It’s National Preparedness Month, and with Hurricane Florence literally settling her sights on the east coast it should remind everyone, everywhere, to keep certain essentials on hand for the inevitable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a handy list on its Ready.gov website. There are also hour-by-hour recommendations to maximize your chances of surviving this storm and other emergencies to come.
I know, I know, it’ll never happen to you. Well, I live inland in North Carolina—where 100 mph winds are reserved for the news and movies—and Florence’s projected path this morning is literally right over my house. I may save the Weather Service graphic and provide it as a map for friends and family trying to find my place.
Despite my apparently safe harbor nearly 100 miles from the coast, two years ago Hurricane Matthew made landfall and stalled. Electric was down for four or five days, water for three of them and major bridges vanished overnight. Interstate 95 was closed. When a neighboring county abandoned its 9-1-1 center due to risk to its personnel and phones went down—making it literally impossible for law enforcement to monitor parolees wearing ankle bracelets—it added emphasis to the importance of law-abiding citizens getting training and exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones as best you can, help your neighbors and strangers (cautiously) if possible, and don’t ignore self-defense in your planning—even if FEMA does. Wilmington, N.C., Mayor Bill Saffo already told CNN that residents need to take precautions, “… because once this storm is upon us, we’re not going to be able to send emergency personnel out to rescue you.”
Florence is also expected to stall, and a few meteorologists are predicting during that time it will dump feet, not inches, of rain. If so, inland flooding will be even more disastrous than Matthew, when nearly every bridge around my place disappeared overnight, along with all the infrastructure pipes, wires and cables hidden underneath.
If you’re in the path and sticking it out, hang tough, be smart, stay safe. If you’re safely away, take heed. You could be next.