CHARLOTTE — As Hurricane Isaias inches closer, the American Red Cross recommends sheltering-in-place at home with family, friends or neighbors, if it is safe.
However, if you are asked to evacuate, please evacuate quickly and follow instructions from local officials. Consider staying at a hotel where you can remain isolated during the storm. A shelter should really be a last resort during the pandemic.
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 ReadyNC and their county’s website for local shelter information.
To find a shelter, continuously check your local county’s website, or visit redcross.org/shelter, check the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1 800-RED CROSS. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring face coverings, hand sanitizer, 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 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.
BE PREPARED FOR HURRICANE SEASON
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 and determine if these plans have been adapted because of COVID-19
- Find contact information for state, local and tribal governments and agencies, and for North Carolina Emergency Management.
- Twenty coastal counties have established new predetermined evacuation zones to simplify the coastal evacuation process in the event of an emergency. Everyone living or vacationing in North Carolina’s coastal areas should Know Your Zone.
- Because of COVID-19, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions and available resources and facilities.
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.
TORNADO SAFETY With this extreme weather, tornadoes are also possible. Tornadoes are violent: they can completely destroy well-made structures, uproot trees and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles. Although severe tornadoes are most common in the Plains States, they can happen anywhere. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe.
- Know the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.
- A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible.
- A tornado WARNING means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. GO TO YOUR SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY.
- Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.
- In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, however it is configured, is safe in a tornado.
HOW TO HELP Help people affected by disasters and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER To join us, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.