It’s mid-September and hurricane season is upon us once again, friends. After seeing the terrible effects hurricane Florence had on the coast of the Carolinas, hopefully, anyone new to the south Atlantic area and those who haven’t bothered to storm prep in past years will feel the need to be prepared. Here are the most important things to remember this season.

Evacuating

If there is a recommendation to evacuate in your area, please, please listen and evacuate. North Carolina implemented a ‘first-of-its-kind’ mandatory evacuation order for all barrier islands, according to the governor. Normally counties can decide whether to issue evacuation orders. Despite the mandatory order, many people stayed behind, putting their lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of first responders at risk. Plan ahead of time exactly where you would go and what you would pack in the event of an evacuation order, and it will seem less daunting.

Protecting Your Home

Every summer, you should have an inspection done on your roof and any basement or crawl spaces you may have to prevent flood damage. You may think everything is sturdy, only to find out when a storm hits that there was a leaky basement wall or battered roof tiles. Asphalt roof shingles, for example, are supposed to last around 20 to 50 years depending on their environment. That doesn’t mean that they can go without inspections for 20 to 50 years. Keep your home in top-notch condition to minimize storm and rain damages.

Also, stock up on boards and other supplies BEFORE any storms come your way. Remember how everyone was waiting in line for rationed plywood in North Carolina just before Florence made landfall? If you can, have these kinds of materials way ahead of time so you can batten down the hatches right away.

Essential Survival Supplies

Whether evacuating or sticking out a storm, there are a bunch of needs like food and emergency supplies that you should already have safely stored away. Check out this detailed list of supplies from the Palm Beach Post.

Don’t Forget Pets

Need I say more? Don’t forget about your pets. Get extra food and supplies for them, just as you would for your family. Plan to evacuate with them. They don’t deserve to be left behind.

Encourage Family and Neighbors to Have a Plan

Lastly, collaborate with family and neighbors. If you need to plan a meeting place in the event you lose contact during a storm, plan it. If you think your elderly neighbor may need help when a storm comes around, talk with them about it. Looking out for each other not only strengthens your own preparedness, it saves lives.

It’s easy to laugh off the newest storm warnings. Florida sees some rain and wind all the time. But don’t totally discount the warnings. Nobody wants a repeat of awful storms like 2005’s Katrina. Be smart, and be safe!