According to the latest National Weather Service projections, Irma could hit North Carolina next week. It is often difficult to predict the path of major storms. However, there are crucial – and often simple – steps you can take to be ready.
Documents your belongings for insurance
FEMA recommends homeowners and renters alike document and photograph their property in case insurance claims are necessary. This is not something you want to be doing during an emergency.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Basic items like toilet paper, first-aid kits, non-perishable food and bottled water can be assembled any time, no need to wait for a storm to hit. Read more about what the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov considers key items go put in a “disaster supply kit’ here.
Assemble important documents
Now is a good time to collect and make copies of crucial documents: marriage licenses, social security cards, titles, deeds, wills, etc. Make sure documents are stored in water-proof containers.
Take out cash
In the event of power-outages or loss of telecommunication systems, credit and debit cards won’t work and ATMS may be out. Having enough cash on hand for fueling up your car or a night in a hotel could make a big difference.
Make a plan
When a storm hits, communication can get difficult in a hurry. Make a plan with friends and family in case you get separated or can’t get in touch; plan a place and time to meet. Get more tips for making a plan at ready.gov.
Register for Code Red
Code Red allows county-based emergency services to contact you by text-message and email. Registration only takes a few minutes, but it’s not the kind of thing you want to be doing in an emergency — and it Code Red provides useful information leading up to a major storm.
In addition to emergency weather information, Code Red can also provide local health alerts (such as mosquito spraying and water boil advisories) and community updates (like missing persons alerts).
You can register for the Code Red in your county here:
Special Needs registration
These are county databases of residents who cannot easily leave their homes, such as those reliant on oxygen or life-support systems and those with physical disabilities that would make evacuation difficult or impossible on their own. The information is kept confidential by emergency management agencies and is only used to direct first-responders to those in need during extreme weather or other emergency situations.
Some counties have online registration, whereas in New Hanover registration is by mail. But it’s always worth registering ahead of time to make sure emergency response teams can get help to you or your loved ones in time. At present, Pender County does not have a registry, but anyone with mobility concerns can contact Special Needs Coordinator Shirley Steele at 910-259-1207.
- Brunswick County (online)
- New Hanover County (info and downloadable mail-in registration form)
There are some easy preparations you can do now to make sheltering or evacuation with your pet easier.
- Make sure you have up to date medical information for your pet(s).
- Make sure rabies and identification tags are up to date with contact info and an address.
- Have a current photo of your pet(s).
- If you think evacuation might be necessary, call ahead (or search online) for pet-friendly hotels. Many travel and lodging sites now allow users to search for this option.
- Know which county shelters are pet-friendly. Most county shelters accept only cats and dogs, not exotic animals. This information will sometimes change, so it’s worth checking ahead and again before evacuating or seeking shelter.
These are the current county shelters accepting pets.
- Brunswick West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road Shallotte (910) 754-4338
- New Hanover Noble Middle School, 6520 Market St. Wilmington (910) 350-2112
- Pender Burgaw Middle School, 500 S. Wright Street Burgaw (910) 259-0149
The Animal Control departments of county Sheriff’s Office will often also accept and shelter pets – for short periods of time – free of charge. Contact your local Animal Services department for more information.
- Brunswick – (910) 754-8204
- New Hanover – (910) 798-7500
- Pender – (910) 259-1484
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