Emergency Preparedness

When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and potentially deadly inland flooding. Such flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses. 1999’s Hurricane Floyd brought intense rains and record flooding to the eastern NC and Tarboro, in particular. Of the 56 people who perished, 50 drowned due to inland flooding.

In the event of an emergency, one of the tools available to disseminate information to citizens of Tarboro and Edgecombe County is the CodeRED™ Emergency Telephone Calling System.  The system can provide mass emergency notifications to residents and businesses within minutes of an emergency or a potential hazard. To ensure that you receive important notifications through the system, register your cell phone or another emergency contact number today.  

To register, visit the CodeRED™ page on the Edgecombe County website at www.edgecombecountync.gov/code.aspx.  

Floods
Flooding can occur anywhere, and different flood zones present different levels of risk. Knowing the flood zone for your area is helpful in understanding your financial risk and is important to consider when purchasing flood insurance.

Besides insuring your property, you can do other things to minimize potential property loss and to ensure your family’s safety:

  • Take photographs of important possessions. If your home is damaged in a flood, these documents will help you file a full insurance claim.
  • Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects where they will not get damaged.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone. Teach children to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be the “family contact” in case your family is separated during a flood.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows the name/address/phone number of the family contact.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Pets may not be allowed into emergency shelters for health and space reasons. Contact your local humane society for information on local animal shelters.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
  • Have a licensed electrician raise electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring) at least 12” above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • Install backflow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering through drains, toilets and other sewer connections.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank in your basement can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken line can contaminate your basement. An unanchored tank outside can be swept downstream and damage other houses.
  • If your washer and dryer are in the basement, elevate them on masonry or pressure-treated lumber at least 12” above the projected flood plain elevation.
  • Place the furnace and water heater on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12” above the projected flood plain elevation.

Buy Flood Insurance
One of the most important things that you can do to protect your home and family before a flood is to purchase a flood insurance policy. You can obtain one through your insurance company or agent. Flood insurance is guaranteed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage. 

Don't wait until a flood is coming to purchase your policy. It normally takes 30 days after purchase for a flood insurance policy to go into effect. For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance, read the information on the FloodSmart.gov web site, contact your insurance company or agent, or call the NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD29 or TDD# 1-800-427-5593.

During a Flood
Besides insuring your property, you can do other things to minimize potential property loss and to ensure your family’s safety:

  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • If local authorities instruct, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
  • If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If waters start to raise before you can evacuate, retreat to the second floor, the attic, and if necessary, the roof.
  • Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances. If you come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
  • Avoid walking through floodwaters. As little as six inches can knock you off your feet.
  • Don’t drive through a flooded area. Just two feet of water can carry a car away.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes. Animals lose their homes in floods, too.

After a Flood

  • If your home has suffered damage. Call the agent who handles your flood insurance tp file a claim. If you are unable to a\stay in your home, note where you can be reached.
  • Take photos of any water damage to your home and personal property for easier claim filing.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. Do not enter if there is a chance of the building collapsing.
  • Upon re-entry, do not use matches, cigarette lighters or other opeb flames since gas may be trapped inside. If you smell gas or hear hissing, open a window, leave quickly and call the gas company from a neighbor’s house.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, avoid using the toilets and tap and call a plumber.
  • Throw away unused food, including canned goods, that has come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities have declared your water supply to be safe.
  • Follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding. Use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect your property from future flood damage.

Hurricanes

During a Hurricane Watch or Warning:

  • Contact your local emergency management office for a hurricane preparedness plan that includes information on the safest evacuation routs and nearby shelters.
  • Plan an evacuation route.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand: Flashlight and extra batteries; Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries; First aid kit and manual; Emergency food and water; Non-electric can opener; Essential medicines; Cash and credit cards; Sturdy shoes.
  • Fuel car.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
  • If in a mobile home, leave or have an alternate place to stay.
  • Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames as a source of light.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to avoid a power surge when restored.

After the Storm:

  • Stay tuned to the local radio for information.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department.
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building.
  • Look for electrical system damage.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage.


Tornados

Learn these tornado danger signs:

  • An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even is a funnel is not visible.
  • Before a tornado hits, wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Tornadoes generally occur on the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.

Before a tornado:

  • Designate an area in your home as a shelter ad practice having family members go there in response to a tornado threat.
  • Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning."
  • Have emergency supplies on hand; flashlight with extra batteries; battery-operated radio; first aid kit and manual; emergency food and water; nonelectric can opener; essential medications; cash and credit cards; sturdy shoes.

Before a tornado:

  • If you are in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.
  • If at home, go to your tornado safe room or windowless interior room, storm cellar, basement or lowest level of building.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold onto it.
  • Use arms to protect head and neck
  • If at school or work, go to the area designated in your tornado plan
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias,large hallways or shopping malls.
  • If outdoors, get inside a building or lie facedown in a ditch.
  • If in a car, do not try to outrun the tornado.
  • Get out of your car and get into a building or a ditch.

After a tornado:

  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Give first aid when appropriate.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Call for help.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn on appliances or switches.
  • Turn on the radio for the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.