Emergency Preparedness for Community Members

Disasters can happen anywhere, at any time, and without warning! Every year North Carolina weather has the potential to cause hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, ice storms, flooding, landslides, and wildfires. We might experience other disasters such as hazardous material leaks, earthquakes, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 
You are responsible for your own preparedness. During a disaster there will be great demand on emergency responders, and it will take more time for them to handle all the different situations resulting from the disaster. You can help by being prepared to take care of yourself (and your family) for as long as possible.
The time to prepare is before a disaster happens.


Emergency Preparedness

  • ReadyNC: Extensive information on how you can: Plan, Prepare and Stay Informed. Many of the topics include ASL videos with captions. 
  • Know Your Zone: Do you live, work and/or take vacation in one of 20 coastal counties? Please check the Know Your Zone to find out which zone you are in so you can be prepared to evacuate when the announcement is made. Scroll down to the bottom for the ASL & Spanish links.
  • Flooding: Heavy rains, or hurricanes pushing ocean storm surge onto the land can flood homes and people trying to escape the rising water can be trapped in their attics. Live in an area at risk for flooding, prepare by storing some tools in the attic to help you break out onto the roof.
  • Ready.gov: Various information on how you can be more prepared for different types of weather.
  • National Hurricane Preparedness
  • American Red Cross: How to Prepare for Emergencies.



  • County Emergency Management Agencies: Find county website links, phone numbers, social media options, and alerting services you can sign up to receive. 
  • Many local TV News stations offer alerting services for weather, traffic, and breaking news, via text or email. Go to their website to sign up.
  • Weather Alert Radio: North Carolina residents with hearing loss can receive a free Weather Alert Radio with alerting devices – contact the Community Accessibility Specialist at the DSDHH Regional Center serving your county for more information and to apply.
  • FEMA.gov app has features which you can sign up to receive your county weather alerts (additional counties in NC and even other states can be added), find out where the shelter is, check information about FEMA services, learn emergency preparedness tips, and more. You can download that app through App Store or Google Play.


Emergency Information

  • ReadyNC: Scroll down to “Emergency Information” for links to current information on a variety of topics such as: Weather, Road Conditions, Shelters, and more.
  • NC211: Check resources on website or dial 211. If using a relay service, 1-888-892-1162.




What to do if you need assistance

  • Call 911 if situation is life-threatening. Do not call for general information. Many 911 centers can receive text messages.
  • Use whistle or flashlight to get someone’s attention.
  • Post a “Help” sign on your window or even paint it on a wall, garage door, or roof.


  • For information and assistance in preparing for an emergency or disaster event, contact the Community Accessibility Specialist at the DSDHH Regional Center serving your county.