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Students, faculty, and staff should plan for the unexpected by creating personal emergency plans. It is a good idea to talk with your parents and family members about what to do in the event of an emergency while at UNC. Everyone should be prepared to put their personal preparedness plans into action if the need arises.

It is critical to make a personal preparedness plan well in advance of an emergency. Your plan should be developed with your family/friends and cover the following:

For plan templates, additional information, and helpful tips to assist creating your emergency plan, please visit

  • Use text messages, social media and email to connect with friends and family during emergencies.
    • Mobile networks can become overwhelmed during emergencies, making it hard to make and get phone calls. Text messages require less bandwidth, which means they can be transmitted more reliably during situations when many people are trying to use their mobile phones at the same time.
    • Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can also be an effective way to update family and friends during emergencies. Facebook’s Safety Check feature allows users to easily post a status update indicating that they are safe during a time of disaster.
  • Register with American Red Cross’ Safe and Well site to let family and friends know you’re okay. Concerned family and friends can search this list to find their loved one’s name, an “as of” date and a message from you.
  • Have an emergency charging option for your phone and other mobile devices. Smartphones have become a vital tool to get emergency alerts and warnings so it’s important to make sure you can keep them powered up in an emergency.
    • At home: Prior to severe weather make sure that all of your electronic devices are fully charged. If the power goes out save battery power by minimizing device use. Keep a back-up power source on hand.
    • In your car: Keep a portable phone charger in your car at all times and consider purchasing a back-up power supply to keep in your car as well.
    • Change the settings on your phone to low power mode or place it on airplane mode to conserve energy.
  • Store important documents on a secure, password-protected jump drive or in the cloud.
    • There are several apps for mobile devices that let you use your phone’s camera as a scanning device. This lets you capture electronic versions of important documents such as insurance policies, identification documents and medical records. Don’t forget to include your pet’s information.
    • Back-up your computer to protect photos and other important electronic documents.
    • Scan old photos to protect them from loss.
    • Keep your contacts updated and synced across all of your channels, including phone, email and social media. This will make it easy to reach out to the right people quickly to get information and give updates. Consider creating a group listserv of your top contacts.
    • Create a group chat via a texting app or a thread for family/friends/coworkers to communicate quickly during a disaster.

Remember, during a disaster what is good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today. If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:

  • Create a buddy system in case you are not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
  • Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
    • Find pet friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit.
    • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
    • Consider an out-of-town friend or relative.
  • Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
  • Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up to date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger!
Determine any special assistance you may need and include in your emergency plan.

  • Create a support network of family, friends and others who can assist you during an emergency and share your disaster plans with them. Practice your plan with them.
  • Make sure they have an extra key to your home, know where you keep your emergency supplies and how to use lifesaving equipment or administer medicine.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
  • If you have a communication-related disability, note the best way to communicate with you.
  • Do not forget your pets or service animals. Not all shelters accept pets so plan for alternatives.