Prepare to survive

Published 9:57 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

As is typical in the immediate aftermath of a major storm, it is expected to take upwards to 72 hours before state and federal help is able to begin providing relief.

Translated, that means you’re on your own or left to the aid of local emergency responders up until the “big boys” set-up camp in the area.

That lesson was no plainer than in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, a major storm that struck eastern North Carolina 10 years ago this week.

While our local Emergency Management teams, law enforcement, medical responders and fire departments were there to offer aid, we were, for the most part, isolated from the rest of the world until state and federal officials could organize and send assistance.

It’s for that reason we always need to have a plan in place in event of a major storm, especially when it comes to hurricanes.

In Floyd’s case, there was no reason not to be somewhat prepared. While that storm’s flooding rains did take us by surprise, the fact that this hurricane was making a beeline towards North Carolina was not a secret. By the time Floyd formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 2, 1999, it took 14 days to reach our coast.

Whatever the strength of an impending storm, always be prepared for the worse. Have enough food, water and clothing to last at least three days. Prepare a first-aid kit and be sure to include all prescription medications. Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy. Map out an evacuation plan.

Life is chocked full of lessons to learn. Take heed to those lessons learned and put a plan in place for the next time it’s needed.