How to prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane

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Tips for creating a hurricane plan, building a hurricane kit and getting your home ready

Although it’s still too soon to predict the path of Tropical Storm Isaias, it’s not too early for residents in Southeastern North Carolina to get prepared. Here are some tips for creating a hurricane plan, building a hurricane kit and getting your home ready.

Emergency plan essentials:

Phone numbers of a pre-assigned contact person for family members to call
List of where to find information on shelters
How to be safe if you stay in your home during an emergency
What to do with your pets
Thoughts about any older adults or those with functional needs in the home

Download a plan worksheet here:

Hurricane kit necessities:

Water. 1 gallon per person, per day, prepare for a minimum of three days.
Battery-operated television or radio
Extra batteries
Manual can opener
Local maps
Flashlights and waterproof matches
Cellphone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Toilet paper
Baby supplies
Cash (ATMs may not work after the storm)
Rain gear (including a hat)
Bleach or water purification tablets
Soap and detergent
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Charcoal/lighter fluid or portable camping stove
Disposable plates, glasses and utensils
Ice chest and ice
Valuable papers — insurance information, passports, Social Security cards, bank account and credit card numbers, wills, deeds, etc. — or copies, in a waterproof bag
Prescription and other necessary medicines
Blankets, tarp and masking tape
Dust mask to filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape
Three days’ worth of clothing, sleeping bags
First-aid kit, aspirin or pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, scissors, tweezers, bug spray
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Fire extinguisher — ABC type
Extra pair of eyeglasses
Extra house, car keys
Tools: Shut-off wrench, pliers
Needles, thread
Signal flare
Games,books for entertainment
Petcare: leashes, pet carriers, food
Sunscreen and sunglasses

Food for your hurricane kit:

Baby food, baby formula, powdered milk
Canned meats (Spam, chicken, ham)
Canned fish (tuna, sardines)
Canned meals: spaghetti, soup, stew, chili
Canned fruits and vegetables
Cereal, crackers and cookies
Instant coffee, tea bags, sodas, juice
Granola bars, nuts, trail mix
Peanut butter and jelly
Sugar, salt, pepper

Home preparations if the storm will hit:

Gather important paperwork, including copies of insurance policies, medical records, prescriptions, etc. Bring copies with you if you need to leave your home.
If severe storms are coming, protect your property by covering windows with storm shutters, siding or plywood. Move vehicles into garages, or park them near your home and away from trees.
Bring bulky or heavy objects such as lawn furniture, grills, garbage cans, tools, potted plants, etc. inside. Tie down anything you cannot bring indoors.
Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies are dirty. Clean these containers by first rinsing them with bleach.
Put sandbags or other protection in place, based on predicted flood depths. Keep sandbags away from the outside walls of your house to prevent floodwaters from reaching your house.
Move valuable papers, jewelry and other contents to upper floors or higher levels to keep them from flood water.
If time permits, turn off services at the main power switch and close the main gas valve. In case of flooding, do not touch any electrical equipment. Only touch it is in a dry area or you are standing on a dry piece of wood while wearing rubber-soled shoes or boots and rubber gloves.
If you’re caught in the house by suddenly rising waters, move to the second floor or the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight and portable radio with you. Call 911 and wait for help. Rescue teams will look for you.

Sources: Ready NC; American Red Cross; FEMA; N.C. Emergency Management