There is not a county-wide evacuation order in effect.

shelter flood map

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In the event of an emergency, New Hanover County may order residents to evacuate from dangerous areas and may choose to open shelters. The type of emergency and area affected will determine evacuation areas, as well as where and how many shelters will be opened.

When creating your emergency preparedness plan, include plans for both evacuating and staying put, also referred to as “sheltering in place.”  Read more about preparing for each of these scenarios in the panels below. More information is also available at ReadyNC.org.

A variety of emergencies may cause an evacuation. In some instances you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning ahead is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances. Be prepared before disaster strikes:

*Know Your Zone

In an emergency like a hurricane, local officials may call for evacuations. Know Your Zone is a planning tool developed by the state of North Carolina in collaboration with counties, that outlines flooding risk from storm surge. Visit the Know Your Zone web page to view your risk for storm surge flooding from hurricanes.

Know Your Zone is one of many planning tools New Hanover County will use when assessing risk of storm impacts. County officials will also consider inland flood risks and other impacts from a storm to make evacuation decisions, and those will be communicated to residents prior to the storm’s impact. Signing up for the county’s emergency alerts is the quickest way to receive this information. Residents should also take time now to review evacuation routes and plan where you’ll go if evacuation is needed.

There may be situations when it is best to stay put to stay away from possible dangers outside, also referred to as “sheltering in place.” In some cases, staying put and creating a barrier between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside, a process known as “sealing the room,” is a matter of survival.

Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger. Check this website, TV, and radio for emergency information and instructions. If you see a lot of trash in the air, or if emergency responders say the air is badly tainted, you may be asked to “seal the room” where you are.

The process used to seal the room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is a type of sheltering in place that requires preplanning. If local officials instruct residents to seal the room:

  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning, and forced air heating systems.
  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with 2-4 mil. thick plastic sheeting and duct tape.
    • Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time. Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
    • Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.
  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio, and check this website often for official news and instructions as they become available.