Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell County Emergency Management officials encourage residents to plan and prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather by updating their emergency plans and supply kits. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

To encourage residents to prepare, the National Weather Service has declared May 5-11 as Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina.

Iredell County has been impacted by hurricanes and/or tropical storms almost every year over the past decade, which brought heavy rains, high winds, and the threat of tornadoes.

“Protecting your family during a disaster such as a hurricane or severe weather means having an emergency plan and kit, which will provide for you and your loved ones for up to a week,” said Kent Greene, director of Fire Services and Emergency Management. “Having a plan and being prepared improves your chances of surviving and recovering from the damage of severe weather.”

Creating an emergency plan is as easy as visiting ReadyNC.gov and downloading a plan template.

Once you’ve written your emergency plan down, be sure your family takes the time to practice so everyone knows where to go and who to contact when disaster strikes. If you have an emergency plan, now is also the time to make sure all the information is up to date and talk to your neighbors about their plans, especially those who may need assistance such as senior citizens.

Emergency Management also urges Iredell County families and businesses to gather important documents, including a copy of their driver’s license, insurance policies, medicals records, as well as bank account statements, and put them somewhere safe, such as a fireproof box or a safe deposit box, where they can quickly be accessed in case of an emergency. Make sure to review and update homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they include coverage for damage from natural disasters and be sure to have flood insurance.

When assembling an emergency supply kit be sure to 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
• Prescription medicines
• Sleeping bag or blankets
• Changes of clothes
• Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
• Cash
• Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
• Face masks and hand-sanitizer

Iredell County residents should stay informed during severe weather by using a battery-powered radio for weather and evacuation information and should know evacuation routes in their community. When asked to evacuate, residents should leave the area immediately.

Once your plan and kit are up to date, take the time to mitigate damage to your home or business by taking some commonsense measures such as trimming trees, covering windows, securing loose outdoor items and more.

“As part of your family emergency plan, include places you may be able to stay if you have to evacuate,” said Greene. “If you’re asked to evacuate due to potential danger, do so. You’ll not only be protecting yourself but also emergency responders who may have to risk their lives to save you if you don’t evacuate.”


More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness is online at www.ReadyNC.gov.