Author: Dabney Weems
The Department of Public Safety is charged with preventing, protecting and preparing North Carolinians from actual or potential dangers. While much attention is placed on natural disasters, those aren’t the only instances when the public needs to be protected.
The department is a great resource for safety tips to help you and your family stay safe. To serve our growing Spanish-speaking population, many of these resources also are available in Spanish.
The first step to being ready for disasters is to have an action plan in place so you and household members know what to do during an emergency. Learn your area’s risks of floods, fires, tornadoes and other disasters. Knowing this can help you tailor your emergency plan.
An emergency plan describes how members of a household should respond during an emergency. Include instructions for where to go, what to do and how to reconnect during a disaster. Once you’ve created an emergency plan, be sure to practice it with everyone in your family – that means your pets, too. Filling out a family emergency plan is a great start.
Remember to discuss plans for when school is in session or when an emergency happens while family members are in different locations. Not all disasters give advance notice!
No matter where you live, make sure your plan covers these questions:
- Are you located in a hurricane evacuation zone ?
- Are you in a flood-prone area that may need to evacuate in heavy rains?
- If you need to evacuate, do you know where to go and the route?
- Are you responsible for others (seniors, children or pets)?
Having critical supplies gathered together before disasters strike is a simple way to ensure you are disaster ready. An emergency kit is a collection of items that is packed and ready to go in the case of an evacuation. Be sure to also include items for infants, pets and members of your household with disabilities. These supplies should be able to sustain every member of your household for at least three to seven days.
Know Your Zone
Know Your Zone, North Carolina’s new system of coastal evacuation zones, is a tiered evacuation system that focuses on those areas within the state’s 20 easternmost counties that are most vulnerable to impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazards. The program was developed to simplify the evacuation process by assigning lettered evacuation zones in each county, based on each areas level of flood risk .
While hurricane season officially runs from June 1 – Nov. 30, tropical storms can develop at other times of the year, as well. Take the time to prepare ahead of time, so you are ready whenever a storm may strike.
Additional Safety Information
More information on a variety of topics is available on the department’s web site including general advice, home, work, school and travel safety. This repository of safety tips shares important details on how everyone can keep themselves safe no matter what situation they are in.
Safety Tips (each page is available in English and Spanish)
In addition to finding information on how to prepare for emergencies, the ReadyNC.org website has information about how to stay informed during emergencies, as well as what to do to recover afterwards. Visit this website to find real-time information on which areas are evacuated, where shelters are opened, how to report power outages and more. Not only is information available in English and Spanish, but many of the topics include videos in American Sign Language for those in the deaf and hard of hearing community.
To keep up with the various ways NCDPS is working to keep North Carolina safe, follow us on social media. Information about juvenile justice programs, prisons, disaster preparedness and recovery, Alcohol Law Enforcement initiatives, training activities, National Guard missions and more can be found by following @NCPublicSafety on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Important weather updates, recommended actions, safety tips and more can be found by following @NCEmergency on Twitter and Facebook. When storms threaten, NC Emergency Management posts frequent instructions in English and Spanish to keep people informed and tell them how to stay safe. Safety tips, blogs and other news are also regularly shared on the platforms.
Press conferences by state officials during emergency activations are streamed live on the DPS website. Viewers learn the current status of the emergency and preparations or actions they should take to remain safe. Realtime interpretation is provided in Spanish as well as American Sign Language Interpretation.
Watch current or previous press conferences on the web.