prepare for flooding.
“Homeowners with flood insurance experience faster recoveries,” said Director Sprayberry. “Flood insurance is key to recovering quicker and with more resilience.”
“Preparing for an emergency is an easy and simple way to help protect you and your loved ones when a disaster strikes,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “By having an emergency supply kit with enough non-perishable food and water to last each person three to seven days, you’ll be ready for aftermath of a storm when you may be without power, water or other essential services.”
Essential items for your emergency kit include:
♦ Food/water for every member of your family for several days
♦ Copies of insurance cards/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
♦ Hand sanitizer
♦ Face masks
During storms, people should stay tuned into a trusted local news source and keep a battery-powered radio nearby for weather and evacuation information. They also need to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on the ReadyNC website at www.ReadyNC.org.