Emergency Preparedness

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    At times, the City of Asheville may be exposed to hazards which have the potential for disrupting the community, causing damage and creating casualties. Natural hazards include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and severe storms. The city may also face the threat of hazardous material accidents involving the transportation, manufacture and storage of chemicals on the highways and in the city's industrial areas. Potential hazards are also possible related to the quality of the city's drinking water supply when damage to the water distribution system is involved.

    To address these potential threats, departments of the City of Asheville prepare for, respond to and perform emergency response functions necessary during times of natural or man-made disasters or in times of national emergencies. These measures typically subscribe to the four phases of emergency management which are:

    • Mitigation - Those activities which eliminate or reduce the probability of disaster.
    • Preparedness - Those activities which governments, organizations and individuals develop to save lives and minimize damage.
    • Response - Those actions to minimize loss of life and property damage and provide emergency assistance.
    • Recovery - Those short and long-term activities which restore city operations and help return the community to a normal state.

    The City of Asheville and the Asheville Fire Department highly recommend that all citizens take important steps now to prepare for potential severe weather and other emergencies in the future. The change of seasons is a great reminder that we all have personal responsibilities for our own safety and for those depending on us. It is important to make sure you have an emergency supply kit and be prepared for whatever type of disaster that you may face. Time spent planning ahead of an emergency will allow you to remain calm and take appropriate actions should an emergency occur.

    Citizen Alert Registration

    Planning Ahead

    Buncombe County Emergency Management

    Recover and Rebuild




    Citizen Alert Registration

    The City of Asheville has instituted a rapid emergency notification service. The system will distribute emergency messages via telephone to targeted areas or the entire community at a rate of 1,000 calls per minute. The citizen alert system employs a one-of-a-kind Internet mapping capability for geographic targeting of calls, coupled with a high speed telephone calling system capable of delivering customized pre-recorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses, live individuals and answering machines.

    By registering, you’ll be added to the emergency call list.

    This service can be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lock downs, downed power lines, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems, bomb threats, or other emergencies. Calls can be geographically targeted for localized messaging. If widespread, the entire community could be called within 20 to 30 minutes. The system also reports who did not get a call so that they may be contacted by other means.

    Asheville city residents and water customers are welcome and encouraged to enter their contact information for home, business, and mobile phones so they may be contacted by the system in the event of an emergency. It is important for city residents, businesses and water customers to register, especially if they use unlisted numbers, cell phones, or VOIP. Those who do not register their address and phone number may not be notified in the case of an emergency. Registration is confidential, free, and easy.

    Click here to register your contact information



    Planning Ahead

    1. Make a Plan (Ready America, Ready Business, Ready Kids)
    2. Prepare Emergency Supply Kit
    3. Be involved (English)
    4. Be involved (Spanish)





    Buncombe County Emergency Management

    In North Carolina, state emergency management officials primarily coordinate homeland security and emergency preparedness through each county government. This link provides information for the Buncombe County Emergency Services department. The site includes information on the current national threat level, and recommended actions for each threat level as well as contact information for Buncombe County staff. To find out more on how to be prepared, please click here.

    In order to connect needs and resources in the Asheville community the United Way provides the 2-1-1 program. Citizens can connect to 2-1-1 via their Web site or by calling 2-1-1. The City of Asheville helps to fund the United Way 2-1-1 program.




    Recover and Rebuild

    In order to establish normalcy after a major incident, recovery and rebuilding must take place as soon as possible. There are several steps in order to achieve these efforts and your local American Red Cross can assist.

    For a list of shelters, click here.


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