National Emergency Preparedness Month

In September of 1989, the remnants of Hurricane Hugo wreaked havoc on Charlotte.  

Hurricane Irma, by all counts a dangerous and record setting hurricane, is churning its way towards the United States.  Meteorologists predict the storm will have an impact on the Charlotte area, and another Atlantic storm, Jose, is expected to strengthen as well.  The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library wants all of our customers to be safe and prepared, so we’re sharing our verified resources and tips.

Stay informed by signing up for emergency notifications via CharMeck Alerts, Mecklenburg County’s mobile alert messaging service.  The National Weather Service also has a list of both free and fee-based mobile alert services. 

The City of Charlotte lists vital information for local and national resources in the event of any natural or man-made emergency.

Two of the most reliable resources are and the Red Cross.  Download evacuation plans in English for parents and children to keep in your backpacks or wallets.

For the latest Hurricane Irma updates, go to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Association. 

We’ve also hand-picked a few books:

  • Bonnie Schneider’s Extreme Weather offers survivors’ stories and is an excellent last-minute resource.  
  • Kathy Harrison’s Just in Case is a comprehensive preparedness guide geared toward families and offers both short and long-term survival strategies. 
  • Extreme “preppers,” as they’re often called, will enjoy The Prepper’s Cookbook, which makes use of canned, dried, and dehydrated foods for more familiar meals. 
  • If you find yourself in a truly survivalist situation, Les Stroud’s Survive! will teach you how to build a fire or shelter.

You can also click here for more titles from our disaster preparation collection. 

Discuss with your family an evacuation plan that includes:

  • Safe exits from your home
  • Alternative evacuation routes in case of traffic jams;
  • A centralized meeting place in the event you are separated

Prepare a kit filled with water, food, extra necessary medications, and first aid supplies to last you for 72 hours with no electricity and /water.  For more information about how to build an emergency kit, visit

Follow a similar plan for your four-legged companions, including enough food and water, carrier, leash, collar, and ID.  If your pet is microchipped, contact your vet to verify your emergency contact information is up to date in case of separation. 

After a disaster, you may need shelter, food, or other assistance.  Find reliable organizations here.  You can also search for open shelters at the Red Cross.

In the aftermath of a disaster, if your home or property suffers damages, don’t become a victim.  File a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Justice.  Search for a trustworthy home repair business or report a suspicious one to the Better Business Bureau

Disasters are impossible to predict, but year-round preparation will help you recover quickly.  Set aside a few minutes once a month to review your evacuation plan, and add an extra can of soup to your grocery cart each trip.  Your actions taken today could save your life.