Lenoir County administrators give tips on hurricane safety, home insurance
Members of North Lenoir Fire Rescue lead a woman and her dog to safety after being trapped by Hurricane Matthew's flood waters. Submitted photos courtesy of North Lenoir Fire Rescue.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Hurricane Beryl became a Category 1 storm Friday with a chance to reach the Lesser Antilles as early as Sunday, becoming the first hurricane in the 2018 Atlantic season. Atlantic hurricane season occurs between June 1 and Nov. 30, the time of year forecast to be the height of tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin.
Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail said it’s important for citizens to be prepared in case the area is struck by another strong storm.
“Preparation is the first thing we tell people,” Dail said. “We want families to make sure they have enough food, bottled water and prescription medicine. Also, they should have a little cash on them in case the teller machines don’t work due to outages. We’re so used to the (digital) era that there could be problems if nothing’s working.”
Dail said proper insurance is also necessary.
“Just because you have homeowner’s insurance doesn’t mean flooding is covered.”
Roger Dail, Director
Lenoir County Emergency Services
“Just because you have homeowner’s insurance doesn’t mean flooding is covered,” Dail said. “You must have a separate flooding policy — we ran into that during Hurricane Floyd, Fran and Matthew where people thought their insurance would cover damages and it didn’t happen.”
Here are some tips for safety during Hurricane Season:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan
- Learn the elevation level of property and whether the land is flood-prone
- Identify levees and dams in the area, determining whether they pose a hazard
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground
- Cover all of the home’s windows
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten the roof to a frame structure
- Be sure trees and shrubs around the home are well-trimmed so they’re more wind resistant
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts
- Reinforce garage doors — if wind enters a garage, it can cause dangerous structural damage
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else not tied down
Kinston Fire Chief Don Crawford emphasized the importance of heeding safety warnings.
“What we recommend (is) having a first aid kit ready,” Crawford said. “Make sure you have flashlights, bottled water and nonperishable foods in case the power goes out. We want everyone to remain inside — we may not have a lot of wind damage, but flash flooding is what will take most lives. We advise citizens to remain vigilant with the news, have their kit ready and stay off the roads during and slightly after the storm.
"If they need to evacuate, watch for the notices and get out safely.”
Hugo Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Craft said having a source of alternative power is necessary in case of an outage.
“You can get a generator at any hardware store like Lowes or Big Blue,” Craft said. “Make sure your flashlights are up to par and have (plenty of) bottled water. Also, if you live in a low lying area (which can flood easier), prepare yourself.”
Brian Wade, chief of the North Lenoir Volunteer Fire Department, said some safety issues aren’t broadcast as prominently in the mainstream but are very important.
“Generator safety has caused a few issues,” Wade said. “Make sure (the generator) is operating in a safe position so the exhaust fumes don’t affect you and that it’s wired correctly. Also, we have issues with people going out on the roads during and shortly after (storms) before we've been able to check (for hazards) first.
"There's always the potential for downed power lines, so we just advise everyone to stay inside.”