By First Pioneer Insurance Agency, guest columnist.

First Pioneer Insurance Agency, located at 409 Johnson Street, in Aberdeen, is tracking Hurricane Florence, which is currently projected to hit North Carolina later this week.

First Pioneer Insurance Agency offers tips to ensure that you and your family are able to take appropriate steps to protect yourselves from Hurricane Florence’s fury.

Preparing for the storm:

Designate an out-of-area contact that your family members can call in case you are separated.

Prepare an emergency kit in a waterproof container or bag. Include your insurance documents, other important documents (e.g. birth certificates and vehicle registrations), phone chargers and prescription bottles. Keep this kit with you.

If there is time, board up windows and place sandbags around your property.

Check your home for anything that may fly or be moved by the extremely high winds and either secure it or bring it inside. Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture, bikes, toys, hanging plants and lawn decorations. If possible, remove the swings on your child’s swing set to prevent unnecessary damage.

If possible, move any cars, RVs, boats, or other vehicles to a secure area away from weak trees, limbs or areas that could flood.

Due to potential power outages from downed trees and power surges, stock up on clean water, non-perishable food, extra batteries and emergency backup chargers for mobile devices. Keep a supply of flashlights handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.

If you lose power, turn off all major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is turned back on.

If you have infant children, remember to include diapers, baby wipes and formula. Don’t forget to get food for your pets.

Back up any important computer files and move computers above potential flooding areas of your home or office. Move furnishings and valuables to the highest point in your house.

Download the ReadyNC mobile app. This all-in-one FREE tool for emergency preparedness helps people get ready for everything from hurricanes to traffic jams and ice storms. It works both for iPhone and Android

If you’re forced to evacuate:

Turn off breaker boxes prior to evacuating: This will help prevent electrical surges from destroying your appliances. Also, in the event of water infiltration, it prevents shorts that can lead to fires.

Never drive through standing water. Underlying currents could carry your vehicle away or trap you in rising floodwater. Find an alternate route. Know your evacuation route and follow the direction of your state and local officials.

After the storm:

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring heavy rains and high winds to our area, with the chance of inland flooding. Stay off the roads during heavy rains. Do not drive or walk through standing water. Water can be deeper than it appears, and two feet of water can sweep away most cars and six inches of moving water can sweep you away when walking.

If you experience damage from the storm that is covered by your insurance policy and need to file a claim, contact your agent or the insurance company as soon as possible.

Find more helpful tips:

Hurricane Safety Checklists

Hurricane Preparedness Digital Toolkit

Prepare My Business

Know what to do before, during and after a hurricane

New insurance and certain changes to existing insurance may not be available when there is a known threat of severe weather or in the immediate aftermath of a severe weather event. Talk to your agent.

For more information on insurance needs, please contact First Pioneer Insurance Agency at 910-944-2848 or click on link:

Feature photo of a uprooted tree in Aberdeen during a 2017 storm.

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