September 8, 2017

Be Prepared WNC: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma is expected to affect our area Monday into Tuesday. It’s expected to bring around five inches of rain, strong winds and more. Be prepared. Go to NCReady.org and get your NC Ready app to sign up for North Carolina Emergency Management alerts and get preparedness tips.

Basic Safety Tips for Flooding

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • Avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

Be Prepared for Flooding

  • Turn on your TV/radio. Make sure you have one battery-powered radio. You will receive the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. You may need to reach higher ground quickly and on foot.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash and first aid supplies.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and move important indoor items to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.
  • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve. This helps prevent fires and explosions.
  • Are you on well water? Click here to read safety tips for your well.

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane-Strength Winds

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high winds and in locations above flooding levels.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Charge your cellphone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
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