Preparing Your Home and Family for Potential Disasters

— Written By

Preparing for disaster is seldom top of mind, but as many North Carolinians have learned in recent years, it is never too soon to get ready. As Hurricane Dorian begins to travel up the Eastern Seaboard, preparation time has dwindled to just a few days. Watch the weather forecasts frequently and hope for the best, but begin planning with your family now.

Specialists at NC State Extension have assembled resources to help you prepare for and cope with potentially devastating weather events, from securing your home, to preparing to evacuate or sheltering in place – even protecting family pets during disaster. Brief summary lists follow, but visit the links for detailed information.

Early Preparation – Months or Weeks Out

  • List outdoor items such as furniture, vehicles and equipment. Plan where these items can be stored or how they can be secured.
  • Collect all necessary supplies to secure your home.
  • Prepare your emergency kits (evacuation kit and shelter in place kit) and communication plan.
  • Obtain flood insurance and make sure all homeowner or renter insurance policies are up-to-date and provide appropriate coverage.
  • Sign up for NC State Extension’s Disaster Communications Digest and download the ReadyNC app to your family smartphones.

Immediate Preparation – Days to One Week Out

  • Check your supplies. Ensure that you have seven days’ worth of food and water for each family member, including pets. Stored water should be replaced if it is more than six months old.
  • Refill prescriptions, fill gas tanks, obtain cash for emergencies and ensure working back-up power (generator, batteries, mobile chargers, etc.).
  • Review communication and evacuation plans with family both in the home and elsewhere.
  • Secure important financial and legal documents in waterproof containers.
  • Consult your lists for securing your home and execute your plans ahead of the storm.
  • Execute your evacuation plan, if necessary, consulting local law enforcement as needed to ensure the safety of planned evacuation routes.
  • Heed all local law enforcement warnings and frequently monitor weather conditions so that you make the best decisions for the safety of your family.