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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Emergency Preparedness

Know What Can Happen and Where it Can Happen

image of a hurricane

In preparing for weather emergencies, knowing what can happen depends a lot on where you live and the time of the year. March, April and May are the prime months for tornado activity in North Carolina, but tornadoes have touched down in every county and in every month. Expect and plan for winter storms in December, January and February, but know too they can occur in early March. Winter storms impact mountain counties more than the coastal counties and ice storms can wreak havoc from Manteo to Murphy. Hurricane season runs from June through November for North Carolinians, with the most active months being August, September and October.

If you live in the mountains, the chances of getting a direct hit from a hurricane are slim, but a dying hurricane will bring heavy rains to these areas and can result in flooding. From Currituck County to Brunswick County, coastal residents should know the precautions and actions to take during hurricane season. While the Metrolina area is inland from the coast, mention the name Hugo in the area and residents will tell you many stories.

By identifying the hazards that have happened or could happen in your area you have a head start on emergency planning.

Local Emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the local plans and recommendations for each. Share the hazard-specific information with family members and include pertinent materials in your family disaster plan. Some counties have special registries for people who require alternative means of communication when notified of emergency situations. Find out from local government emergency management how you will be notified for each kind of disaster, both natural and man-made. You should also inquire about alert and warning systems for workplace, schools and other locations.

Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast information via emergency radios and TV stations. Other communities may use a special siren as an alert or use a call list for telephone notification. And on rare occasions, some communities send volunteers or emergency workers door-to-door. You can see, methods of emergency warning vastly differs and can depend on a person’s geographical location.

For the Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind person, some of these methods would not be the best notification method used. That is why it is important for the person with hearing loss to take responsibility and act before emergencies occur.

Depending upon the nature of the emergency and your circumstances, one of the first important decisions is whether to stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Your local emergency management office should be able to provide you with information about shelters and how they are set up when disaster strikes. Most often, shelter locations are determined by the event and what facilities are available. When this occurs, information is passed via broadcasts just like emergency alerts.

For emergency events requiring people to stay in place, again your local emergency management office should be able to assist. The important thing to remember is planning before the event occurs is of absolute importance. Far too often, people entering an emergency event do so unprepared and therefore are often left feeling lost and onfused. To assist with your planning, the following links can provide you with information:

Some additional resources for Emergency Preparedness are as follows:

For more information on Emergency Preparedness in North Carolina, contact a DSDHH regional center. Ready NC Connect NC