Hurricane Joaquin ARE YOU PREPARED?

Hurricane Joaquin

FINGERS CROSSED  Hurricane Joaquin will not make landfall anywhere near our home Wrightsville Beach, and if we are lucky avoid landfall anywhere along the eastern seaboard altogether, but we want to help you plan ahead just in case!  With this storm looming in the Atlantic, Fasse bldgs. has tips to help you stay safe, be prepared, and safeguard your home in the case a storm does make landfall in or near our area. The forecast is calling for a ton of rain and potential for strong wind, regardless of the hurricane's track, so let's cover all our bases!

Hurricane Prep

Remember the local stores and markets get pretty hectic when there is a storm on the horizon, so it is better to gather necessary items in advance,  and get a head start on necessary home preparations before the rain and winds pick up. For starters, get your first aid and basic emergency kits organized. The general kit should include enough supplies for 72 hours, so this will vary depending on the size of your household. Don't forget to consider your pets--petfood, prescriptions, and additional water to keep the furbabies safe and happy! It's also smart to call the vet for proof of rabies and shots. If you need to evacuate, your pet may not be welcome at a shelter without these records.

Here's a general emergency supplies checklist  from Fasse bldgs.  to help you cover the basics....

Emergency item checklist

Let's get real, and go ahead and add WINE to the list! (and don't forget a manual wine tool and can opener either). Food & drink during and after a storm are key!

 Remember, there's a good chance you won't be venturing out for a while -- roads aren't safe, power lines can often be down, and there is a strong possibility you will encounter flooding.

So stock up on all the things you need to make the most of the situation (games, booze + fun people). When a hurricane or tropical storm hits, your options for recreation become limited. No need to be reckless,  and "ride it out" in unsafe conditions, but no harm in gathering with family, friends, and neighbors to weather the storm together.

Make sure people aren’t going outside In case an actual emergency happens, no need to make it worse by tempting the gods of flying debris. While hurricanes can be devastating and deadly events, if you play your cards right they can also turn into a darn good time!  Ain't no party like a hurricane party in the Southeast.

Now back to the not-so-fun parts of tropical storms/hurricanes....

PLEASE get your emergency list + these home/property precautions below taken care of before you start planning a party. Safety, supplies, and preparation first!

Here are some things to take care of before a storm approaches....

1. Check your insurance coverage to make sure it reflects the current state of your home. Consider adding flood insurance and coverage for additional living expenses in case your home is uninhabitable after a storm.

2. Do a home inventory to save you time and make filing a claim easier, ensuring you don’t forget anything. Document the contents of your home with a video camera or other home inventory tool. Keep receipts for valuable items and consider separate coverage for these things.

3. Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of your home. Protect them by boarding them with the proper plywood or tape. Doors are also easy targets for projectiles and susceptible to high winds. Seals provide watertight protection for door and windows.

4. Patio furniture and outside décor can easily turn into dangerous projectiles when hurricane-force winds arrive. Bring it inside. Don't put them in the pool, as doing so can harm the finish of your pool and cause staining. Also bring in all bikes and children's toys to prevent them from becoming projectiles or sustaining damage from the storm.

5. Protect your property even further by installing the following items in your home:

~Hurricane shutters or keep ¾ inch outdoor plywood boards for each window (if using boards, be sure to install anchors and pre-drill holes so you can put them up quickly)
~Head and foot bolts on doors for extra protection.
~Hurricane straps or clips to help hold the roof to the walls of your home.
~A safe room that can withstand high winds and flying debris.

6. Make sure your gutters are clear from leaves or any other debris. This will make sure that the rainwater will flow easily through the gutters and keep them from overflowing. Also check drains on your property before the storm and make sure water is flowing properly and not obstructed by an debris to prevent standing/rising water on your property.

7. Keep up with your landscaping; ensure that your trees are trimmed to remove weak branches. Also keep in mind, diseased and damaged tree limbs can become serious hazards in high-speed storm winds so manage these hazards appropriately. Rake the yard now! With the amount of rain expected, you need the drains open and running freely. A drain clogged with leaves does not flow and all the water may end up in your crawlspace or cause foundation issues.

8. Buy a tarp or two. These will come in handy to protect the roof temporarily if a tree comes down. Also make certain you have one long (50 foot) heavy duty extension cord. If your power goes out for multiple days this could come in really handy if you are able to connect to a neighbor's generator or nearby power source. 

9. If you have a generator, make sure that it is prepared for the coming storm. Do your routine maintenance, this will provide you the peace of mind that the motor is ready to provide you with the electricity you need. It will also ensure the battery is charged, and filters are clean to make sure your generator is ready to help you get through the storm.

10. If you have a spare tub, fill it with water to be used to flush the toilet. Sounds weird, but If the water gets really high, the sewer systems won't work. If the power is out long enough, the lift stations for the sewers won't work. You can flush toilets by dumping cups of tub water into the tank as needed.

11. Check your chain saw, especially if you are on a wooded lot. Do you have bar oil? What about treated gas? Check that what you have is OK and works.

12. Fill your fuel tanks and extra gas tanks now. Again, without power, the gas pumps don't work. If you plan on using a grill, make sure you have sufficient propane and/or charcoal to fire them up.

During & After the storm....

1. Don’t take silly risks like running back into a home that’s been destroyed or refuse to evacuate when you’ve been ordered to, just to salvage material possessions. Things can be replaced, but people cannot.

2. Turn your refrigerator as cold as possible and only open it when necessary in order to keep it as cool as possible when/if power is lost. Have coolers filled with ice bags as a backup plan for perishables, especially if you do not have a generator. 

3. Use your refrigerated food first. Cook the meat and eat the dairy within the first couple of days on the grill. There is no saving it without power.

4. When cooking with the grill, use it away from the house. Make sure a flare-up can't catch the soffitt on fire. Don't grill in the garage. 

5. After the storm is over, don't go sloshing through the puddles. Power lines will be down all over the place and that water may be hiding that live wire.

6. Bugs tend to be terrible following a storm, partially due to all the standing water. Make sure you have bug spray on hand and use it!

It is also wise to have an established evacuation plan to help reduce stress. If you don’t have transportation of your own, make arrangements now with friends or family members (and don’t forget about the pets!). You want to make sure the whole family is covered, so identify an out-of-state contact that everyone will call if separated and establish a meeting location at least 50 miles inland.

If someone in the house has medical issues that require power, call the local Red Cross. There should be a medical shelter nearby with backup power. Make sure you have a spot there.

There are now several apps that aid in the case of an emergency or natural disaster. Check them out here.  Remember there could be limited/no cell service, so have a printed emergency plan in a safe place in your home, or with the other items in your emergency kit. 

Stay safe everyone!