Shelter in Place Tips for Severe Weather

Shelter in Place

Many residents in or near the path of a major storm will shelter in place. Whether you’re choosing to stay or remaining is your only option, here are a few tips to make sure you and your home are prepared.

Tips to Shelter in Place

Before the storm arrives:

  • Whether you plan to shelter in place or not, you should stock your home with an emergency supply kit including food, water, batteries, lights, medicine, and more.
  • Stay informed by monitoring the storm via TV, radio, and internet.
  • Secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors to limit potential projectiles.
  • Lock your doors and close your windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers.
  • Secure your home by boarding up doors and windows.
  • Ensure you or a family member know how to turn off the gas, electricity, and water so you can turn off utilities if instructed to do so by authorities.
  • Set refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings and only open when absolutely necessary.
  • Prepare your phone and other electronic devices for the storm, including charging, updating, and backing up. Have spare wall and car chargers on hand.
  • Have cash available. If power is lost, ATMs and credit card readers may not be working.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets by cleaning and filling the bathtub, washing machine, and other large containers with water.


When the storm intensifies:

  • If you shelter in place, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm—winds will pick up again.
  • Do not venture outside for any reason.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.  


After the storm passes:

  • Only use generators outside when you shelter in place. Keep them more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
  • Avoid driving or walking through floodwaters. Six inches of moving water can knock down a person and a foot of fast-moving water can destabilize a vehicle.
  • Be aware of hazards relative to power lines, polluted water, and the possibility of fires.
  • Watch for and avoid snakes that have been displaced by floodwaters. 
  • If power is out, only open refrigerator or freezer if necessary and throw out food if the temperature has risen to 40 degrees or higher.


If your safety is at risk at any point:

  • Be prepared with a “go bag” for each family member should you need to be transported to a shelter.
  • Do not attempt to travel on your own.
  • Contact emergency responders immediately if your home becomes unsafe.


In North Carolina, call 211, visit the NC Department of Public Safety website for a list of shelters or download the ReadyNC mobile app.

In South Carolina, visit the SC Emergency Management Division website for a list of shelters or download the SC Emergency Manager app to find your zone based on GPS or by entering a physical address.  Get the free app in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.