Get Prepared for Winter Weather

Charlotte, NC
Shah-Khan, Cynthia

The city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and a large portion of the rest of the state, are under a winter storm warning. The warning started Thursday morning and runs through Saturday morning, Jan. 23, as our area plans for wintry weather, including snow, ice and freezing rain.

The Charlotte Fire Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management urge residents to prepare for the winter-weather season now.

Emergency Response

  • If we have ice or snow on the roads, please stay off them.
  • Emergency vehicles need the roads clear so we can respond quickly and safely.  Adding additional traffic on roads can slow our response, or could put drivers in danger of having accidents, which leads to more calls.
  • Please only call 9-1-1 in an emergency. Again, we need the lines clear so people in need can get through.
  • If you see power lines down, do not go near them. Electricity could still be running through the lines, which is incredibly dangerous.

Be Prepared

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management urges all families to have an emergency supply kit.

The kit should contain:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day), nonperishable food and other supplies to last at least three to seven days
  • Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
  • Supply of prescription medicines
  • First-aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Manual can opener
  • Sleeping bag or blankets
  • Changes of clothes
  • Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
  • Cash and/or checkbook
  • Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records

Residents should review and update their homeowners' or renters' insurance policies to make sure they include coverage for accidental damage, natural disasters and, if necessary, flood insurance.

Small domestic pets can go to specially designated pet-friendly shelters. Pet shelters will be equipped with pet crates, but people should bring feeding dishes, food and water, immunization papers and other pet supplies. Go to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management website at for more information about family and pet preparedness.

Residents can stay informed during a storm by keeping a battery-powered radio for weather and evacuation information and knowing evacuation routes in the community. It's also important to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.

Home Heating Safety

Half of home heating fires happen during December, January and February.

  • If you are using a fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater, keep anything that can burn – including curtains, furniture, bedding and people – at least three feet away.
  • Put your heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Plug a heater directly into a wall outlet – do not use an extension cord.
  • Turn portable heaters off and unplug them before leaving a room or going to bed.

If your heater uses any kind of fuel, including kerosene or gas, or if you are using a fireplace or wood stove, make sure you have a carbon-monoxide detector installed. Test it to make sure it is working correctly.

And finally – test your smoke alarms to make sure they are working and the batteries are good. Smoke alarms should be tested at least monthly.

CharMeck Alerts

We also urge people living in Mecklenburg County, including the City of Charlotte and the smaller municipalities, to register for CharMeck Alerts.

CharMeck Alerts is an emergency and non-emergency notification system. This service lets you opt-in to receive notifications via text message, email, phone call, or through the mobile application based on up to five geographic locations. Go to to register.

During an event, you can also find more information by following us on Twitter - @charlottefire.