Keeping You Safe in 2021

Author: Dabney Weems

As we start a new year, the Department of Public Safety offers some quick and easy tips that will help keep you on track to a safe 2021. Whether online, at home or out and about, please stay informed and stay safe.

Be Cyber Smart and Cyber Safe

Be vigilant in protecting your information online and take precautions when using mobile devises. Unsecure platforms can make your information vulnerable to online criminals. Only provide personal information on sites you trust, update privacy settings on social media, only download information from trusted sites and shut down your computer when you aren’t using it. Simply following these tips will enhance your online security presence. Visit our CyberSmart blog to for more tips. 

Part of being safe includes reporting any threats of violence – whether online or in person - to the proper authorities. If you see or hear something, speak out! Call or email NC ISAAC (North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center) at or 1-888-624-7222. 

When Out and About

Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Whether you are out exercising or shopping, it’s a smart safety practice to be aware of your surroundings. When exercising, choose areas and neighborhoods that you feel are the safest. Try to avoid areas with lots of doorways and alleyways that could conceal a criminal. Also, select routes that are well lit and have wide pathways. Try not to wear clothing that will block your peripheral vision. Find more running safety tips here

When shopping, keep your wallet in your front pocket or your purse close to your body. Lock your vehicle and do not leave personal items unattended or out in the open in your vehicle. 

Sign Up for Emergency Alerts

Keep you and your family safe by signing up for emergency alerts. The alerts are free (data rates may apply) and will keep you informed during emergencies. Sign up for flood alerts at: Many counties also have their own alert system for more local emergencies. Visit our Counties Page to find out which system is in place in your county and sign up.

Remember the Move Over Law

North Carolina’s Move Over Law took effect in 2002. The law requires motorists, if they can safely do so, to move one lane away from qualified vehicles with flashing lights that are stopped on the side of the road. Take the time to move over, it’s for the safety for all and provides additional space for personnel to do their jobs. More about the Move Over Law here.

Use Proper Car Restraints

One of the safest choices both drivers and passengers can make in a vehicle is to wear a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 2017, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives. In that same year, 47% of those killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

All passengers should be secured by a seat belt when traveling in a vehicle. Adults should wear the lap and shoulder belt across their pelvis and rib cage. Children should be restrained in a car or booster seat based on their age, weight and height. Learn more about car seats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At Home

Create an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan lays out how members of a household will respond during an emergency. The plan should include where to go, what to do and how to reconnect during a disaster. Once you’ve created an emergency plan, be sure to practice it with everyone in your family – that means pets, too. Learn more about creating your family’s emergency plan here.

Build Your Emergency Preparedness Kit

Last year the country experienced its most active hurricane season and the worst wildfire season ever. One way to ensure you and your family are safe is by creating an emergency kit. Most of the items can be found already around your house, but it helps to have them all gathered and stored in a single, easily accessible place. The kit should include enough food, water and supplies to sustain each person and pet in the household for three to seven days. It’s never too early to get yours together. Learn more about emergency preparedness kits.

Test Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors run on batteries and can only do their job while the batteries last. Check and make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working and replace the batteries if needed. Once the batteries are replaced, test each system to ensure it is working properly. Also check the manufacturer’s recommended replacement age. If your detector is past it’s prime, it may be time to invest in a new one. 

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