Planning is better managed if we look at hurricane preparation as not just seasonal but year-round. If a hurricane threatens Wrightsville Beach, visit this website often and stay tuned to local media for evacuation instructions. The following are some suggestions to help you plan for you and your family in the event of a hurricane affecting our area.
Watch the news and listen to the radio to stay informed of local conditions. If an evacuation is ordered you need to be ready to leave. If you decide to stay, realize their will be a curfew and you will not be able to leave your property. In addition emergency services will be suspended during the peak of the storm so if you need help, it probably won't be available until the storm has abated. You can stay informed with the storm's progress by clicking here for the National Weather Service's website. You also can click here to go to the National Hurricane Center's website. If you or a loved one requires special assistance in the event of an evacuation, click here for the New Hanover County Special Needs Registry.
Home Evacuation Plan
Know where ahead of time you will go in case you are told to evacuate. Choose more than 1 location. Make sure you notify family and friends where you are going and how they can contact you. Make sure you have an alternate route to your evacuation location. Major roads may be jammed with traffic or rerouted. Take a map.
There are 6 basic emergency items you should stock in your home:
- Emergency supplies
- First aid supplies
Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy to carry container, such as plastic or vinyl container with a lid, a backpack, or a duffel bag. For a detailed listing of items to put in your kit, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency homepage.
For evacuation purposes, have important family documents and information ready to take with you:
- Insurance policies
- Immunization records
- Bank account numbers
- Written and video inventory of valuable household goods
- Family records
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Death certificates
Fortification & Maintenance
Have on hand plywood, nails, screws, and other materials to cover your windows and protect your home. The winter months are a perfect time to purchase and cut to fit the plywood you need. Know how to cut off your utilities to your home. Write down the instructions. Make sure all family members know how to turn off and secure the utilities. Turn off electricity at the main panel.
If you use LP gas, valve off the tanks. If your house has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. If you have a dock or pier, shut off the water to it also. If your home or pier does not have an accessible water shut-off, have a plumber install one for you.
Check and review your insurance policies with your agent. Make sure you have the coverage that you need. The onset of a hurricane is not the time to find out you do not have the insurance that you thought you had. If you are a renter, make sure you have renter's insurance. Check your flood insurance. If you have questions, visit the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website.
The Town of Wrightsville Beach has in place an ordinance requiring all LP gas cylinders in flood-prone areas to be anchored. If they are not, or you have questions, call the Fire Department at 256-7920.
During Hurricane season, it is important that you make arrangements to take care of your pets. Leaving them home after an evacuation is not the answer. Begin crate training early, as this will reduce the stress on your dog or cat when they must be crated for a length of time. Look into pet friendly hotels/motels/shelters where you may seek refuge. If you stay with friends or family, be sure your pets are also welcome. This will save you a lot of time when time is essential.
If you have any questions or need help with your plan of action, do not hesitate to call the Wrightsville Beach Park Ranger at 910-256-7937, ext. 1751.
Additional preparation and planning is required if you have a boat. Whether you trailer, moor, or anchor, additional equipment will be needed. Early preparation and planning are the key.
Here are a few tips to help boaters develop their own hurricane preparedness plan:
- Purchase and stow line specifically for hurricane use. As a general rule, line should be twice the diameter of your normal line.
- Monitor National Weather Service marine broadcasts (162.550 MHz). Pay close attention to local TV and radio for information on how the hurricane will affect our area. Be ready to take action if an evacuation order is given.
- All boat hurricane preparations should be completed 48 hours before a hurricane arrives. This will allow you to concentrate on your family and home.
- Secure all hatches and tape all windows from the inside.
- Check the batteries for a full charge and make sure bilge pumps are working.
- Shut off all fuel lines and close through hull fittings.
- Remove all electronics to prevent destruction or theft.
- If you have a trailerable boat, remove the boat from the water and secure both boat and trailer to high land. Trailer should be firmly anchored to prevent or minimize damage.
- If you have a boat at a dock, do not stay on your boat. Remove all articles on deck including bimini top, side curtains, sails and dinghies. Store these items ashore.
- If possible unstep the mast and secure it ashore. Double up lines including spring lines. Use several cleats to distribute the load on the boat. Allow as much line as possible for tide and storm surge.
- Attach chafing gear such as reinforced radiator hose where lines will rub.
- Disconnect electric, water, and other connections from the dock.
- If you will be anchoring out, do not stay on your boat. Have a pre-planned "hurricane hole." Avoid shoal areas and look for areas with high embankments. Consult responsible marine literature for best anchorage and anchoring methods.
- In all cases, make sure your insurance is up to date and adequate for your needs.
For additional information on Hurricane Preparedness, please stop by the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department located at 3 Bob Sawyer Drive.