Plan and prepare for hurricanes

North Carolina's emergency response teams are ready for this hurricane season. Now, it's up to each of us keep our families and homes safe.

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Before, During and after the Storm
Family Preparedness
Important Numbers
Evacuation Routes
County-By-County Shelter Numbers
Save Your Pets
Protecting Your Property

What to Do Before, During and After the Storm

Before the Storm
  • Purchase the recommended emergency supplies
  • Monitor weather reports on ABC-11 for updated information
  • Store enough drinking water to last several days
  • Bring your pets indoors
  • Clear your yard of any loose or unsecured objects
  • Tape or board windows to reduce the risk of broken glass
  • Get extra cash. ATMs may be out of order after a severe storm
  • Keep your car fueled and ready to go
  • Leave your home if asked to evacuate

    During the Storm

  • Stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
  • Listen constantly to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
  • If in a mobile home, check tiedowns and evacuate immediately.
  • Store valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers on the highest level of your home.

    After the Storm

  • Remember that you may not have immediate access to your home. Emergency rescue crews, power crews, and other personnel may be attending to special needs. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down, and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.
  • Make sure that you have current identification. You may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.
  • Avoid driving, as roads may be blocked. Avoid sight-seeing, or entering a storm ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
  • Avoid downed power lines, even if they look harmless. Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.
  • DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area, until all gas lines area checked for leaks. (Keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand.)
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
  • Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help in repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees, and check plumbing. Remember that downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that can be a hazard.
  • Use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home, before any repairs are attempted.
  • In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects or snakes, that may have "come with the storm".
  • Telephone lines will likely be busy in the area; use a phone only for emergencies.
  • Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations. You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water, or boil your tap water.

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    Family Preparedness

    There are a number of things you must think about before a storm has even been forecast to reach your area. Just ask anyone who has been in an evacuation situation. It pays to be prepared. This way, you can concentrate on what is important when the time comes and a decision must be made of whether to move to higher ground. You can concentrate of the safety on yourself and your loved ones.

    Your Checklists
    Whether you decide to seek shelter in your own home, or you are forced to evaculate, there are a number of checklists you should have on hand to make sure you're prepared for hurricane season, or any severe weather situation.

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    Important Phone Numbers


  • English & Spanish: (888) 835-9966
  • Hearing Impaired: (800) 735-8262


  • NC Electric Cooperatives (all listed)
  • Duke Energy Progress 1-800-419-6356 Outage map
  • Duke Power 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766) Outage map


  • BellSouth: In-State (919) 780-2355, Out-of-State 1-800-767-2355
  • Sprint: 800-672-6242
  • Verizon: 800-483-1000, Spanish 800-743-2483

    In case of medical emergency or fire, please call 911.

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    Find out what roads are in your area. Which roads are more likely to be closed in a heavy rain event? What roads would you take as an alternative? When should you and your family decide to leave? Lay some plans out ahead of time and choose a friend or relative living further inland so you will have a safe place to stay.

    Watch Eyewitness News for accurate storm information, then use this evacuation guide for preferred routes inland. Hours shown are estimated time needed to evacuate from coastal communities during peak tourist periods.

    Currituck County
    Dare County
    Hyde County (Ocracoke)
    Carteret County
    Onslow County
    Pender County
    New Hanover County
    Brunswick County
    12 hours
    18 hours
    30 hours
    12 hours
    13 hours
    9 hours
    10 hours
    8 hours

    After Hurricane Floyd in 1999 turned Interstate 40 into a parking lot, state Department of Transportation officials are prepared to open all lanes of Interstate 40 for westbound traffic from Wilmington to the I-95 Interchange in Benson. Watch Eyewitness News or your hand carried radio for that announcement.

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    During an evacuation situation, the North Carolina Emergency Management Division works with The American Red Cross to set up shelters for your protection. While many shelters are pre-determined, they may change depending on the circumstances of the emergency.

    County Emergency Management Numbers
    Chatham County
    (919) 542-2811

    Cumberland County
    (910) 321-6736

    Durham City & County
    (919) 560-0660

    Edgecombe County
    (252) 641-7843

    Franklin County
    (919) 496-5005

    Granville County
    (919) 603-1339

    Halifax County
    (252) 583-2031

    Harnett County
    (910) 893-7580

    Hoke County
    (910) 875-5111

    Johnston County
    (919) 989-5059

    Lee County
    (919) 775-8279

    Mecklenburg County, Virginia
    Chase City
    (804) 372-5136

    Moore County
    (910) 947-6317

    Nash County
    (252) 459-9805

    Orange County

    Person County
    (336) 599-3136

    Pitt County
    (252) 830-6345

    Sampson County
    (919) 592-6308

    Vance County
    (252) 438-8264

    Wilson County
    (252) 399-2830

    Wake County
    (919) 856-7044

    Warren County
    (919) 257-3115

    Wayne County
    (919) 731-1416

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    Saving Your Pets

    All pet owners should make arrangements for their pets if they plan to evacuate. Public shelters will not accept pets. If you can't take your pets with you, arrangements should be made with a clinic or kennel.

    These arrangements should be made well in advance because available spaces fill up quickly as a storm approaches. If you plan to take your pets with you, remember to take these items for their care:

  • A secure pet carrier of appropriate size
  • Food / water bowls
  • A one week supply of dry food
  • Water in plastic containers
  • Pet medications and health records
  • Leashes (muzzles if necessary)
  • Newspaper and paper towels for cleanup

    Many hotels/motels will accept pets, especially in emergency situations. If you plan to go to a motel, determine in advance if pets are welcome and what, if any, special rules are applicable. It is also a good idea to photograph each of your pets and include these pictures with your health records. All pets should have current immunizations and ensure that they have a collar with proper identification.

    If you have to leave your pets at home, try to secure them in a safe area of your home. Otherwise, your pets may escape and become disoriented as a storm could alter landmarks and scent trails. Make sure the pet is wearing a collar with proper identification. Remember, don't leave dogs and cats in the same space. Even if they normally get along, things may change as the storm approaches. Some other things to remember are:

  • Place pets in ventilated safe rooms without windows
  • Leave at least a three-day food supply
  • Leave plenty of water
  • Leave access to elevated spaces in the event of flooding

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    Protecting Your Property

    If you live away from the coast and have a home along the coast, it's a good idea to have someone at that location watch your home for you. While it might be easy to get to the coast to take care of securing your home, you take a chance of getting caught in the evacuation back inland.

    Prior to the storm even approaching North Carolina:

    • See if your home is located in a flood-prone area. You can get this information from your local (city government), your insurance agent, or even your neighbors.
    • Take the time now to do some tedious tasks which will save you time in the long run. These include cleaning your gutters and storm drains. This is to make sure you have no barriers to block water flow once it starts getting heavy.
    • Prune your trees. Remove any dead limbs. You want wind to be able to flow through your tree limbs to lessen the possibility of them being blown over in a heavy wind situation.
    • Take stock of what loose objects you have around the outside of your house. The barbeque grill, birdfeeder, bicycles, toys, etc. Do you have any hanging plants? Where would you stow these things when you have to be basically on 'automatic pilot' in an evacuation situation?
    • Speaking of loose, check the chimney, roof, walls, and foundation of your home for stability. Does your home need to be bolted to its foundation?
    • Learn now how to shut off the water, gas, and electricity to your home.
    • Is your insurance up to date?
    • Where are your important papers?
    • Take an inventory of your home's contents. Take pictures or videos. Put them in a safe place.
    • What would you use to secure your water heater and major appliances? How about those tall and heavy pieces of furniture? Pictures or mirrors?

    What You Need to Know about Insurance

    When a storm does come our way, so will insurance adjustors, but rest assured they will be busy.

    One of the biggest concerns after a storm-- downed trees and who pays for damage. Most companies will pay to have trees removed from structures like your home or car. But it's up to you to pay to have trees removed from your yard.

    The other concern is inland flooding. Your regular homeowner's insurance won't cover this damage. You can purchase flood insurance through your agent, but it's too late to help you after the storm hits. It must to be bought 30 days before a storm. Call your agent to see if you live in a flood prone area.

    Insurance experts say don't make permanent repairs until you talk to your agent. But sometimes you have to do some Band-Aid work to make your home livable. If you do have to make temporary repairs, keep all receipts.

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