The summer months have been filled with pop-up thunderstorms and strong winds, a prelude to the potentially damaging conditions of the coming hurricane season. While the Triangle area is far enough inland to reduce major threats, it can still offer comfort to prepare in advance for disasters, natural or otherwise. While hurricanes are often top of mind when talking about local hazards, others should also be considered in preparation for the worst.
One of the unpleasant possibilities for a homeowner is property damage from a storm, tornado, flood, or fire. While cosmetic items are often the focus of setting up a new home, creating a plan for catastrophe is just as important. Proactive planning can mean the difference between minor damage and major destruction. Preparation will also reduce the timeline for repair as it removes the frantic search for phone numbers or forms needed to submit claims or engage contractors.
What are residents of central North Carolina most at risk for? Though the area is fairly low risk when it comes to natural disasters, it is still important to be aware of the potential.
- Hurricanes that approach the state’s coast are often downgraded to tropical storms before reaching central North Carolina. While the winds of tropical storms can be aggressive, it is often flooding that causes the greatest issues.
- Tornadoes are not an impossibility, but when they do occur, they typically do not cause wide paths of destruction as is common in the Midwest.
- Many residents of our state are used to snow-free winters but, occasionally, Jack Frost serves sleet, freezing rain, and even ice-storms. As the area is not equipped to handle major winter weather damage, recovery time typically takes longer than expected.
- The dry days of summer are known to kick off droughts quickly, increasing the threat and spread of fires, including in residential areas.
It is recommended that homeowners secure their home’s structure with regularity. Add a calendar reminder at the start of each season to complete the following checks:
- Scan roofs for loose shingles that may become projectiles during storms.
- Examine windows and exterior doors for any gaps or cracks.
- Gutters should be free of debris to promote water flow.
- Walk the foundation and ensure water can properly drain away from the home.
- Anchor any fuel tanks, such as those attached to grills.
- Clear property of dry leaves, twigs, and branches to reduce the risk of both fire and projectiles.
- Install spark arresters on chimneys to prevent embers from floating into natural areas.
Should the worst happen, make sure you are ready. Upon purchasing a new home, many opt for lower insurance options as investments are redirected to getting the house up and running.
- Reach out to your provider for a clear understanding of coverage.
- Not all comprehensive policies are the same. What specifics are pertinent to your area?
- As with your structural check, plan to meet with your agent regularly to review coverage and make any necessary adjustments.
Prepare an emergency kit to store it in an easily accessible location. If you have multiple stories, put mini kits on each floor in addition to the primary kit.
- First Aid supplies should be the priority in an emergency kit. If able, include enough prescription medications to last a week.
- Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio in order to receive updates.
- Include flashlights, extra batteries, and at least one multi-tool.
- Add enough water and non-perishable food to sustain your household for at least three days.
- Copy important documents and store them within a sealed plastic bag. Make sure to include insurance details.
- Store at least one blanket, wrapped in a plastic bag.
In rare cases, it may be necessary to evacuate your area. Familiarize your family with local routes. Should evacuation loom as a possibility, place your emergency kit in the car along with a go-bag of essentials, such as personal hygiene items.
Perhaps the most important suggestion in preparedness is staying alert. In today’s world of advanced technology, it is not uncommon to miss critical updates as they happen. Install apps or alert systems to ensure proper knowledge is received promptly.
The potential of disaster is certainly something that every person would like to avoid but preparation does bring peace of mind. Tackle one task at a time, review regularly, and make sure all members of your household understand plans. The safety of your family and the integrity of your home depend on the proactive steps you take today.