Better safe than sorry

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

With hurricane season at its peak in North Carolina, it is important to stay alert and prepared when dealing with Mother Nature.

According to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, August and September are the most impacted by tropical systems, with the first week of September historically having the most activity. As the first week of September approaches, only one storm is on the National Weather Service’s radar for the Atlantic Ocean, and as of right now, is not projected to make landfall in the United States.

However, hurricane season does not end until Nov. 30, allowing another three months or more of the unknown.

With something as unpredictable as nature, it is vital to prepare oneself and one’s family for the worst-case scenario. Here are a few tips for hurricane preparedness offered by FEMA’s website.

Before a hurricane, to begin preparing, one should build an emergency kit and create a family communications plan. It’s also important to know one’s surroundings: the elevation of one’s property and whether the land is flood-prone, allowing an idea of how property will be affected by storm surges and flooding; identify levees and dams in the area and determine if they pose a hazard; learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground; determine where there is a safe place to go and how to get there if evacuation is needed.

Also, in the event that a hurricane landfall is imminent, make plans to secure property; if necessary, covering all windows of homes with permanent storm shutter or 5/8-inches exterior grade or marine plywood. Be sure trees and shrubs around homes are well trimmed to make them more wind resistant. Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts. Reinforce garage doors because if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage. Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not securely tied down.

In the case of deciding to ride a storm out in one’s home, install a generator for emergencies. And in conditions where high winds are present, be prepared to take shelter on a lower floor and in a small interior room without windows because wind conditions increase with height. When flooding may occur, be prepared to take shelter on a floor safely above the flooding and wave effects.

When dealing with hurricanes and other storms, one can never be too prepared. It doesn’t take a lot of time to make sure one has a strategy plan when weathering a storm. It could be the difference in life or death or experiencing extensive damage versus little damage to homes and property. It is better to be safe than sorry.