May 7-13 is Hurricane Preparedness Week

Orange County Urges Residents to Update Emergency Plans and Kits

Orange County Emergency Services encourages residents to plan now for hurricanes by updating their emergency plans and supply kits. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November.

“Tropical storms and hurricanes can devastate homes and communities,” said Dinah Jeffries, Director of Emergency Services. “No county is safe when it comes to severe winds, flooding and damage that these storms bring. By planning ahead we can mitigate some of the damage and better prepare our community.”

Orange County has not been immune to hurricanes. During the latter half of the 20th century, three powerful late-season storms – Hazel (Oct. 15, 1954), Fran (Sept. 5, 1996), and Floyd (Sept. 16, 1990) – all left their marks on Orange County. Most recently, Hurricane Matthew resulted in flooding locally and more than $1.5 billion in damages statewide.

To encourage residents to prepare, Governor Roy Cooper has declared May 7-13 as Hurricane Preparedness Week. Orange County residents should take this time to review and practice their emergency plans.

“Preparing now before hurricane season begins, could make all the difference,” said Jeffries. “Making sure your family knows what to do, where to go and who to contact when disaster strikes will give you the peace of mind needed to survive a storm.”

Jeffries urges Orange County families and businesses to write down their plan and put copies of important documents, such as your driver’s license, insurance policies, medical records, and bank account statements, where they can be accessed in case of emergency. Assemble an emergency supplies kit that includes enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include:

  • First-aid kit
  • Weather radio and batteries
  • Prescription medicines
  • Sleeping bag or blankets
  • Changes of clothes
  • Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
  • Cash
  • Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records

Before a storm hits is the time to review and update homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies to ensure they include coverage for damage, natural disasters and flood insurance.

Jeffries encourages Orange County residents to register for OC Alerts, the community emergency notification program provided by Orange County, the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and OWASA that provides text, email and phone messages during emergencies. Registration is free and available at

“Our County has come a long way in preparing for severe weather, but that doesn’t mean a storm won’t devastate our communities,” said Jeffries. “It only takes one storm to cause severe damage. Planning ahead is the best way to prepare for the dangerous threats posed by hurricanes and tropical storms.”

More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on the ReadyNC mobile app and at