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Raleigh, N.C. —June was the official start of the hurricane season, but September is when tropical storms traditionally unleash their fury in North Carolina. As demonstrated by the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, hurricanes don’t just affect those that live on the water. So, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives, which serve 2.5 million statewide, offer the following storm preparedness tips as Hurricane Ophelia churns off the coast of NC:
- Develop an evacuation route plan. It should identify the safest routes and nearby shelters.
- Make sure your family disaster supply kit includes at least one battery operated radio, flashlights, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, a three-day water supply, non-electric can opener, medicines, cash and credit cards.
- Include pets in your planning. Pets aren’t always allowed into emergency shelters. Contact your local humane society to learn the animal shelters that accept pets during disasters.
- Train family members how to respond after a storm. Children should know how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or the fire department. They should know which radio station to listen to for emergency information.
- Know the proper way to protect your windows. Taping windows isn’t going to protect them. Plywood panels are the best, non-permanent solution. Prepare the boards and windows long before the storm.
- Develop an emergency communication plan in case family members become separated, a real possibility when adults are at work and children are in school. Have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as an emergency contact. After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Preparedness is the best tool during the hurricane season, which runs through November 30. For more extensive hurricane and tropical storm preparedness information, visit www.ncemcs.com. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.