As recent news reports brace everyone for what they are predicting as a Category 4 hurricane hitting the coasts of North Carolina, it’s uncertain how much of it will make it to the Kernersville and Winston Salem areas. We’d like to take the opportunity to spread the word about some preparedness tips you can use to keep your home safe.

Build An Emergency Kit & Crucial Planning

When you’re 36 hours out from a dangerous weather event, leave a radio or TV on to stay connected to alerts and updates. This can help you determine whether you’ll need to evacuate, or need to secure certain supplies in order to stay.

Generally speaking, if you suspect power loss or that your city will experience shortages of food etc., disaster experts recommend saving a gallon of water per day, per person in your home, for every day you think you might be on your own. When in doubt, plan for at least 3 days.

Focus on water first, since we can go without that for the shortest amount of time and drinking dirty or contaminated water can make you very sick. If it’s a colder time of year, make sure you have access to blankets and warm clothing in case you’re without heating.

As far as planning goes, here are a few simple steps you can take that will make all the difference:

  • Plan your evacuation routes in case that becomes necessary. What vehicle will your family take, and has it been maintained? If your main evacuation route is blocked, do you have a plan B? Are there friends and family you can stay with?
  • Do you or family members require medications? Plan to have spares or ready access to them.
  • How will your family communicate if you lose power? Text messages are quicker and require less battery power than phone calls, and networks can become bogged down with phone calls and make getting through difficult. Outside of using cell phones, does your family have other methods of getting a hold of each other?
  • Make sure your phones and flashlights are charged before the storm begins, that way if you do lose power you’ll have access to those devices for as long as possible. No one wants to lose power at 27% battery.
  • If you’ll remain in your home during the storm, find places to sleep that are not right next to windows. When possible, use shutters to protect glass. Not only does it shatter easily, but strong winds can throw broken glass into the house which is very dangerous for those nearby.
  • Set your refrigerator/freezer to the coldest setting and open only when absolutely necessary. During power loss, this will keep your food cold for as long as possible.
  • If you’re using a generator, do so outdoors only and not near any windows.

Protecting Important Property

Usually we put important documents in a safe or lock box and call it a day. Safe enough, right? Most of the time that’s true, but when there’s flooding or other hazards the contents can still be ruined. Even if they aren’t, you may be unable to reach them before having to evacuate.

It can be very helpful to designate someone you trust to hold onto copies of important documents for you, someone that lives outside of areas likely to be hit by dangerous weather. That way, if you need insurance information, banking data, or other crucial documents afterward you have someplace you can retrieve them.

If you don’t want to send paper copies, experts recommend scanning the documents in and sending them on a flash drive to the designated person.