CHARLOTTE — The American Red Cross of North Carolina and our community partners are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Idalia and its potential impact on the state. Idalia is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane and will bring some tropical impacts to the state, according to the National Hurricane Center. The time to get ready is now.
Tropical storms and hurricanes cause problems in coastal areas, but these storms can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland. The Red Cross urges families to be prepared, safe and informed.
“As we watch the storm come closer to the Florida coast, we encourage our communities to get ready for the potential impact,” said Alison Taylor, regional chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of North Carolina. “The Red Cross stands ready to serve our community, and we encourage everyone to finalize their safety plans now.”
With that thinking in mind, the American Red Cross has tips to help you prepare:
MAKE A PLAN You may need to leave your home quickly and travel to a safe place outside the affected area. If authorities advise you to evacuate, be prepared to leave immediately with your evacuation kit (“go bag” of emergency supplies).
- Plan now if you will need help leaving or if you need to share transportation.
- Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them. Check with hotels, motels and to see if they are open.
- Check your local media, state, and county websites for local emergency information.P
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either. Pet sheltering may be limited, so please consider staying with friends or family to ensure space is available for you and your pets.
BUILD A KIT Assemble two kits of emergency supplies and a one-month supply of prescription medication. Start with this basic supply list:
- Stay-at-home kit (2 weeks of emergency supplies): Include everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks with items such as food, water, household cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products, and personal hygiene items.
- Evacuation kit (3 days of supplies in a “go bag”): Your second kit should be a lightweight, smaller version that you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. Include everything you need to be on your own for three days:
- Food and water
Personal hygiene items
Cleaning and disinfectant supplies that you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol and disinfecting wipes)
Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Cash or traveler’s check
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Food and water
- 1-month supply of prescription medication, as well as over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs and medical supplies or equipment. Keep these items together in a separate container so you can take them with you if you have to evacuate.
Some supplies may be hard to get, and availability will worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now.
BE INFORMED Have access to weather alerts and community notifications. Be sure that you can receive official notifications even during a power outage. Always follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
- Use the Red Cross interactive map to identify likely disasters in your areas
- Learn about your community’s response plan for each disaster
- Find contact information for state, local and tribal governments and agencies.
Those staying in an evacuation shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents, and other comfort items. They should also include any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and durable medical equipment and/or assistive technology if applicable. While the Red Cross can provide medical equipment and/or assistive technology loaners, it may take a little time depending on inventory on hand and availability of delivery systems to get them to the shelter.
If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org/shelter, check the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1 800-RED CROSS. Red Cross also encourages residents to check their county’s website for local shelter information.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to find shelter information and weather and emergency alerts for more than 35 different situations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
HURRICANE SAFETY People living in the path of the hurricane should listen to local officials and obey any evacuation orders. As the storm passes, folks should stay informed by listening to local news or NOAA weather radio for updates. Other safety steps include:
- Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning.
- A Hurricane Watch means conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
- A Hurricane Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
- Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. They often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.
- Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates and obey any evacuation orders from local officials.
- Be prepared to evacuate quickly. You can find shelters by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.
- Fill your car’s gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
- Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.
- Follow evacuation orders.
- Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Additional pet safety tips are available.