There is no place quite like this place we call home, is there?
Southeastern North Carolina has so many perks - mild winters, lots of nearby beaches and waterways, and what I believe are the friendliest folks around, just to name a few. But with so many pluses, there is bound to be a negative or two.
For most of us, hurricanes top that list.
The threat of an approaching storm likely causes dread for all of us - from the new resident who hasn't yet hunkered down for a hurricane all the way to the longtime, seasoned native.
At the end of each hurricane season, which runs through November, we often are relieved for having only had a few minor storms. Or if we have had a bad one, we are grateful as we remember that it could have been much, much worse.
While it’s always good to count your blessings, it's also important at the start of each hurricane season (June 1), that you also remember to count your emergency supplies, check generators, chart out evacuation plans.... In short, it's best to be prepared long before a hurricane is heading our way.
None of us want any kind of major storm to hit, of course, but in this part of the country, hurricanes simply are a reality. We have to be ready for the worst, just in case, and this special edition of the Town newsletter is dedicated to doing just that. Much of the information you'll find below is also on the Emergency Management section of our website, which includes some additional resources and tips for hurricanes and other disasters.
Remember - a little extra planning goes a long way toward ensuring you, your family, and this coastal community we love so much remains safe… no matter what comes our way.
--- Mayor Brenda Bozeman
Prepare Your Emergency Supply Kit
Don't wait to stock up! Since many of the things you'll need during and after a storm are everyday household items, they can easily be picked up all at once or one-by-one during your weekly or bi-weekly trips to the grocery store. The goal is to store enough supplies for at least 3 days and up to 7 days, if possible.
Emergency supplies should include:
Easy-to-carry, water-tight container(s) to store all items
Make sure your family has a plan in place in case an emergency situation arises during a hurricane or other natural disaster. Sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
Many interstates and major highways to and from coastal North Carolina can accommodate heavy traffic volumes and have higher speed limits to allow motorists to leave threatened areas more quickly and efficiently than using local roads.
Know your evacuation destination and be aware of available shelters. Notify family and friends of your plans
If there is time to do so safely, turn off gas, electricity, and water
Unplug appliances before leaving
Take your emergency supply kit with you. Bring extra cash, medications, and important documents when you evacuate.
Remember, specialty items (infant formula, diapers, specific dietary foods, durable medical equipment, and some medical supplies) may not be available at emergency shelters
Not all shelters are pet-friendly, so double-check before bringing your animals
Keep your cell phone charged and calls brief to minimize network congestion
After the storm, be patient and listen to local offcials for instructions on returning home. Re-entry into communities may be initially limited to frst responders and residents
Frequently Asked Questions: Evacuations
Why should I take designated evacuation routes instead of back roads?
Emergency responders cannot be everywhere at once. Law enforcement officers, the NCDOT State Farm® Safety Patrol, and other personnel are typically positioned along the major evacuation routes to help motorists. Straying from these routes increases the risk of getting stranded or lost.
I'm worried about getting stuck in traffic. What essential items should I pack before leaving?
If possible, leave with a full tank of gas and have plenty of water and non-perishable foods on hand, since grocery stores and restaurants might not be open. For more information, visit ReadyNC.org, a comprehensive resource for emergency preparedness, weather conditions, evacuations, and other emergency management information.
What if I run out of gas while on the road?
If you run out of gas or experience trouble with your vehicle during an evacuation, move it safely to the shoulder of the road to reduce unnecessary congestion. During a major evacuation, NCDOT's goal is to have the NCDOT State Farm® Safety Patrol available to help keep lanes clear and traffic moving.
There is some water flowing down my street. Should I try to drive through it?
No. Wait for the water to recede before you drive. Even if it appears to be shallow, moving water is powerful enough to push a car off the road and strand its passengers within minutes. You also cannot be sure exactly how deep the water is or what is lying beneath its surface. It could be concealing a large sinkhole or piece of debris, both of which could cause serious injuries and damage to vehicles.
Protect Against Flood Damage
Flood losses are not normally covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance policies. You can get separate flood insurance in most areas through insurance agents. Policies are available whether the building is in or out of a known flood-prone area.
There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance can begin.
Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and decide if you need more coverage
Don't Forget About Your Pets!
You should include your pets in your family emergency plan and have an emergency kit for them, too. If you need to evacuate, bring your pets with you. Securely leash your dogs and carry cats in pet carriers. Do not let pets run free during an emergency, as major storms and other disasters may cause pets to panic, hide, try to escape, or even bite and scratch.
Pet emergency supplies:
Enough water & canned/dry food for 3-7 days (get pop top cans or have a can opener)
Muzzle, collar, and leash
Proper ID, including immunization records (in addition to your pet's ID tag, which should contain his name, telephone number, and any urgent medical needs)
Current photos of your pets in case they become lost
Medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit
A 2-week supply of any medicine your pet requires
Beds and toys (if easily transportable)
Disposable litter trays (aluminum pans) for cats
Litter or paper towels
A pet traveling bag or sturdy carrier, ideally for each pet
Blanket (for fearful pets)
Check, Then Double-Check
As a final step in disaster preparedness before a storm, run down the list of to-do items to make sure you haven't overlooked anything. A little extra time now will save you lots of stress and worry during a hurricane or other disaster.
Stocked your emergency kit?
Developed an evacuation plan?
Gassed up all your vehicles?
Secured loose items on your lawn, porches, and patio?
Stocked up on canned food, first-aid supplies, drinking water, and medication?
Stored valuables and papers in waterproof containers?
Secured your boat?
Informed loved ones as to where you will be during the storm?
Ensured your weather radio is in working condition?
If you choose to remain at home, make sure you have enough supplies to be self-sufficient for several days. Stay tuned to local media for emergency information and remain alert of changing weather conditions.
If the eye of the storm passes over your area, be aware that severe conditions will quickly return.
Never run a generator inside your home or garage. Carbon monoxide fumes can build up and become deadly. Plug appliances directly into the generator. If you smell gas, leave your home immediately and call your utility provider.
During an outage, do not open refrigerators or freezers unless absolutely necessary. Cold air can escape, allowing food to thaw more quickly.
Drinking Water Safety
Following a storm, drinking water can become contaminated and may cause illness. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the public water supply.
If you are on well water and extensive ﬂooding has occurred near your home, do not drink the water and do not turn on the electricity to your pump until ﬂood waters recede. Use bottled water until your well has been disinfected and your water has been tested.
Dispose of Storm Debris Properly
The Town’s standing contract for the provision of curbside pickup of debris is based on a significant storm (typically Category 3 or higher) that produces substantial and widespread damage throughout all areas of Town.
The Town will notify residents on our website and through social media channels if curbside pickup will be initiated following a storm.
Yard waste should not be placed in your household trash or recycling bins.
The following options are available:
Brunswick County Landfill, 172 Landfill Road in Bolivia, (910) 253-2520. Hours of operation: 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM, M-F, 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM, Saturdays
Brunswick County Landfill Convenience Center, 9921 Chappell Loop Road in Leland. Hours of operation: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Visit the county website for associated fees and more information
Home Crisis Cleanup Hotline, 844-965-1386 (toll-free). The hotline assists people in finding free help for storm impacts, including: removal of vegetative debris; roof-tarping; chainsaw work; drywall, flooring, or appliance removal; and mold mitigation
Limit open burning and never burn trash, lumber, tires, plastics, and other man-made materials.