Preparing for a Safe Hurricane Season

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Are you prepared for hurricane season? We have already experienced some storms that caused flash flooding in some areas, and the first-named hurricane has made landfall in the Gulf. Hurricane season started June 1 and will last until November 30. Our county has dealt with several devastating hurricanes that have left our community wondering what more could we have done to prepare. I found myself asking the same question after Hurricane Matthew; would a better plan have made a difference in its impact on me and my family? That’s when I turned to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension website looking for answers on how to properly prepare for any national disaster.

First, you need to have a plan. Planning is one of the keys to making sure you and your family are safe. Sit down with your family and go over evacuation plans and other plans everyone needs to know. It’s also a good idea to share plans with other family members outside the home, so in case of evacuation, everyone can be located safely. Another great tip is to make a family binder. Include important information such as insurance information, important documentation, and copies of any other forms you think you may need.

Next, write out a list of things you and your family will need. Start with the basics – water, food, and supplies. You would need to calculate enough to last for at least several days. Make sure you have at least one gallon of water per person per day. You can also fill up buckets and other containers with extra water to help with cleaning. I used a bucket along with disinfected wipes to keep my food prep area clean during the storm. Remember to still practice kitchen safety even if the power goes out; germs can still spread and cause food and other items to become contaminated.

Make sure to pack enough supplies to ride out the storm. The one thing I learned is you can never have enough flashlights and batteries. If you have enough time before the storm, check your flashlights and refresh any batteries that are weak. Ensure your family has several changes of clean clothes to last after the storm. Personal hygiene products and baby wipes are great for helping keep yourself clean in case your water is shut off.

Lastly, did you know you can still eat healthy, even through a hurricane? Look for fruits that can be stored without refrigeration such as apples, bananas, oranges, and some grapes. If you choose not to do fresh fruits, consider canned fruit. Look for light syrup, sugar-free, or packed in its own juice,  as well as canned vegetables and soups that are low in sodium. Don’t forget a manual can opener. Go for less sugary snacks, and look for whole-grain snacks.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, contact Joanna Rogers, Extension Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant, at 910-671-3276, by email at Joanna_Rogers@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

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