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Find Help During Hurricane Florence 

Key resources for shelter, safety and more 

Three children in a boat are rescued by volunteers during Hurricane Florence

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Volunteers help rescue three children from their flooded home Friday in James City, N.C.  

Hurricane Florence is expected to move across the Carolinas this weekend, bringing dangerous rain, wind and flooding to the region. For those in affected areas, the following resources can help:

State resources

Options for finding shelter

  • FEMA: Text SHELTER and your zip code (e.g., SHELTER 12345) to 4FEMA (43362) to locate an open emergency shelter near you. You can also look up shelters on the FEMA app
  • American Red Cross: Visit the Red Cross website to find a shelter in your area.

Helpful hotlines

  • Seeking shelter, food or water, or have nonemergency needs? Contact United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline by dialing 211 from a cellphone or landline. The 24/7 hotline is free and available in 180 languages.
  • Coping with emotional distress? The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress as a result of a natural disaster. Call 800-985-5990 (TTY for deaf/hearing impaired: 800-846-8517) or text TalkWithUs or Hablanos to 66746 for assistance in English or Spanish.
  • Evacuating with pets? Due to state health and safety regulations, pets are not allowed in many shelters and evacuation centers (including Red Cross evacuation centers). To find a pet-friendly hotel, visit pet-friendly-hotels.net (or dial 866-966-3046) or visit bringfido.com (or dial 877-411-FIDO).
  • Suspect fraud? Report disaster-related fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 866-720-5721.

Traveling by air

Use FlightAware to check delays and cancellations by origin airport, destination airport or airline. You can also track your flight number using FlightAware's MiseryMap. As of Friday afternoon, the following airports were experiencing closures (all times Eastern):

  • Rocky Mount-Wilson Rgnl (KRWI) Closed until midnight Saturday night

  • Coastal Carolina Regional (KEWN) Closed until Sunday at 6 a.m.

  • Florence Rgnl (KFLO) Closed until Sunday at 6 a.m.

  • Wilmington Intl (KILM) Closed until Sunday at noon

  • Berkeley County (KMKS) Closed until Monday at 8 a.m.

  • Pitt-Greenville (KPGV) Closed until Monday at 8 a.m.

  • Seymour Johnson Afb (KGSB) Closed until Monday at 10 a.m.

  • Charleston Intl/AFB (KCHS) Closed until Monday at 7:59 p.m.

Need to reschedule your flight? Airlines began offering fee waivers for those affected passengers this week — many have since been updated. Be sure to check the individual policy regarding rebooking travel originally scheduled for the following dates:

Traveling by car

  • Roadside assistance: AAA is advising that roadside assistance may be limited and/or delayed across the Carolinas. Check the AAA website for additional information, including store closures.
  • Gas: GasBuddy is staying on top of fuel shortages in the hurricane-affected areas and tracking the percentage of stations without fuel in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. You can use its crowdsourced fuel-availability tracker by downloading the free GasBuddy app on a smartphone or tablet.

Traveling by train or bus

  • Amtrak: Amtrak cancellations began Wednesday for service on trains south of Washington, D.C., to Florida and continue through Sunday, Sept. 16. The Auto Train that runs between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla., has been canceled. Train service has been canceled on the Silver Meteor between New York and Miami; on the Crescent from New York to New Orleans, on the Carolinian from New York to Charlotte; and on the Piedmont from Raleigh to Charlotte, N.C., according to an Amtrak spokesperson. Service is running on the Palmetto from New York to Washington, D.C., but will not continue on to Savannah, Ga., she said. For service updates, check the Amtrak website or call 800-USA-RAIL.
  • Greyhound: Greyhound service has also been affected. Check its website for specific cancellations and interruptions. Call 833-233-8507 to reschedule your trip.

Say you’re safe — and stay updated

  • Safe and Well: In the wake of a disaster, the American Red Cross encourages all those affected to register on the Safe and Well website. This secure, easy-to-use tool allows concerned loved ones all across the country to search for registrants’ posted messages, to see that they are out of harm’s way.
  • Emergency! app: Another option is to download the Red Cross Emergency! app by texting “GETEMERGENCY” to 90999 or installing free from the App Store or Google Play. Use the app to post a message to social media accounts to let friends and family know that you’re safe.
  • Monitor Twitter for updates: Useful accounts include @FEMA, @FEMAespanol, @GeorgiaEMA, @NCEmergency, and @NHC_Atlantic or @NWSNHC for National Hurricane Center updates. 

Medicare and Medicaid resources

  • Medical equipment: If you are a Medicare beneficiary and the medical equipment you need has been lost or damaged because of the storm, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is waiving some of the procedures you would normally have to follow to get replacement equipment, including prosthetics, orthotics and other supplies. Contact 800-633-4227 for help.

  • Plan changes: CMS has also created some special enrollment opportunities for Medicare patients affected by the hurricane who need to change their health and/or prescription drug plans if they have been displaced from their homes. Contact 800-633-4227 to get details.

  • Dialysis treatment: In addition, CMS is working with the End Stage Renal Disease Network of the South Atlantic to assess the status of dialysis facilities in the areas affected by the storm and help them get generators, water and other supplies they need to remain open. They are also helping patients who have evacuated receive dialysis services where they have relocated. You can get more information by calling the network’s hotline at 800-524-7139 or the Kidney Community Emergency Response program hotline at 866-901-3773.

  • Chemotherapy and cancer treatment: If you have original Medicare, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) can help you find other cancer care providers. Call NCI at 800-422-6237. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare health plan, contact your plan to see what temporary changes it will make to its rules in an emergency or disaster.

For veterans

The following VA national hotline numbers are operational:

  • Veteran Hurricane Hotline: 800-507-4571

    For veterans who need assistance or family members trying to locate their veteran relatives  

  • Employee Disaster Hotline: 866-233-0152

    To connect VA employees with their facilities, whether to understand the facility’s status or to provide their own status and whether they need help

  • Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Hotline: 800-827-1000

    For non-health-related emergency assistance

  • Pharmacy customer care: 866-400-1243

    For emergency assistance with prescriptions

Go to va.gov for updates on the status of VA medical centers, clinics and facilities. Additional information can be found in the “Disaster Assistance to Veterans” brochure.

Disaster assistance

  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are accessible facilities and offices you can visit to learn more about FEMA and other disaster assistance programs. Use FEMA's DRC Locator to find the center nearest you. 
  • For questions about FEMA services or how to apply, call the FEMA Helpline from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, 7 days a week: 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362); TTY 800-462-7585; 711 or VRS 800-621-3362. 

Volunteer

  • To volunteer or donate aid go to nvoad.org
  • The Red Cross is also asking for blood donations. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

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