Though Hurricane Irene may not hit Charlotte directly, it’s still important to be prepared for any spur-of-the-moment changes in weather. There has been an impressive amount of tornado activity this year so take a look at these quick tips from the National Hurricane Center.
Before the storm:
- Assemble a disaster supply kit: This includes water, canned food, changes of clothes, blankets, pillows, a first aid kit, towels, flashlight with extra batteries, a battery powered radio, cash and always make sure to top off your vehicle with gas in case of an evacuation. Don’t forget, if you have pets to allow water, food and shelter for them as well.
- Rehearse your family disaster plan: Go over what exactly could happen to the house (flooding, destruction, storms) and have your family aware of the possibilities. Find a safe room away from windows, doors and glass. Ask your neighbors about their plans, they may have a safe place for you to stay. Also make sure to have an out-of-state backup plan should you need to evacuate. Rehearse what to do with pets should the need arise. If more than one animal, discuss who’s in charge of each.
In case of an evacuation:
- Do not hesitate! If an evacuation is issued, make sure you have your disaster supply kit with you when you leave. There will be traffic so don’t try to zip through congestion. Everyone else is trying to get where you’re going, too! Accidents don’t make for a quick evacuation.
- Decide on a destination beforehand. Pick a family member to stay with, a hotel to stay in or a final destination far enough from the evacuation zone that’s safe. If you can’t find either of those, you can always go to a shelter. Note: Shelter’s don’t usually accept pets.
- Make sure to fill your car with gas. Everyone will be trying to get their last minute gas and if you don’t have to wait in those lines, you can make your way out in a speedier fashion.
If you don’t evacuate:
- Secure your home! The NHC has a great list of ways to secure your homes shutters, roof, doors and garage doors. Check that out here.
Most importantly, stay calm. Everyone will be scared but you could alleviate the fear by following the above steps and making sure your family is entirely prepared.