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Florence is Here: Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.

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A lot of North and South Carolina residents are saying that right now as Hurricane Florence speeds towards the Carolina coast.  Hope won’t protect your house, but good planning just might.  In the remaining days before Florence makes landfall, take some time to get your house ready for the rain and wind coming this weekend.

1. Trim back tree branches.  Falling trees and limbs can cause serious property damage or even loss of life.  With the little time you have left, cut back any tree limbs to prevent them from falling on your house or cars.  Don’t pile the limbs out by the curb– Move them away or take them to a landfill because when the hardest winds blow, those limbs will be projectiles flying around your yard.

2. Get storm supplies.  Milk and bread may already be gone, but you’ll need more than that if you have to hunker down at home for a few days.  Batteries, flashlights, tarps, a radio, bottled water, first aid supplies, and non-perishable foods are a must.  If you can, use up food in the refrigerator and freezer before a power outage comes and the food spoils.  The big blue plastic tarps can be used to cover holes in the roof or broken windows if the worst happens.  When the storm is over, use the tarps to hold all of the yard debris you rake up.

3. Be familiar with your home’s systems.  Do you know where the electrical panel is in case breakers trip?  Where is the gas and water shutoff?  Look outside and find the a/c unit.  The outside section of the a/c unit has a fan and some other not-so-sturdy components that can be damaged by falling debris.  If you’re able, turn the a/c off and cover the unit with a tarp until the heaviest wind and rain have passed.  Just remember to uncover the unit before you turn the air back on!

4. Do you already have leaks in the house?  If you’ve been ignoring leaks in the roof or the windows, the heavy wind and rains will make the problem worse.  Be aware that small leaks will become big leaks so have buckets and tarps ready in case water gets in.  When the rain is at its heaviest, walk around inside to look for leaking windows or drips in the ceiling.

5. Put outdoor things away.  Move trash cans, toys, bikes, and flower pots inside before the strong wind starts.  Hurricane force winds can pick up objects and blow them through windows or into fences or even to your neighbor’s property.

6. Unplug appliances.  When the lightening starts, it’s best to unplug things like computers and televisions or any appliances not in use.  Even if you have a surge suppressor, nothing is safer than “unplugged” during a big lightning storm.

7. Have your insurance policy on hand. The last thing you want to be doing if your home is damaged is trying to figure out if you’re covered.  Have your brokers name and number ready and print out the policy so you have it if needed.

8. Prepare to clean up.  When the storm ends, you’ll likely need to do cleanup inside and out.  Before the hardware store runs out make sure you have a chainsaw, rakes, shovels, buckets, mops, and cleaning supplies.   Confirm that the cordless tools are charged and ready to work.  The sooner you can start cleaning up the sooner you’ll be finished and then you can start helping your neighbors who didn’t plan as well as you did.

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