Coastal residents staying prepared with active hurricane season

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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WITN) - With over half of the official hurricane season remaining, being prepared in case of a storm is vital for many in the east.

While we continue to closely track Hurricane Irma over the next several days, people along the coast say they're using this time to continue their preparations.

Home and property owners at Emerald Isle, like Mary Gibson, say life on the beach can come with a price. She can recall all the storms that have caused her property some type of damage.

"Bertha, Fran, Bonnie and Floyd, all of them did damage to the roof here, some damage inside the house from water leaking into the house," she explains.

Severe weather such as hurricanes can cause damage to not only homes, but also harm to people. So Gibson says readiness is a must.

"We have suitcases that we always sort of keep packed for trips anyway and they have things that we could go within a day's notice," she says.

With severe weather, sometimes a day's warning is all the notice you'll get.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, also known as NOAA, Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to November 30th. Forecasts are predicting a 45-percent chance of an above normal season, 35-percent chance of near normal season, and 20-percent chance of below normal season.

"We always secure the outside furniture, because it blows so bad and then the garbage cans and all that," says Randy Barnes, another Emerald Isle homeowner. "Inside, we make sure all the windows are shut tight... Basically have water, supplies, and stuff like that in case, you know, we do loose electricity."

NOAA recommends creating a hurricane readiness kit with items like water, canned food, batteries, flashlight, radio and first aid kit

It's these kind of items that can help you stay safe both during a storm and in the days that follow.

"You definitely have to be aware, you have to monitor the situation," Gibson says.

Another important item to have in your hurricane kit is your refill of prescription medications and other types of medicine.

The Red Cross says emergency kits should contain the following:
• A three-day supply of water—one gallon per person per day
• A three-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
• Flashlight
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of important documents such as a list of medications someone takes and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies
• A digital disaster kit on a password-protected area of an Internet server or a flash drive with copies of all important documents, contact information and even family photographs
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area

It is important to remember that some of these items can and will expire and need to be replaced each year or every few years. If you already have an emergency kit, it is always a good idea to check each item and make sure it is in good working order before the start of the season.