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Hurricane Preparedness Week continues through Saturday. And organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service are using each day of the week to focus on a specific aspect of disaster readiness.

Hurricane Preparedness Week: Getting your plan in place

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Hurricane Preparedness Week continues through Saturday.  And organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service are using each day of the week to focus on a specific aspect of disaster readiness.  As WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn discovers, today is about getting your plan in place.

It’s not uncommon to skip emergency planning for hurricane season – especially if multiple seasons pass with relatively minimal impacts.  But as Terry Lebo, a meteorologist and hurricane expert with the National Weather Service explains, it’s a mistake to become complacent even if it’s been 16 years since the last major hurricane hit this region. 

 “It doesn’t matter how many systems you have.  It just takes one.  I mean, for instance, when Hurricane Andrew leveled South Florida, there were – I think – 7 storms that year.  But that storm caused a lot of damage.  So it just takes one.” 

Lebo says that’s precisely the reason hurricane prep is critical.  If people are prepared, research shows there are fewer instances of injury and death. 

“It’s no different than when you were a kid in school with a fire drill.  Kids think – oh good – I get to go outside.  But you learn – as soon as that bell goes off – man, I gotta get outside!” 

So what does a good hurricane plan look like?  Insurance policies are up-to-date.  Important papers are in a weather-proof, portable container.  The Emergency Kit is assembled.  And the family has a plan for staying connected. 

In a statement issued late last week, Governor Bev Perdue reminded state residents of Hurricane Irene.  She struck the coast as a Category One – the weakest level hurricane – and still managed to cause the worst flooding some inland counties have seen in nearly a decade. 

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Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.