N.C. ranks No. 5 for homes at risk of natural disaster
While it's been a relatively quiet hurricane season so far in the warm ocean waters off the coast of North Carolina, a recent RealtyTrack report that ranks communities on their risk factor for natural disasters shows that it's not only coastal property owners who should be on alert.
According to RealtyTrac, Robeson County – specifically Lumberton, near Fayetteville – is tied overall with Georgia's Schley County in terms of risk of natural disasters.
Both communities ranked at "very high risk" or "high risk" for potential damage from hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and tornadoes. The only natural disaster that Lumberton doesn't have to worry too much about is earthquakes, according to the report.
Other North Carolina counties that also ranked at "very high risk" among the top 50 most disaster-prone counties out of 2,318 counties included in the RealtyTrac study were Brunswick, Richmond, Dulplin, Scotland, Cumberland, Onslow and Pender counties, all of which are prone to issues from flooding, hurricanes and wildfires.
Overall, North Carolina ranks fifth in the country for the number of homes that are at high risk or very high risk of natural disaster with 2.3 million homes in targeted counties. California ranks the highest with 8.4 million homes at risk, followed by Florida, New York, New Jersey, then North Carolina.
Wake County, Durham County and most of North Carolina's most populous cities were rated at "high risk" overall, mostly due to the risk of hurricane damage.
How Can I Prepare My Home for a Flood?
If you live in a flood-prone region, it's crucial to formulate a plan now to protect your family and pets in case bad weather strikes. After your emergency plan is established, you can then learn how to protect your home. These six tips help you prepare your home for a flood in order to limit structural and financial damage in the future.
Elevate Electrical Components
Electrical sockets, switches and wiring should be elevated at least 12 inches above predicted flood levels. This reduces the amount of damage a flood can cause to your home, and it prevents your home from becoming a safety hazard during the recovery period.
If you have a fuel tank in your basement, be sure to anchor it. An unanchored fuel tank can cause serious damage, such as tearing the supply line and spilling oil.
Waterproof Your Basement
Waterproofing your basement typically requires a large sum of money, but this investment pays off if you live in an area that is frequently flooded. Along with waterproofing, set up a sump pump in the basement and a battery-operated backup in case the power goes out during the flood.
Pay Attention to Flood Alerts
You can elevate electrical components and waterproof your basement long before a flood strikes, but some preparation has to be done in the days or hours leading up to a flash flood. Pay attention to the weather, and take flood alerts seriously.
A Flood Watch will be issued when the conditions are right for flooding. This is a good time to protect furniture and important documents. Remember to take action the moment the watch is issued, though, as you'll want to start evacuating before a Flood Warning occurs.
A Flood Warning means that a flood is happening now or going to take place soon.
Move Furniture and Other Valuables to a Safe Place
Once a Flood Watch occurs, move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place. Copies of critical documents like birth certificates or insurance policies should be stored in a waterproof safety box.
Keep in mind that this step should only be taken if you have time to safely evacuate your family. If the flood is likely to occur soon, forget your furniture and head to higher ground.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Store an emergency kit — one you can use after evacuating or when trapped in the house — in your home at all times. This kit should include at least three days' worth of water and food (including 1 gallon [or 4 liters] per person per day), along with essentials like:
- Copies of personal documents
- Cellphone with chargers
Purchase Flood Insurance
Regular homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage costs. If your home is located in a flood-prone area, it's a good idea to also purchase flood insurance, which is available to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program.
CERT - Community Emergency Response Team
Community Emergency Response Team
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.
Since 1993, CERT has impacted communities across the country, building essentials skills and capabilities to prepare for and respond to any disaster. There are now CERT programs in all 50 states, including many tribal nations and U.S. territories; each unique to its community but all essential to building a Culture of Preparedness.
The CERT program was designed as a grassroots initiative and specifically structured so that the local and state program managers have the flexibility to form their programs in the way that best suits their communities. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since CERT became a national program.
FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team Program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members:
Learn how to safely respond to manmade and natural hazards
Help organize basic disaster response
Promote preparedness by hosting and participating in community events