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Hurricane Florence: Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago, Hurricane Florence tore through North and South Carolina, causing extensive damage and setting new state rainfall records in both states. Florence dropped a maximum total of 35.93 inches of rain, becoming the wettest tropical cyclone recorded in the Carolinas.

As we watched people getting ready, the fury of the wind and rain, and the immediate aftermath, we’ve analyzed what’s happened and what we can learn from this storm to be better equipped to manage future catastrophes.

Be as Prepared as Possible

If you know your area is at risk, you need to always be ready. There are a few things you can do before hurricane season starts (from June 1 to November 30), to avoid last-minute preparations.

  • Gather non-perishable essentials such as food, tools, supplies, first aid kits and plenty of batteries and flashlights. Keep in mind each family member’s specific needs, including your pets.
  • If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain. Be familiar with evacuation routes and the location of the nearest shelter.
  • Make sure your home meets building codes and protect it with plywood board or storm shutters. Secure outside objects.
  • Move everything from and leave low-lying areas.

Evacuate Without Hesitation

If you are told to evacuate, do it immediately. In some instances, you may have a few days to prepare, while in other situations, you might be urged for immediate evacuation. You need to be ready beforehand.

Bear in mind that police, fire, and ambulance forces cannot respond to any emergencies, including car accidents, when the wind rises above a certain threshold. Also, floodwaters may rise after the storm, blocking you from getting the help you may need.

Plan Your Communicate

Plan how to communicate with family members and friends if you lose power. You need to preserve your resources as much as possible during this difficult time, including battery life.

It’s a good idea to reserve phone calls for emergencies. Use text, email and/or social media as your main communication channels, as they are more reliable and faster.

You can also designate an out-of-town contact for everyone to call to let them know you’re safe. You can also establish an “on air” time where each family member can turn on their phones to share status updates.

Protect Your Property

Just an inch of water can cause up to $25,000 of damage to your property. Whether you live in a high-risk flood zone or not, it is essential to have your home protected. 20% of all flood claims are filed in low to moderate flood risk areas.

Without flood insurance, most homeowners have to pay out of pocket or apply for loans to repair and replace damaged items. If you have a flood insurance, you will be able to recover faster and more thoroughly.

One of the best ways to be prepared for the possibility of a flood if by knowing your flood insurance options and obtain adequate coverage.

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