Frequent ice storms visit Charlotte-Mecklenburg during the winter. Ice and snow storms can shut down the Queen City for a few days with power outages from downed tree limbs. Be prepared for these adverse conditions, whether it’s snow, ice, tornado-strength winds, flash flooding, accidental disasters or terrorism. Being prepared and getting the family involved can reduce the risk of injuries. Get started with these five area resources.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management
600 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management department offers extensive educational resources for any type of disaster. On the left side of the website homepage are four sub-topics: Be Prepared, In An Emergency, After A Disaster and Hazards. The “Be Prepared” section offers advice and direction for tornado safety, bomb threats, family preparedness, pets, emergency kits, food, water, fire, flooding, winter storms, car emergencies and more. A basic emergency kit should include at least the following items:
- Water — one gallon of water for each family member for three days
- Food — three-day supply of non-perishable food
- NOAA Weather Radio — battery-powered or hand crank with extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Face mask to filter contaminated air
- Wrench to turn off the utilities
- Manual can opener
- Area maps
- Cell phone with chargers
- Flash light with extra batteries
The website also includes links to national, state and city organizations. For instance, the Charlotte Fire Department conducts educational seminars on preparedness and fire safety. There are resources helping parents to teach their kids about emergency preparedness, such as preparing a family emergency plan, getting ready for emergencies, templates for listing local emergency numbers, songs and games to learn personal information, family check list and more. Make sure to include the children in the emergency preparedness process.
Child and Family Development
10516 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28210
Child and Family Development is a multi-disciplinary, pediatric clinic in Charlotte serving children and families. The clinic also specializes in children with disabilities and their families. In the event of a disaster, such as losing a home to a fire, the team of specialists and therapists offer counseling and intervention techniques for children. Experiencing a natural disaster and coping with the aftermath of destruction can be traumatic to young children. A trained professional can help facilitate coping and the recovery process.
2425 Park Road
Charlotte, NC 28203
www.redcross.org/nc/charlotteThe Carolina Piedmont American Red Cross provides disaster relief, health and safety training, blood supply and aid to military families. The organization provides classes in life-saving skills and first aid. It will contact and help locate loved ones, and find open shelters. Its online Disaster and Safety Library contains information on floods, chemical emergencies, flu, pet safety, food storage, heat waves, house fires, power outages and more. It now has a new, retail product line, offering emergency preparedness kits, radios and emergency bath tub water storage.
Northern Tool and Equipment
9401 Statesville Road
Charlotte, NC 28269
Northern Tool and Equipment in Charlotte offers a variety of emergency storm supplies. Power outages are seen frequently in this area as a result of snow and ice storms or strong winds during tornado season. Generators, even portable ones, will provide electricity to run the lights, refrigerator or heater. Look for brands such as Honda, North Star or Generac. Customers must know wattage requirements to determine generator size. Learn how to operate the equipment before an emergency occurs. Have the proper fuel and charged batteries. Generators start at $300 and upwards to several thousands.
188 N. Trade St.
Matthews, NC 28105
Renfrow Hardware is located in Matthews, a suburb of Charlotte. Thomas Renfrow set up shop shortly after the Civil War, when Matthews claimed 200 residents. Today, the hardware, farming and garden supply store services some 30,000 people. Owner David Blackley says residents are woefully unprepared for emergencies. In the event of a power outage, this is the place to be. Attached to every electrical lighting fixture in the store is a fuel lamp. Carbon paper is used for customer receipts when the cash registers have no electricity. The store motto is being prepared, whether it’s a flat tire, a back-up heat source for a well house or having a manual can opener in the kitchen drawer. Blackley offers more tips on being prepared for emergencies:
- Keep a bicycle pump in the car trunk to inflate a flat tire
- Learn how to use chain saws and generators before an emergency
- Turn the power off for a day to test back-up plans
- Keep emergency phone numbers written down and available
- Keep matches and a lighter in the emergency kit