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The following is a list of activities that can be taken before a hurricane to ensure the safety of your family, friends, pets and property. Don't be caught unprepared.

Create a Home Inventory — Make a video of the contents of your home and write down inventory of your contents. Email the inventory and the video to your email address and save it. Having your home inventory available to send to your insurance company with digital time stamps will help your claim in the event of a disaster.  Make an extra copy of your important insurance, medical records and other valuable documents to take with you take with you should you need to evacuate your home. Digital copies are also a great idea. Update your important documents inventory each year at the start of hurricane season.

Plan an Evacuation Route — Should an evacuation by ordered by local officials, all family and household members should know the proper evacuation routes and have a preplanned destination to stay at until conditions improve. Designate a family member or friend as the “contact person” for everyone to contact for reports on family members.

Pet Safety — Safety of your pets during flood and storm events is a concern. Prestorm planning for your pets should not be forgotten. The Dare County Emergency Management webpage has a a lot of valuable information on how to prepare your pets.

Dwelling Preparations — Clean out rain gutters on a regular basis. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and remove all dead branches. Even if you have taken steps to protect your property from flooding, flood insurance is still needed to protect your investment. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damages. A separate flood policy is needed. There is a 30day waiting period before new flood policies become effective.

Seasonal Workers — International workers should also be aware of what to do if hazardous weather occurs during your stay on the Outer Banks. Discuss a response plan with your employer and know what to do and where to go if an evacuation if ordered.


  • Follow instructions from local officials on poststorm reentry and recovery activities
  • Don’t interfere with first responders and damage assessment workers. Stay off of the roads so they can focus on their tasks.
  • There may be restrictions on the use of your drinking water supplies. Check with local officials before using your water source if a flood has occurred.
  • Do not walk or drive through flood waters. They contain contaminants from runoff, debris and often snakes and other small animals that have been displaced by rising waters.
  • Practice caution when entering a structure that has been damaged. If electrical outlets have been flooded, check with a licensed electrician.
  • Only hire licensed contractors for repair work.
  • Building permits for storm repairs are needed. Check with the Planning Department for permitting procedures before you begin any work.