“North Carolinians understand well the dangers of hurricanes and tropical storms, and we know that the coast isn’t the only place that is vulnerable this time of year," Gov. Bev Perdue said. "Storms that track inland have brought devastation across the Tar Heel state, and that means I have one message for all of our residents— no matter where you live, you need to be prepared. We all need to be disaster-ready at all times.”
According to the National Weather Service, hurricanes strike North Carolina an average of once every three years. It has been six years since Hurricanes Frances and Ivan brought heavy rains and flooding to the mountains. Seven years ago, Hurricane Isabel caused extensive damage along the coast. The central part of the state was hit hard by Hurricane Floyd, which caused record flooding in 1999.
“Nearly one in five hurricanes or tropical storms affects our state in some way,” said Perdue. “Whether that impact comes from flooding, storm surge, destructive winds, tornadoes or landslides, we must be ready— as individuals, families, communities and as a state.”
Perdue urges all families, businesses and local governments to assemble emergency supply kits, and to make and rehearse plans for where to go and what to do in the event of a storm.
Families should have an emergency plan and emergency supply kits ready to go at all times. The kit should contain enough non-perishable food and a gallon of water per person per day to last three to seven days. The kit should also include the following essentials:
• Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
• First-aid kit
• Weather radio and batteries
• Supply of prescription medicines
• Change 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
Citizens also are encouraged to review and update their homeowners' insurance policies now to make sure they include coverage for accidental damage and natural disasters and, if necessary, flood insurance.
To ensure that the state is prepared to respond to a disaster hundreds of employees from dozens of state agencies, non-profit organizations and nearly 70 counties participated in a two-day simulation exercise in early May. Employees and volunteers within each agency rehearsed and role-played what they would do if a Category 4 storm struck the state. The exercise was held in the State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh and in each county’s EOC; nearly all the central and coastal parts of the state participated in the training event.
Secretary Reuben Young of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, said it is “vital that people prepare themselves and their families for emergencies so they can be safe on their own for the first several days after a storm.”
Law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical service crews need to direct resources and response efforts to life-threatening situations first, he said.
For more information on how to prepare for any type of emergency, visit www.ReadyNC.org. For more the latest forecast, watches and warnings in your area visit http://weather.gov.