Hurricane Preparedness Week begins May 5, and the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) encourages Chatham County residents to prepare by recognizing the risks and potential dangers of hurricanes, and knowing what to do before, during and after a storm. Chatham County is no stranger to severe weather and the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms. However, there are important preparedness items that can be done now to lessen the impacts if another storm were to threaten our coastline this year.

"We've seen firsthand the devastating effects of hurricanes and tropical storms in Chatham County," said CEMA Director Dennis Jones. "During Hurricane Preparedness Week, I encourage every resident to take time to prepare their families and their homes for hurricane season, which begins June 1."

Each day during Hurricane Preparedness Week, CEMA will highlight one planning recommendation that residents can take action on to ensure their families, homes and pets will be safe in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Sunday, May 5: Determine Your Risk- Evaluate what you need to do to protect your home and family before the first storm of the season even forms.


Monday, May 6: Develop an Evacuation Plan- In 2017, Chatham County created new evacuation zones to assist in evacuation timing and traffic management. Take the time to learn your evacuation zone and possible evacuation routes.


Tuesday, May 7: Assemble Disaster Supplies- Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your household five to seven days. Don't forget pet supplies, too!


Wednesday, May 8: Get an Insurance Checkup- Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding. Whether you're a homeowner or renter, you'll need a separate policy for flooding. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.


Thursday, May 9: Strengthen Your Home- Make sure your home is in good repair and meets hurricane code specifications. Have the proper plywood or aluminum panels to board up windows and doors.


Friday, May 10: Help Your Neighbors- Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Get to know your neighbors before an emergency strikes and make sure they have a plan.


Saturday, May 11: Complete a Written Plan- The time to prepare for a hurricane is NOW, before the season begins. Once you're under pressure, having a written plan will take the guesswork out of what you need to do to protect you and your family. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies. You don't want to be standing in long lines when a Hurricane Watch is issued.