Hurricane Preparedness during COVID-19

Know Your Zone NC

With all that’s happening around us, it’s easy to forget what day it is. Add hurricane season to the mix and although we may not want to think about it, it is important that we’re prepared.

Let’s start with Know Your Zone NC. It’s part of the NC Department of Public Safety. Their website has a map tool where you can enter your address and find out what evacuation zone you live in to help you decide whether or not to evacuate. According to Know Your Zone NC, “Evacuation zones highlight areas most at risk to storm surge and flooding. Local officials will determine which areas should be evacuated. Areas in Zone A will typically be evacuated first, followed by areas in Zone B, etc. While all zones won’t be evacuated in every event, emergency managers will work with local media and use other outreach tools to notify residents and visitors of impacted zones and evacuation instructions.” Visit KnowYourZoneNC for all the details.

Here’s only some of many things to consider:

– Purchasing flood insurance (even if you’re not in a flood zone)

– Having an emergency box or kit with important documents (insurance/deeds/wills/titles, etc.) and cash.

– Taking photos of your property (inside and outside) before the storm.

– Filling your tank with gas ahead of time.

– If you have pets, here’s some good information from Ready.gov/pets.

Traveling during COVID-19

– Don’t wait until the last minute to make reservations to evacuate.

ReadyNC.org provides detailed information to help you plan, prepare, and stay informed during hurricane season.

Food for thought:

I’ve lived in New Bern since 2005 and never considered evacuating until Hurricane Florence. Five days before landfall, I scoured Airbnb and numerous websites for a place to stay in Western NC. As the hours passed, the places that I could afford were being taken. I had to make a decision. Within a couple hours, I confirmed the reservation. I got lucky. I had plenty of time to take photos of the interior and exterior of my house before I evacuated. I didn’t live in a flood zone but had flood insurance just in case. Although it took almost a month to return, I’m glad that I left. So many people lost their entire homes during the storm. I was fortunate as I only had 2 feet of water around the house and I had flood insurance.

Today, people are still living with relatives or other places because they were left with nothing.

I’m not wealthy and understand that many people, especially now cannot afford to travel or pay for a place to stay.

If I had to leave today, I would ask a couple of people who I know that have been practicing social distancing to evacuate with me. Together, we could afford a place to stay while doing our best to stay safe during COVID-19.

Do you have any other advice to help people decide whether to stay or go? Send us an email.

Wendy Card