‘Start preparing now’: Isaias preps start, Red Cross shares safety tips during pandemic


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The American Red Cross is urging people to start preparing for Hurricane Isaias now, and some people have already started to hit the stores to stock up.

“I’m always concerned,” Boiling Spring Lakes resident Aleta Ferguson said. “There is a potential for it to gain speed, so it always nice to be prepared.”

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People here in the Cape fear are perking up as Hurricane Isaias churns towards the U.S.

“We stay as ready as possible, because we have been through I can’t even tell you,” Navassa resident Carolyn Schatz said. “I’ve been here since ’79, so there have been a ton of them.”

James Jarvis with the Red Cross says they’re already well into they’re 120-hour timeline in storm preparations.

“We’re encouraging everyone to start preparing now,” Jarvis said. “So some of that is taking shelter trailers like what we have here. Making sure they’re fully stocked and ready to go.”

Jarvis says those shelter trailers will be stationed throughout the counties with cots, blankets and other basic supplies. For people at home, he encourages people to make a plan, have a kit and stay informed.

“We actually want you to prepare two kits this year,” he said. “The first one is your ‘stay at home’ kit.”

He says the “stay at home” kit should have your typical supplies like water, non-perishable food, medications and cash. This year, the Red Cross is also urging people to have a “COVID” kit.

“You want to make sure you have a face mask for every member of your family,” Jarvis said. “You want to have hand sanitizer. Disinfectants to keep your family safe while you’re on the road.”

Jarvis warns people that shelters are going to have much lower capacities due to pandemic health and safety guidelines.

“Because we need to make sure we can safely spread people out,” he said. “We need to have an isolation area any in case anyone is showing symptoms of COVID-19, or has anyone in the home who’s experienced it. So we’ll have an isolation area for the shelter. We’ll have a very robust health screening process.”

Some shoppers weren’t too concerned Friday, but others say they’re keeping an eye on thigns and getting ready just in case.

“Just don’t take it lightly,” Ferguson said.

Ahead of Isaias, Jarvis says shelters will be “shelters of last resort”, so if you can make alternative arrangements, he encourages you to do so.

You can find more hurricane preparedness tips and information on how to volunteer at nearby shelters here.