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Preparing for Natural Disasters
Hurricane Fran, 1996Natural disasters and all types of severe weather may occur at any time of the year. Preparation is the key to minimizing the impact of these events on you, your family and your home. No doubt, families taking time to prepare decrease their risk and increase their level of safety during natural disasters and severe weather events. Below you will find some suggestions you and your family can use to jumpstart your basic preparation and planning, as well as links to web sites with much more detailed information and advice to make your home, work place or school safer in the event of a natural disaster.

The information set forth here is not intended to be comprehensive, but to serve as a starting point for your family's preparations for severe weather and natural disasters. As always, feel free to contact us either by phone (919-918-7347) or email us at fire@ci.carrboro.nc.us with any questions you may have.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

Every home should have a disaster supplies kit at the ready all throughout the year in case of emergencies. To get you started we suggest you use one or two large storage containers or bins that are waterproof and constructed of durable material, such as plastic. Some of the basic items you will want to include are:

  • Bottled water and food (ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables)
  • Medications and special items (prescription medications, non-prescription, items for the elderly or physically disabled)
  • Tools and supplies (hand tools, flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radios)
  • Sanitation supplies (paper towels, toilet paper, soap, personal hygiene, disinfectant, alcohol-based hand cleaner)
  • Clothing and bedding (complete change of clothes, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, rain gear, hats)
  • Emergency car kit
  • First aid kit (bandages, triangular bandages, ace bandages, gauze, tape, antiseptic, cold packs, tweezers, scissors)
  • Important family documents (insurance policies, medical records, financial documents, passports, social security cards)
For a more comprehensive list of supplies, we suggest you consult one of the web sites we have listed below, such as the American Red Cross, Ready.gov, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more detailed information on food and water supplies, you can view a PDF file published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross by clicking HERE.

Power Outages

Lightening Strikes a TreeLiving in your home during a power outage can be a very dangerous time. Use extreme care when working with alternative sources of energy. Below, you will find a list of some of the items that warrant caution when you are using them in your home during a power outage.

  • Fireplaces and wood stoves: when using fireplaces and wood stoves in place of regular sources of heat be sure to use them appropriately. Use only the intended fuel and never use charcoal briquettes in a fireplace. Similarly, keep your fireplace well-maintained and in good condition in preparation for use during an emergency. For more tips on fireplace and woodstove safety, visit our safety tips page.

  • Portable heaters: When using portable heaters, be sure to follow all of the manufacturer's directions and safety warnings and use only the recommended fuel. Keep all combustibles away from the heater to prevent accidental fires. For more safety information on portable heaters click HERE.

  • Cooking: Never use grills or camp stoves intended for outdoor use within your home or garage. The fumes and smoke emitted when these items are in use are potentially deadly within the confines of your home. Only use such items outside and away from any open windows and doors. If you have a gas stove or oven, never use it to heat your home in the event of a power outage; it too may pose a deadly risk due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Generators: Never run a generator inside your home or garage. Keep the generator safely outside, at least five feet from your home. Do not run the generator directly underneath or next to open windows or doors as unsafe fumes may invade your home. Never overload a generator by running more items than it can safely handle and always use the proper size power cords for the appliances powered. Be sure to read all the manufacturer's instructions and safety directions for your brand of generator.

  • Candles: Candles pose a tremendous fire hazard and should only be used with extreme caution. Keep candles away from all combustibles and in a secure location where they cannot be bumped or knocked over. Be sure that they are securely held in a non-combustible holder designed for use with candles. Never leave candles burning in a unoccupied room or while no one is at home.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide is a deadly by-product of any type of incomplete combustion. All the items listed above may produce deadly levels of this gas. If you use any of these items under any circumstances you need a carbon monoxide detector. For more information about carbon monoxide detectors click HERE.

Web Sites for Further Information

The web sites below contain detailed information and suggestions on what you and your family can do to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and disasters. We at the Carrboro Fire-Rescue Department urge you to be prepared!

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