North Carolina and other areas along the East Coast are feeling the impact of Hurricane Irma starting today. The combination of wind gusts and rain could cause flooding and power outages.
Here are a few easy steps that you and your family can take to stay safe.
Shelter and family
If you cannot return home and need shelter, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
Communications may be impacted. Consider asking a loved one in an unaffected area to be the central communications hub for your family. The American Red Cross offers additional assistance with finding family members. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the ARC Safe and Well site: www.safeandwell.org
- Turn around. Don’t drown. A car can be swept away in only 2 feet of water.
- Do not swim or play in floodwaters. It takes as little as 6 inches of water to sweep people off their feet.
- Keep kids and pets away from floodwaters. These can be full of hidden hazards such as sewage, bacteria, insects and animals.
- Dispose of any food that comes into contact with floodwaters.
- Stay off the roads if you don’t need to travel.
Power outage safety
- Stay away from all downed power lines.
- When the power goes out, use flashlights, not candles, to light your way. Unattended candles can create a fire hazard.
- Keep your fridge and freezer doors closed. A closed fridge will keep food cold for about four hours and a full freezer will keep food safe for about 48 hours.
- Play fun games and activities to keep your children entertained without the use of electronics.
- Charge your cell phone in case you need it for an emergency. Consider getting an external rechargeable power pack to extend the battery life of your phone.
- Never use a generator in any enclosed space, including your house or garage. Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and replace batteries if needed.
Novant Health remains committed to keeping locations open to care for the community in the event of serious weather. Click here to find a medical facility near you.