The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through November 30, highlighting the importance of making preparations and replenishing emergency supply kits now.
“Don’t let obstacles prevent you from getting ready,” Dare County Department of Health & Human Services Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Greta Sharp recommends. “Even a little bit of preparation can help if a hurricane strikes.”
Sharp encourages residents to have an evacuation plan in place and be aware of their risk by knowing what flood zone their property is in, as well as how to reduce the risk of flood damages. To determine your flood zone, click here.
Too often, residents in the path of a storm focus on the wind strength or category of the storm rather than the storm surge and flooding potential. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), water is the primary culprit of fatalities during and after a hurricane, with storm surge being the deadliest threat.
NOAA estimates that nearly 90 percent of deaths during U.S. tropical cyclones are attributed to water, with 50 percent of those fatalities directly related to storm surge. This reality underscores the importance of heeding the evacuation orders as the storm is approaching.
And as Erik Heden, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City cautions, “We [Dare/Hyde/Carteret counties] are the most vulnerable coastline in the U.S.”
With hurricane season underway, another important consideration is the potential lack of resources such as water, electricity and food that may occur during and following a storm event. “People often don’t consider that resources, and even the ability to go to the store for basic needs, may not be available,” Sharp said.
Taking some simple steps this summer, however, can ensure that you are prepared.
One of those steps is to build an emergency supply kit. Residents should be sure to include essential items such as water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable and canned food for themselves and their pets for three to seven days; a battery-powered or hand crank radio; a first aid kit; cash and change; a flashlight and extra batteries; and prescription glasses and medications. For a comprehensive list of items recommended for a supply kit, click here.
If you already have an emergency supply kit, take the time to refresh and replenish it in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.
“It’s never too late to get ready,” concludes Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson. “Now is the time to ensure your plan is up to date and you know where you will go should a mandatory evacuation be ordered.”
Pearson encourages everyone who lives, works or visits Dare County to join OBXAlerts at OBXAlerts.com so they have access to official information from local officials. For more information on hurricane preparedness, go to Dare County’s Emergency Management’s webpageor visit readync.gov.
If you have a social media page, please consider sharing our monthly graphics throughout the summer that highlight hurricane preparedness tips. You can download the graphics here.