How to prepare your family and property for severe weather
- Take objects indoors that might be affected by high winds.
- In a flood-prone area, elevate or move structures to higher ground.
- Lower water level in pool by 6 inches. Add extra chlorine. Turn off electricity to equipment.
- Keep sliding glass doors wedged shut.
- If you evacuate, take pets with you or leave them with a friend. Give large animals in barns plenty of food and water.
- Trim dead or weak branches. Do not leave them for curbside pickup during a storm.
- Keep roof drains clear.
- Take down outdoor antennas.
- Protect windows with custom-fit shutters or 5/8-inch plywood. Consult a building inspector.
- If you use a portable generator, know what loads it can handle, including start-up wattage. If you connect to a household circuit, you must have a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch installed between the generator and outside power, or the “backfeed” could seriously harm utility line workers.
- Store valuables and extra keys in a waterproof container at the highest point in your home.
- Record a video home inventory and back up the file somewhere safe.
- Charge mobile devices and save emergency numbers on phones. Post a paper copy, as well.
- Scan or photograph vital documents and keep the originals in a safe deposit box. Send a printed copy to someone out-of-state. Include birth and marriage certificates, tax records, credit card info, financial records, wills and trusts.
- Secure or store items that may cause harm, such as bookshelves, hanging pictures, gas appliances and chemicals.
- If someone relies on life support equipment, notify your electric cooperative.
- Check your supply of medicines.
- Fill bathtubs and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Show adult family members how your fire extinguishers work.
- Keep a battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries.
- Plan home escape routes. Find two ways out of each room.
- Make a plan to reunite if separated. Designate an out-of-state contact and make sure your family knows how to reach the person.
- Pick a “safe” room in the house, usually a first-floor interior hallway, room or closet without windows.
- Turn off electricity, water and gas only if you suspect a leak or damaged lines, or if you are instructed to do so by authorities.
- Fuel your vehicle. Get cash. ATMs may not work later.
- Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit (see sidebar) in each car.
- Moor boat securely, store it upside down, against a wall or move it to a safer place. Anchor a boat trailer.
Evacuating your home
- If you must evacuate, leave as quickly as possible.
- Unplug your appliances, but leave your refrigerator on and set to the coldest possible setting.
- Turn off the main water valve.
- Move furniture to a higher place, if possible.
- Take sleeping bags, blankets, warm protective clothing, emergency supplies, eating utensils and identification showing proof of residency.
- Tell somebody where you are going.
Your disaster supply kit
To be fully prepared, you'll need to gather two weeks of supplies together in advance. See our checklist of suggested items.
NCStormCenter.coop is an online resource from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives that provides information on what to do before, during and after storms year-round.
Print the graphic
You can print this Storm Watch graphic on your home printer to reference as you prepare.