Personal Preparedness

Consider These Scenarios

Scenario 1

It is 1:30 AM, and you are in bed asleep. A tornado is moving toward your apartment just a few miles from campus. A tornado warning was issued. How will you be alerted?

Did you know that North Carolina is the leading state for nighttime tornado fatalities? Don't become a statistic. Make a plan. It could save your life.

Scenario 1

You are at home cooking dinner when you hear your cell phone ringing in the bedroom. You decide to run and grab it. You get to the room, and sit down for a minute while you talk. A few minutes later, you hear the smoke alarm. You walk back toward the kitchen and see thick, black smoke, flames climbing up the wall, and hear loud popping sounds. The food you were cooking has caught fire, and the fire is now out of control. What would you do? How will you recover if you lose everything?

Each year, individuals are impacted by disasters and not prepared. While no one can plan for everything or predict what will happen, taking time now to think about some basic items can go a long way when something does happen. Help keep you, your friends, and your family safe.

Resources To Prepare You

After you learn your surroundings at Appalachian State University and register for the AppState-ALERT system, there are ways in which individuals and families may prepare for emergencies. These sites are offered to you as resources to consider and use in your efforts to become prepared.

It is also helpful to be familiar with the App State campus (eg. locations, names, etc.). Here are a few links to help:

How You Can Prepare Now

Make a Plan

Think about your home. What do you need to do when an emergency occurs? Below are a few things to consider:

  • Evacuation: Think about how you will evacuate, and where you will go. Make sure you know at least two ways out of your residence hall, home or apartment. Think about other places you can stay in the event you cannot return to your home or apartment.
  • Know Who to Call: In the event of an emergency, your family and friends will be concerned about your wellbeing. It will be important to notify them that you are okay. Identify a family member or friend, preferably outside of the area you live, that you will notify after an emergency. This person can then serve as the contact for other family and friends. Remember, phone lines may be down. Be creative. Send an email, a text message, or call a person outside of the impacted area. Make sure others know who your contact person is so they will know if you are okay.
  • Pets: Make sure you think about your pets. What will they need, and where can they go? Thinking about these things ahead of time will help save valuable time during an emergency.
  • Shelter-in-Place: Quick, a tornado is coming. Do you know here to go? If you were told to shelter-in-place, would you know what to do? Think about the safest areas in your residence to take shelter. This may simply mean locking doors and windows, or it could mean taking shelter from a tornado.

Employees: In some cases, you may be asked to return to work following a disaster or significant emergency. Having a plan before an emergency or disaster occurs will help keep your family and home safe. This may include identifying an alternate location for your family to stay while you are away, or an agreement with neighbors or other family members to check on your home or family.

Build a Kit

Having an emergency kit for home and work is important. The kit should contain the essential items you and your family or friends may need following a disaster. Here is some information on how to build a kit for you and your family. Remember, you may be on your own for several hours or several days. Items to consider are food, water, clothing, power needs, medications, communication and information needs (ie: battery powered radio), important documents, and other essential items. If you have small children, think about special requirements such as diapers, baby formula, etc... If you have pets, think about pet food, and other special requirements.

Get Informed

Make sure you know how and when you will be alerted to emergencies, and where you can find updated information following a disaster. Get a NOAA Weather Alert Radio. This will alert you to tornado watches and warnings impacting your area. Keep a battery powered radio with spare batteries with you at home. This should be part of your kit, and will allow you to access up-to-date information if the power is lost.

Are You Insured?

Make sure you have insurance to cover losses that match the hazards you face. For example, if you rent an apartment or a house, you should have renters insurance. If you live in a flood prone area, you may need to consider flood insurance. Visit the NC Department of Insurance website for more information.

More Information


  • On-campus: Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management (828-262-4008)
  • Off Campus: Contact your local emergency management agency or the American Red Cross


  • On-Campus: Appalachian Police (828-262-8000) or 911
  • Off-Campus: 911