The destruction a hurricane can cause is not easily forgotten, and North Carolina has seen its share of major hurricanes. From Floyd to Fran in the late 90s, and most recently Irene in 2011, we rank among the top states for direct hurricane strikes.

This year, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is projecting a “near-normal” season for 2016 after the past three quieter seasons. That could mean anywhere from four to eight hurricanes for the Atlantic region, during the June 1 to Nov. 30 season.

Your insurance during emergencies

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina takes steps to ensure your health care coverage needs are continuous and offers flexibility that’s needed in the event of a storm. We have a plan for our customers and our employees.

When the N.C. Governor or President of the United States declares a major disaster; Blue Cross may waive requirements for customers affected by the storm, as long as a state of emergency is in place. For example, this might include:

  • Ability to refill prescriptions early or replace lost or destroyed prescriptions
  • Access to health care services at any available facility regardless of network status and without prior approval

The hurricane kit

North Carolina doesn’t always get major hurricane action every single year, but why take chances with preparation? Take it from the thousands of people affected by hurricanes every season – it’s always better to be prepared. Being prepared also leads to the ability to assist others.

No matter how severe the storm or the damage it causes, one thing I’ve seen over the years is that storms have brought communities together – cooking food (before it spoils!) with neighbors at a block party,  cutting up fallen trees across the street or working together to cover an exposed roof.

It’s easy to procrastinate (like my friends and co-workers) with something like putting a kit together. But make this a priority – perhaps make it a fun weekend project with the kids to get your kit together.

In a large plastic bin, consider storing:

  • Nonperishable food (enough for each person, for at least three days – don’t forget a can opener if your kit includes canned goods)
  • Water (one gallon per person, for at least three days)
  • Flashlights and/or lanterns, and extra batteries for these
  • Portable battery charger for devices (like your smartphones and tablets)
  • First Aid Kit (don’t forget any prescription medications)
  • Tarp
  • Waterproof Tape
  • Multi-tool that includes a wrench to turn off utilities
  • Cash
  • Copies of critical information (insurance cards, identification, bank account info, etc.)
  • Any special supplies for your kids (diapers, games, etc.) and your pets

Things to consider (before the storm hits)

  • Topping off your vehicle’s gas tanks
  • Decide where to go if you need to evacuate, and make sure your family knows the plan
  • What to do with your pets

After going through Hurricane Fran here in North Carolina and Hurricane Charlie in Florida, and living without power for several days, my family and I have a supply kit at the ready for the next time a hurricane hits. We store the kit in a large plastic tub in our garage, and we refresh it every year.

In my experience, hurricane season has been about concern, preparedness and community. It may take an hour or two to get your kit together, but you’ll be so glad you did.


Feature photo credit: WikiMedia

Ryan Vulcan

About Ryan Vulcan

Ryan Vulcan is a communications specialist at BCBSNC, sharing the company stories through traditional and social media. Her communications career has been customer-centric spanning health care, retail, lifestyle, and travel & tourism industries.