Preparing for a storm

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WCNC.com

Posted on May 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Know What Hurricane WATCH and WARNING Mean

  • WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
  • WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.
     

Know What to Do When a Hurricane WATCH Is Issued

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
  • Fill your car's gas tank.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.


 
Know What to Do When a Hurricane WARNING Is Issued

  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.


 
Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan

  • Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places--a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Keep the telephone numbers of these places handy as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Determine how will you care for your pets.
  • Notify other family members where you will be.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.


 
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items:

  • Water - 1 gallon per person per day (a week=s supply of water is preferable)
  • Water purification kit or bleach
  • First aid kit and first aid book
  • Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant, soup & cereals, etc.
  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
  • Blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Essential medications
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Fire extinguisher - ABC-type
  • Food, water, leash and carrier for pets
  • Cash and change
  • Sanitation Supplies
  • Large plastic trash bags for waste, tarps and rain ponchos
  • Large trash cans
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Household bleach
  • Rubber gloves


 
Prepare Inside Your Home

  • Establish a "Safe Room." this should be an interior room within your house, free of windows, or a room with very small windows, like a bathroom. Make sure that your safe room has a clear pathway to an exit.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings.
  • Newspaper can help keep refrigerated items cold by providing additional insulation.
  • Freeze water in plastic jugs and use them to fill empty spaces in your refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cool.
  • Turn off your gas appliances at their individual inside valves.
  • Store valuables and personal papers in water-tight containers and store them in the highest possible spot in your home.

Prepare Outside Your Home

  • Latch your shutters or install pre-cut plywood over all windows and glass doors. Close all windows.
  • Do NOT drain your pool. Add extra chlorine to prevent contamination. Turn off electricity to pool equipment.
  • Bring all objects inside that can be blow away, including garbage cans, TV antennas, satellite dishes, lawn furniture, garden tools and plants.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
  • Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • If you don't have a garage or carport, park your car as close to the hose as possible away from trees.
  • Fill your car's gas tank early. After a hurricane strikes, gasoline may not be available due to power outages.


Planning for Your Pets

  • Except for seeing-eye dogs, pets are not allowed in evacuation centers.
  • Check with your vet or kennel in advance for pet accommodations in case of a hurricane. Do not leave your pet home during a hurricane. A secure room and a few days supply of food and water does not mean your pet will be safe.
  • Check with family or friends who live in a secure area and ask if your pet would be welcome in their home during a hurricane.
  • Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date and that the pet is tagged with your current address and phone numbers. You should have current photos of your pets.
  • If you plan to stay in your home, keep enough pet food, water (one half-gallon per pet per day) and medications to last at least two weeks.
  • Once the storm has passed, take precaution when allowing your pet outside. Downed power lines, contaminated food or water, and unfamiliar scents may pose dangers.

Planning for Your Boat

  • You can store a small boat with a trailer in a warehouse or your garage.
  • If you leave your boat outside, attach the trailer tongue to a firm spot in the ground, deflate the tires, and lash the boat to the trailer. Place boards between the axle and frame to prevent damage to the trailer springs.
  • If your boat is in a marina, read your contract carefully and check with the dockmaster for any new requirements.
  • Your insurance policy should include adequate coverage for damage that your boat may cause to other property.
  • Inventory all vessel equipment and keep a copy with your Hurricane Kit.
  • Identify safe harbors. Take a test run to a safe harbor now, checking route conditions and travel time. Keep in mind that district canals are not to be used during a hurricane.
  • Drawbridges do not operate during evacuations.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, plan to "ride out" the storm on your boat.


 
Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over

  • Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
  • If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Inspect your home for damage.
  • Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.


 
Insurance and Contractor Tips for Rebuilding

  • Adjusters are required to properly identify themselves and, if requested, show you the license issued by the NC Department of Insurance.
  • If you feel the settlement offered by your insurer is not fair or complete, contact the company to provide additional information to support your claim.
  • You are not required to use the contractor the insurance company recommends.
  • You should use reliable, licensed contractors.
  • Get a written estimate and read the fine print. Deal with a local contractor if possible.
  • You should ask for references.
  • Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance and workers’ compensation.
  • Obtain a complete contract that states the tasks to be performed and all associated costs including, if applicable, costs for permits or licenses.
  • Ask for a written guarantee stating who is responsible for equipment and materials.
  • Avoid on-the-spot cash payments. The safest route is to write a check made out to the contracting company.
  • If you need to cancel a contract, cancellation should be done within three business days of signing. Be sure to follow the agreements stated in the cancellation clauses and send the notification by registered mail.
  • If excavation work is being performed, make sure a qualified inspector approves the work before it is hidden from view.
  • If you want to confirm that a public adjuster is licensed or have questions about the adjuster’s actions, you can call the Agent Services Division of the NC Department of Insurance at 919-733-4787.
  • If you have problems with a contractor or have been the victim of fraud, you are urged to contact your local Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at 919-716-6000.
  • You can call 1-800-546-5664, the Consumer Services Division of the NC Department of Insurance, with questions or concerns about your insurance coverage.

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