Tracking Isaias: Red Cross encourages people to take steps to get prepared


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) The American Red Cross and its community partners are closely monitoring Isaias and its potential impact on North Carolina.

The time to get ready is now and because of COVID-19, getting prepared will look a little different than in other years.

Disasters won’t stop, even during a pandemic. Hurricanes cause problems for people in coastal areas, but these storms can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland.

People living inland should get ready too.

The American Red Cross has tips to help you prepare:

MAKE A PLAN  In light of the coronavirus, you may have to adjust any previous plans you made. You may need to leave your home quickly and travel to a safe place outside the affected area. If authorities advise you to evacuate, be prepared to leave immediately with your evacuation kit (“go bag” of emergency supplies).

  • Plan now if you will need help leaving or if you need to share transportation.
  • Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them. Check and see if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they have symptoms or people at higher risk in their home, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open.
  • Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update emergency plans due to Coronavirus. Check your local media, state, and county websites for local emergency information.
  • Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either. Pet sheltering may be limited, so please consider staying with friends or family to ensure space is available for you and your pets. Pets are a part of your family, so please use resources such as RedRover to find out where they can safely stay.

BUILD A KIT   Assemble two kits of emergency supplies and a one-month supply of prescription medication. Start with this basic supply list:

  • Stay-at-home kit (2 weeks of emergency supplies): Include everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks with items such as food, water, household cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products, and personal hygiene items
  • Evacuation kit (3 days of supplies in a “go bag”): Your second kit should be a lightweight, smaller version that you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. Include everything you need to be on your own for three days:
  • Food and water
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Cleaning and disinfectant supplies that you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol and disinfecting wipes)
  • Cloth face coverings for everyone in your household who can wear one safely. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others in public. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without help.
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s check
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • 1-month supply of prescription medication, as well as over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs and medical supplies or equipment. Keep these items together in a separate container so you can take them with you if you have to evacuate.

 Some supplies may be hard to get, and availability will worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now.

BE INFORMED  Have access to weather alerts and community notifications. Be sure that you can receive official notifications even during a power outage. Always follow the directions of your state and local authorities.

  • Use the Red Cross interactive map to identify likely disasters in your areas
  • Learn about your community’s response plan for each disaster and determine if these plans have been adapted because of COVID-19
  • Find contact information for state, local and tribal governments and agencies, and for North Carolina Emergency Management.
  • Twenty coastal counties have established new predetermined evacuation zones to simplify the coastal evacuation process in the event of an emergency.  Everyone living or vacationing in North Carolina’s coastal areas should Know Your Zone.
  • Because of COVID-19, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions and available resources and facilities.

Those staying in the evacuation shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents, and other comfort items. They should also include any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and durable medical equipment and/or assistive technology if applicable. While Red Cross can provide medical equipment and/or assistive technology loaners, it may take a little time depending on inventory on hand and availability of delivery systems to get them to the shelter. 

If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit, check the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1 800-RED CROSS. Red Cross also encourages residents to check their county’s website for local shelter information.  

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APPDownload the free Red Cross Emergency App to find shelter information and weather and emergency alerts for more than 35 different situations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

HURRICANE SAFETYPeople living in the path of the hurricane should listen to local officials and obey any evacuation orders. As the storm passes, folks should stay informed by listening to local news or NOAA weather radio for updates. Other safety steps include: 

Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning.  

  • Hurricane Watch means conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.  
  • Hurricane Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.  
  • Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. They often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.  
  • Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates and obey any evacuation orders from local officials.  
  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly. You can find shelters by visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.  
  • Fill your car’s gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.  
  • Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.  
  • Follow evacuation orders. 
  • Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Additional pet safety tips are available.

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