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With mandatory evacuation orders throughout North and South Carolina and Virginia as Hurricane Florence approaches there are a lot of important safety issues to bear in mind. From protecting your home to staying informed of the storm's path, you may feel confident you're on top of everything. But here's one issue you may have overlooked: How to prepare your vehicles for the storm. Below, five important action items to keep in mind.
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1. Have an emergency kit in your car.
This is a good idea to keep in your car year-round, but of paramount importance now. Assemble a bag with jumper cables, a gas canister, tool kit, tire jack, flashlight and batteries, radio and batteries, blanket, first aid kit, and motor oil, NationalDispatch.com advises. Put non-perishable food, prescription medications, and bottled water in your car, as well. Ready.gov, FEMA's public service campaign recommends you keep a change of clothes on-hand in your car in addition to emergency supplies. FEMA also says to ensure you have cash, as banks may be closed and ATMs not working during and after a hurricane.
2. Fill your gas tank.
This is a key move before a hurricane hits. "If your county loses power for days, it may be essential to drive to shelter or travel to obtain services," notes Consumer Reports. "In good weather, that is an easy task, but when millions of other people also need a hotel, the distance you must drive can be considerable." Of course, it goes without saying, but when evacuating during an emergency situation, you'll want to drive as slowly and safely as possible avoiding any flooded bridges or routes.
3. Take pictures of your car(s).
It's a good idea to snap a few photos of any cars that you own before a hurricane approaches. This way, for insurance purposes, you have evidence of your car's condition pre-storm. (Even if you're leaving a car behind, take a picture of it, too, in case it gets impacted by the storm.)
4. Park your vehicle on high ground.
If you're car pooling or leaving one of your family's cars behind, you'll want to find a place to park your car on as high ground as possible to mitigate the risk of flood waters totaling your car. " A water-damaged car is an expensive, disappointing boat anchor," as Consumer Reports puts it.
5. Keep a waterproof bag with all of your important documents in your car.
"Place your auto and home insurance documents, vehicle registration, title, and other important documents in a waterproof bag and keep them with you," Progressive.com advises in their article on hurricane readiness tips. You can also keep digital copies of these documents on a password-protected site, like Dropbox or Google Drive.
For more information on staying safe during Hurricane Florence, visit FEMA's blog here.
This article originally appeared on Coastal Living.