How to Prepare Your Family for Hurricane Florence

Safety tips, emergency kits and how to talk to your kids
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Residents are being urged to prepare for Hurricane Florence, a major storm expected to make landfall on the East Coast along a wide swath that ranges from the Carolinas to Virginia.

With Hurricane Florence approaching, The Salvation Army of Wake County has already begun to make preparations. Salvation Army of Wake County staff members are involved in daily meetings with Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters to receive updates and to make preparations accordingly.

The Salvation Army of Wake County has a mobile feeding unit that can serve up to 1,500 meals per day and could be deployed at anytime to assist those who are in need and first responders. Once the storm damage has been received and local needs have been determined, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service teams will serve throughout the impacted regions. In the short-term aftermath of the storm, Salvation Army officers and staff will focus primarily on immediate needs providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to impacted individuals, families and first responders.


Hurricane Safety Steps
  • Find a shelter by visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts real time information about the storm and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to
  • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest news reports and weather forecasts.
  • If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary.
  • Follow evacuation orders and do not attempt to return until officials say it is safe to do so. Take your home emergency kit with you if you evacuate. If you don’t have an emergency kit or communication plan, it’s not too late to create them — more on that below.
  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
  • Make sure you have a plan and supplies for your pets. Download the free Red Cross Pet First Aid App for emergency preparedness tips, a pet-friendly hotel locator and an animal hospital locator.
  • Wake County residents who have non-emergency questions or issues can contact Wake County at 919-856-7044 or

Create an Emergency Kit

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety recommends creating an emergency kit with enough water, food and supplies for three to seven days for each person and pet in your home. You most likely already have several of the items on the list. You just need to gather them and place them in a container. Keep in mind that you may be on your own several days after a disaster with emergency services unable to reach you. Water, power and phones may also be out.


  • If you evacuate, take your pets with you. Never leave your pets behind or tether them to poles or trees, which prevents them from escaping high waters and getting to safe areas.
  • Make sure all pets are wearing ID tags with up-to-date contact information. The ASPCA also recommends micro-chipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification, should collars or tags become lost.
  • Create a portable pet emergency kit with items including medical records, water, water bowls, pet food and your pet’s medications.
  • Choose a designated caregiver, such as a friend or relative outside the evacuation zone, who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.
  • Download the free ASPCA mobile app, which allows pet owners to store crucial pet records needed for boarding pets at evacuation shelters. It includes a disaster preparedness checklist.

During the Storm

  • Stay indoors.
  • Don’t walk on beaches, riverbanks or in flood waters.
  • Use flashlights in the dark if the power goes out. Do NOT use candles.
  • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
  • 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.

Talking to Your Kids

The uncertainty of hurricanes and other natural disasters can be frightening for all ages. Keep misinformation to a minimum and be open to listening and answering your child's concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents should "reassure children when able to do so, but if their fears are realistic, do not give false reassurance." Here are tips to help calm children's fears and prepare for the possible strike of Hurricane Florence.


Post-landfall, if you are safe and able to help the community, the Red Cross would greatly appreciate volunteer support. The Red Cross is in need of volunteer who can sign up for a 6-12 hour shift and help maintain/set up sheltering facilities, register clients, maintain client information, and serve meals, among other tasks. Licensed nurses and mental health professionals are encouraged to volunteer with Red Cross in the local community. Those who live in Eastern North Carolina and are interested in volunteering are urged to sign up at Following sign-up, a Red Cross team member will contact applicants directly. Due to the expected high-volume of applications, Red Cross asks for patience as the organization reaches out to volunteers.

Sources: American Red Cross, American Academy of Pediatrics, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Wake County Government, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Salvation Army of Wake County


Categories: Family, Giving Back, Solutions