Hurricane Florence – scheduled to make landfall on Thursday, September 13, in the afternoon – was just upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane, meaning winds in excess of 130 mph. It could be the strongest storm to hit North and South Carolina in nearly three decades. Due to the strong winds and chances of a devastating impact, mandatory evacuations for eight coastal towns go into effect today – Tuesday, September 11.

We have four tips to help you and your insureds affected by the hurricane.

Tip #1: Download the FEMA app. Do it now, before you need it. In the worst of the storm, it will have the best information.
Tip #2: Top up. Purchasing food essentials, especially non-perishables, can help to ensure that you’ll make it through during power outages. Speaking of power, don’t forget to charge your electronics and secure batteries. Homeland Security has some additional tips here.
Tip #3: Secure your items. Items that are light or outdoors should be secured and strapped down when possible. Likewise, placing items (don’t forget important items such as passports, deeds and birth certificates) into waterproof containers and moving them to higher locations. The Red Cross has great information, especially for what to do after the storm.
Tip #4: Locate your insurance information. Find the name and contact for your insurance provider and take pre-storm pictures of your valuables.

Be safe out there. Be sure to keep sites such as noaa.gov at hand and consider searching social media sites such as Twitter with the hashtag #HurricaneFlorence for updates.