Raleigh, N.C. - Memorial Day weekend is North Carolina’s unofficial kickoff to summer, but it also marks the beginning of hurricane season. Governor Pat McCrory has declared May 24-30, 2015 as Hurricane Preparedness Week and is encouraging residents to update their emergency plans and supply kits. Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through November.
“It’s never too early to prepare for hurricanes and severe storms,” Governor McCrory said. “We have already had our first storm of the season when Tropical Storm Ana moved through in early May and last year Hurricane Arthur made landfall in our state July 3rd.”
McCrory said both storms served as timely reminders that it is important to prepare early. He urged families to discuss their emergency plans and assemble or update their supply kits. These simple steps can help you recover much quicker after a storm, he said.
Emergency kits should contain enough non-perishable food and a gallon of water per person per day to last three to seven days. Other essential items include:
- Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
- First-aid kit
- Weather radio and batteries
- Supply of prescription medicines
- Sleeping bag or blankets
- Changes of clothes
- Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
- Cash or checkbook
- Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records
Residents are also encouraged to review and update their homeowners' or renters' insurance policies now to make sure they include coverage for accidental damage, natural disasters and, if necessary, flood insurance.
People should stay informed during a storm by keeping a battery-powered radio for weather and evacuation information and should know evacuation routes in their community. They also need to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.
Residents can evacuate their homes with their small, domestic pets to specially designated pet-friendly shelters. Pet shelters will be equipped with pet crates, but people should bring feeding dishes, food and water, immunization papers and other pet supplies.
“While North Carolina is better prepared today than it was 15 or 25 years ago, we are not immune from any storm’s impacts,” said N.C. Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “It’s critical that people prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. During those first few days after disaster strikes you may be on your own until responders can reach you and water, power and other essential services can be restored.”
Perry said that hurricane veterans may mistakenly focus on the storm category and dismiss the threat for lower-level storms.
“The most dangerous threat from hurricanes is flooding and storm surge,” said Perry. “The storm doesn’t even have to be classified as a tropical system to cause serious damage.”
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on the ReadyNC mobile app and online at www.ReadyNC.org.