Hurricane Preparedness Week: Develop an evacuation plan

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. With the season just a few weeks away, now is the perfect time to sit down with your family and set up a disaster preparedness plan.

“What you want to think about is where you’re gonna go, where are you going to evacuate to. So, have a list of hotels outside of the normally impacted area that you can call. If you have pets, check to make sure those hotels will take pets,” said Richard Burke of the American Red Cross.

You’ll also want to set up an emergency contact outside the area, someone who you and your family can contact if needed.

On FEMA’s website, you can download and print out a family emergency communication plan wallet card. It’s not something you’ll use every day, but when the time comes, you’ll appreciate having it close at hand.

“Don’t drop your guard and just say the coast is gonna get hit, we’re not because we can get those winds, we can get tornadoes, we can get heavy rains. We can get everything,” added Noel Lee, Pitt County Emergency Management director.

Because of that, emergency managers like Lee are always on guard. For them, the decision to evacuate is never easy, but one that is always carefully considered.

“Once we ever issue a mandatory evacuation and we try to get everybody out, it may not be safe for first responders to go back in. So that’s normally when a mandatory evacuation is issued,” Lee said.

Having a plan and practicing it twice a year will go a long way in keeping your family safe the next time disaster strikes.

Knowing evacuation routes in the area is also an important part of your plan. Click here to download and print a map of hurricane evacuation routes in eastern North Carolina.

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