The contents of this post was originally shared by Paul Lockwood, Safety Officer for the North Carolina Department of Commerce on September 10, 2018.
It is now clear that North Carolina will be impacted by Hurricane Florence. The latest information from NC Emergency Management shows that rain – and likely high winds – will cover most of the State with some areas experiencing very high levels of rain (see maps below.) See some helpful suggestions below to make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency situation.
Food and Water
[download the food and water checklist]
(NOTE: Some of the more current recommendations now are advising to maintain a minimum of 5 days of food and water for each person)
- Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
- Store one gallon of water per person per day.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno (but be sure to keep it away from combustible materials). Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Canned juices
- Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort/stress foods
First Aid and Non-Prescription Drugs
[download the first aid and non-prescription drug checklist]
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
- (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
- (1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing.
- (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
- (2) triangular bandages.
- (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
- (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
- (1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage.
- (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- (6) antiseptic wipes.
- (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
- Adhesive tape, 2″ width.
- Anti-bacterial ointment.
- Cold pack.
- Scissors (small, personal).
- CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
[download the tools and supplies checklist]
- Be sure you cell phone(s) are fully charged
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cash or traveler’s checks, change
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
- Heavy Duty Tape
- Paper, pencil
- Needles, thread
- Medicine dropper
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Plastic sheeting
- Fill up the gas tanks of your vehicles
- Toilet paper, towelettes
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Personal hygiene items
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Household chlorine bleach
[download the special items checklist: infants, adults, pets]
Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
- Powdered milk
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Extra eye glasses
- Board games and other games that don’t require batteries or electricity, books for adult readers and for children.
In the interest of protecting pets, the Humane Society of the United States offers these tips for inclusion in your family disaster plan:
- Do not leave your pets behind.
- Securely fasten a current identification tag to your pet’s collar and carry a photograph of your pet. It’s important to include the phone number of a friend or family member on the tag so anyone who may find your pet is able to reach someone who knows you.
- Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes or harnesses.
- Call hotels in a safe/host location and ask if you can bring your pets. Ask the manager if a no-pet policy can be lifted during the disaster. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets.
- Call friends, family members, veterinarians or boarding kennels in a safe/host location to arrange foster care if you and your pets cannot stay together.
- Pack a week’s supply of food, water and other provisions, such as medication or cat litter.
- Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate. Rescue officials may not allow you to take your pets if you need to be rescued.
- Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (veterinarian, local animal control, animal shelters, Red Cross, etc.).
Possessions and Documents
[download the possessions and documents checklist]
- Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
Source/Reference: American Red Cross
Proper Use of Sandbags
The use of sandbags is a simple, but effective way to prevent or reduce floodwater damage. Sandbags can act as a barrier to divert moving water around instead of through buildings. Sandbag construction does not, however, guarantee a watertight seal.
- Remove any debris from the area where bags are to be placed.
- If tied bags are used, flatten them and flare the tied end. If untied bags are used, fold the open end to form a triangle.
- To form a sandbag wall, place bags tightly against one another to form the first layer of defense.
- Place succeeding bags on the folded or flared portion of the previous bag and stamp into place to eliminate gaps and to form a tight seal.
- Stagger the second and subsequent layers of bags, similar to the pattern of bricks on a wall.
- Never use bags to build a fortress around your property because this approach can trap water between sandbag walls and structures, causing further damage.
Do not rely on sandbags alone to protect your property. Use baffle boards (plywood sheeting) or sheets of plastic tarp with sandbags.
Portable Generator Safety
Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors.
Most generator-related injuries and deaths involve CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces. That includes the basement or garage, spaces that can capture deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Always place the generator at least 15 feet from the house and away from doors and windows.
Don’t run a portable generator in the rain.
The exception is if you cover and vent it. You can buy model-specific tents online and generic covers at home centers and hardware stores.
Before refueling, turn off a gas-powered generator and let it cool.
Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can ignite. Allowing the engine to cool also reduces the risks of burns while refueling.
Stock up on extra gasoline and store it properly.
When you think you’ll need to use the generator for an extended time, you’ll want extra fuel on hand. Just be sure to store gas only in an ANSI-approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place. Adding stabilizer to the gas in the can will help it last longer, but don’t store gasoline near any potential sources of heat or fire, or inside the house.
Avoid electrical hazards.
If you don’t yet have a transfer switch, you can use the outlets on the generator if you follow certain precautions. It’s best to plug in appliances directly to the generator. If you must use an extension cord, it should be a heavy-duty one for outdoor use, rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. First check that the entire cord is free of cuts and that the plug has all three prongs, critical to protect against a shock if water has collected inside the equipment.