Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina in the early morning and North Carolinian’s experienced this hurricane in a huge and devastating way. It was massive in size, and it lingered for days bringing catastrophic wind, heavy rains and flooding to a large area of the Carolina’s, disrupting the lives of millions.
Due to the storm’s intensity, thousands were evacuated from their homes in efforts to save lives. Some families were able to seek shelter and safety inland with extended family members or friends. Others were provided shelter and food by various organizations who came to the aid of those in need.
We all have the potential to experience Mother Nature’s whims, but despite our advances in building, infrastructure and technology we are not able to predict precisely the amount of devastation that can be unleashed during one of these catastrophe events.
We can, however, learn from disasters like Hurricane Florence and take the necessary steps to have a response readiness plan in place should another occurrence effect our area.
Things to do before a warning:
- Discuss with your family how you will prepare for disaster. Preparation can help everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen. Having a plan in place can help reduce fear and anxiety, making it easier to cope with these unfortunate events.
- Teach your children about the importance of community and how in a disaster helping those in need is a necessary act of kindness. Human service is contagious so help teach them to offer aid to those in need now before disaster strikes.
- Protect your property, install sewer backflow valves, turn off the gas, board up your windows, clean out drains and gutters, secure all loose items that is Review insurance policies and catalog belongings.
- Stay replenished with basic supplies; have extra water, batteries, flashlights, and non-perishable food such as cans of tuna, beans, vegetables, etc. on hand at all time if possible. Be sure and check expiration dates annually.
- If you require specialized medical care, make sure you have plenty of extra medication, batteries or charged battery packs for any medical devices on which you rely.
- Gather and Protect critical financial, medical, legal documents and records.
- Digitally scan your photos for safekeeping onto an external hard drive and keep them locked in a waterproof storage device (or upload to the cloud).
- Go to ready.gov/hurricanes for more detailed information.
Things to do when a warning has been issued:
- If you have been told to evacuate, you need to leave; your life means more than any amount of worldly goods. Items can be replaced; your life and the life of your loved ones are not replaceable. Learn your evacuation routes, have a place to stay and have a bag packed and ready to go.
- Get a hand crank or battery-operated radio and find a reliable way to get accurate information. “DO NOT” fall prey to the relentless nonsense spread on social media; it will only rack your nerves. Sign up for local alerts and warnings.
- If the local authorities are telling you to stay off the streets, it’s with good reason – stay home. You’re not only risking your life but the lives of those who are going to try and save you.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- I know this one will be hard but learn to entertain yourself without electricity. Tell stories, play board games, cards, draw a picture, write a poem, etc. Find something to keep you and your loved ones busy.
Having a plan in place before a storm hits can help you stay safe and ride out the storm. Keep in mind emotions after surviving a natural disaster should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you love is experiencing post traumatic symptoms, seek help from a health professional.